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A Review of Purifying the Land of the Pure – Pakistan’s Religious Minorities : Guest Post by Karthik Venkatesh

Guest Post by Karthik Venkatesh

Pakistan was created as a homeland for the sub-continent’s Muslims and yet, even before it had formally taken birth, its founder in a famous speech delivered on August 11, 1947 stated his intention to establish a secular nation where religion would be relegated to the private sphere and the public discourse would be given to pressing development issues. Jinnah’s first cabinet consisted of an Ahmadi (considered by orthodox Muslims as a heretical sect), Sir Zafarullah Khan and Jogendranath Manadal, a Hindu from East Pakistan. Jinnah himself was a Shia while the majority of Pakistan’s Muslims were Sunnis. Roughly one-quarter of Pakistan was non-Muslim at the time of independence and secularism seemed a realistic option. Also, Jinnah’s actions appeared to imply that it would actually be practised. But events proved otherwise.

During Jinnah’s time itself, as Ispahani adeptly documents, an unhealthy nexus had begun to develop between politicians and extremist religious groups. His death in 1948 merely served to accentuate this process. In March 1949, PM Liaquat Ali Khan moved the Objectives Resolution in the Constituent Assembly which set the tone for the Islamisation of Pakistan. Continue reading A Review of Purifying the Land of the Pure – Pakistan’s Religious Minorities : Guest Post by Karthik Venkatesh