12/28/2018 2:13:26 PM
|written By : Team India Se|
How did Pakistan become an overwhelmingly Muslim nation, where 97 per cent of the population is Muslim? There has been a “slow genocide” of the minorities in Pakistan, according to the Pakistani American writer and politician Farahnaz Ispahani, who was a member of Pakistan’s National Assembly from 2008 to 2012 and media adviser to Pakistan’s then president Asif Ali Zardari. She wrote about this in her book, Purifying the Land of the Pure: A History of Pakistan’s Religious Minorities, published by Oxford University Press in 2017.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, however, overlooked that when he badmouthed India. Minorities in Pakistan will be treated as “equal citizens”, “unlike what is happening in India”, he said on his nation’s founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s birth anniversary on Christmas Day. It was not a sudden swipe. Only two days earlier, he had said, “We have to especially show Narendra Modi’s India how we treat minorities and how they treat minorities.”
Khan’s comments came just days after two Christian brothers Amoon, 38, and Qaiser, 44, were sentenced to death in Pakistan for insulting Prophet Mohammed in articles and portraits posted on their website though their counsel said they were not operating the website when the offence was committed, reported Rightlog.in
Khan received a fitting reply from Mohammad Kaif, the former Indian cricketer, who recalled there were hardly any minorities left in Pakistan. “"There were around 20 per cent minorities at the time of Partition in Pakistan, less than 2 per cent remain now. On the other hand, minority population has grown significantly in India since Independence. Pakistan is the last country that should be lecturing any country on how to treat minorities,” he said.
Ispahani wrote in her book that non-Muslims comprised 23 per cent of the population, and Shias comprised a quarter of the Muslim population, when Pakistan emerged as an independent state in 1947. Today, non-Muslims comprise a mere 3 per cent of the population, and in recent years all non-Sunnis have been subjected to increasing levels of persecution and violence, she wrote.
India, on the other hand, has the world’s third largest Muslim population – 172.2 million, making up 14.2 per cent of the total population, according to the 2011 census – less than only Indonesia and Pakistan. And the Muslim population is growing faster than the Hindu population in India.
Pakistan’s latest estimated population is 207.7 million (218 million if one includes Pak-occupied Kashmir) of whom 201.5 million are Muslims, 2.1 million Christians, 1.8 million Hindus, 1.5 million Ahmadiyas, 106,000 Buddhists, 30,000 Sikhs, 2,000 – 6,000 Zoroastrians/ Parsis, according to Wikipedia.
“Ispahani blames the successive Pakistan presidents and prime ministers for launching a slow genocide against minorities in the country to shore up their political base. She specifically blames Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the Pak army general who was the country’s sixth president, for creating a militant group to target Shias, Ahmadis, Hindus and Christians,’’ Livemint reported.
“Normally when people talk about genocide, they talk about Nazi Germany or they talk about Yugoslavia. In the case of Pakistan, this is slow genocide,’’ Ispahani told Livemint.
Pakistan is an Islamic republic while India is a secular democracy. India has had Muslim presidents – Zakir Husain (1967), Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (1974-1977), Abdul Kalam (2002-2007). Muslim votes can make or break governments in states such as Uttar Pradesh (38.5 million Muslims, 19.3 per cent of the population), West Bengal (24.6 million, 27 per cent), Bihar (17.5 million, 16.9 per cent), Assam (10.6 million, 34.2 per cent), and Kerala (8.8 million, 26.6 per cent). Minorities don’t have the same influence in Pakistan.