Stories about Jinnah’s Pakistan

Jinnah’s Pakistan: Why Christians voted for Imran Khan

The minorities living in Pakistan have perhaps been more adversely targeted since 9/11, with them being harshly exploited by the majority on the basis of their religion. Brutal incidents against the Christian community in Pakistan have gained international media attention, but politicians who made many promises in the past to work equally hard for minorities conveniently forgot about their promises once obtaining a seat in the parliament. Before Imran Khan turned towards politics with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), there were many famous politicians who made their party manifestoes in favour of the minority, just to grasp their attention and their vote. They pandered ...

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If Jinnah could see Pakistan today, what would he say?

If Muhammad Ali Jinnah came back from the grave and saw the sorry state of the country he had created, what would he say? He would be shocked to see that the Pakistan of 1947 had been broken into two, with East Pakistan (where his beloved Muslim League was founded) no longer a part of Pakistan. He would see a country on the brink of an economic collapse, with the dollar (which was equal to the rupee in value in 1947) now worth Rs107. He would see fruits and other edibles from New Zealand and other countries selling at prices beyond the reach of the common man in a land which ...

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Reflecting on Raza Rumi’s Identity, Faith, and Conflict

I arrived in the United States a few weeks ago and the first public event I attended was a bit too familiar. In 2013, I went to the launch of Raza Rumi’s book ‘Delhi by Heart’ at the Khayal Festival in Lahore. Four years later, I was in Queens Museum, New York where Rumi’s new book titled ‘Identity, Faith and Conflict: Essays on Pakistan and beyond’ was released. The book is a collection of essays that Rumi has authored over the past few years. It was strange to see that the introduction described Rumi as an “international scholar in residence at Ithaca ...

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It is pretty clear that neither Ali Muhammad Khan nor PTI know why Pakistan was created

Recently, I had the opportunity to witness a panel discussion where the firebrand conservative MNA from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Ali Muhammad Khan, delivered his, and for that matter his party’s, “vision” for Pakistan. According to him, Pakistan should be a theocratic state and seculars should either mend their ways or leave Pakistan. Moreover, he also brought in the havoc of the Partition riots, arguing that all the sacrifices were actually for the creation of an Islamic country.  PTI's MNA @Ali_MuhammadPTI calls secular people a threat to Pakistan and asks them to mend their ways or leave the country pic.twitter.com/R2tezc7QoV — Reema Omer (@reema_omer) ...

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We’re celebrating Pakistan’s Independence Day, but are we really independent?

On August 11, 1947, a newly-formed Pakistan held its first parliamentary session. The purpose was to draft a constitution. During this session, Pakistan’s founding father Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah famously reaffirmed the pluralistic values the new nation had been founding declaring: “You are free, you are free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in the state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” This year will mark the nation’s 69th year ...

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We will never forget nor ever forgive you, Mr Bhutto

It’s been 37 years since that morning when we awoke to find that you were no more among us. We were shocked beyond belief, although there were many who rejoiced that you had gotten what (in their opinion) you richly deserved. Like you, we never believed that they would hang you. Like you, we were convinced that Libya and UAE would prevail upon Ziaul Haq to send you into exile. But you had burnt your boats. There was only one grave and Zia knew that if he spared you, that grave would be his home for all eternity. There have been times when we have ...

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Is it compulsory to hate India, America and Israel, in order to love Pakistan?

A few days ago, I was sitting by the Indus River in Jamshoro, singing a patriotic song. Moments later, I noticed a fisherman who burst into laughter observing me. When I asked him why he was laughing, he said, “Saeen where is this Pakistan this song speaks of? Here, I don’t have the money to send my children to school or even shop for Eid. That aside, women are continuously killed in the name of honour, children are raped and such brutalities are recorded then sold. People are murdered because they belong to different sects or religions, be it Shias, Ahmadis, Christians etcetera. There’s no tolerance in this society. Hindus ...

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She left India for Pakistan, but was her sacrifice worth it?

“People didn’t even bother locking their doors; we knew that we could never come back. It wasn’t easy for us, leaving everything behind, and it seems like another life now, as if we left a part of ourselves back in India. Plenty of people lost their lives, it’s still hard to believe what the partition did to all of us,” told 86-year-old Raffat Jehan. She says that she never regretted coming to Pakistan; she believes the Partition was originally a good idea. “My father’s non-Muslim friends told him that they couldn’t protect us anymore, as painful as it was for us, we had ...

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Can fundamentalism in Pakistan be traced back to madrassas?

In Pakistan, certain madrassas have a knack for producing terrorists. The government is aware of this yet it does not have a consistent stance regarding such madrassas. After the Peshawar school attack in December, the government made it a priority to regulate madrassas, but when the information minister, Pervaiz Rashid, spoke out against them last month, not a single member of government publicly supported him. This conflicting treatment did not happen overnight. Fundamentalism in Pakistan can be traced back to Former Prime Ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Ziaul Haq who wanted to ‘Islamicise’ the state. Zia’s 1979 education policy highlighted the priority to ...

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Where has our religious freedom gone, Pakistan?

The intrusion of reactionary Islam into the Pakistani way of life is not a recent trend, at least for large sections of the country’s current youth. While not officially a theocracy like Iran, Pakistan is still an Islamic Republic and despite having a Federal Sharia Court, legal rulings are the responsibility of scholars who do not necessarily need to be clerics. In an environment such as that of modern day Pakistan, suffocating religious sentiments are quite common. When these religious sentiments are given the support of a legal framework, things take an even more suffocating turn. This is what has happened ...

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