What’s Pakistan Got to Do With It?

Pakistini cadets marching past masoleum of national founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah

What do Pakistan and Israel have in common? More than one might think.

Pakistani columnist Irfan Husain, writes in an op-ed in one of his country’s major newspapers:

From being mostly liberal, tolerant world citizens, they [Israelis] seem to be on a rapid trajectory towards becoming a harsh, literalist people. This, too, is a familiar path to us in Pakistan. From being a secular, forward-looking country when it was created, it has drifted steadily towards religious extremism and intolerance.

He draws several parallels:

  • Both countries began with high-minded humanistic and secular ideals.
  • Both have a significant group of fundamentalists who challenge the legitimacy of the state.
  • In both contries these fundamentalists have disproportionate representation and in both countries this is attributed to high voting rates among the fundamentalists.
  • In both countries the fundamentalist group is gaining power by force of extravagant birth rates.
  • Whether based in secular culture or religion, ideology has dominated political discourse from the very founding of the state.

You can read the full op ed at Dawn.com: “Spiritual Twins”.

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