The region today referred to as Pakistan was much of its history part of Persian dynasties including what is today referred to as India. Today, Pakistan is an independent country in South Asia to the west of India. But what led to the split and the rise of Pakistan to what it is today? The events that led to the breakaway of Pakistan from greater India were as a result of some misunderstanding between the Muslim and the Hindu population in India. This essay seeks to briefly address the events that led to the split of Pakistan from India and the culture and practices they developed. It will also entail, in brief, the political situation, stereo types and the prejudices experienced in Pakistan.
What led to the rise of Pakistan?
The history of Pakistan can be traced back to as early as the year 1857. In this year, present day India and Pakistan were one nation under British rule. The colony was known as British India. 1857 saw the rise of the Indian rebellion opposing British rule. It was clear that the Indians had had enough of the British rule and wanted to be free. There was however one problem; the Muslim population in India felt that their interests were not being addressed in the same manner that the Indian interests were. As a result, the All Indian Muslim League was formed in 1906. It gained massive popularity in the 1930’s amid fears of neglect and under-representation of Muslims in politics. Muhammad Iqbal saw the need to call for an independent state in northwestern India for the Indian Muslims. After serious debates and confrontations over the issue, the Indians gave in and heeded to the demands of the Muslim population. In 1947, Pakistan gained her independence from British-India as a Muslim majority state. Quite a number of the Muslim population moved to Pakistan while the Indian population moved to India. It was expected that grievances over valuable pieces of land would arise leading to conflicts. This is being experienced to date. Kashmir and Jammu were the most disputed for states and this even led to the Kashmir war of 1948 which ended with Pakistan acquiring only a third of the state and the rest left to India.
The political situation in Pakistan over the years has left a lot to be desired. A mixture of civilian and military rule has been experienced in Pakistan. Occasioned by civil wars, protests and authoritarian rule, the citizens of Pakistan have experienced over five decades of political instability. A ray of hope was however seen in the recent past when the former president Pervez Musharraf stepped down and a civilian president, Asif Ali Zardari, was elected. Pakistan also brought a massive revolution in political thought in 1988, after they elected the first female prime minister of the nation Benazir Bhutto. She was later assassinated in 2007.
Cultural development in Pakistan
Since 1947, the Pakistani has developed a culture which has become accustomed as their own. The Pakistani mainly developed the Islamic culture and maintained the practices practiced by Muslims in other areas of the world. What led to this development is the fact that the Pakistani wanted to be identified with other Islamic nations and they wanted a state free from the Hindu practices. An example is the establishment of the Sharia laws which is a common practice in many Islamic nations. They are governed by the Islamic laws and practices and have to adhere to them.
The cultural heritage of Pakistan developed over a period of time. The fact however is that they moved from the Hindu traditions and cultures to the Islamic traditions and way of life.
Stereotypes and prejudice in Pakistan
The picture painted of the Pakistani by the media and the rest of the world people is one that creates a lot of acrimony and sorrow among the people of Pakistan. Contrary to the world belief that people from Pakistan are radical Islamists who engage in acts of terror to pass across a message, the Pakistani Muslim are very religious people who advocate for the sanctity of life. The picture painted is that of all non Muslim individuals being killed by the Pakistani.
Another stereo type that many people have across the world is that of Pakistan being an all Muslim nation. Islam is not the only religion practiced in Pakistan. A wide majority of the citizens are Muslim but other religions are also accepted in Pakistan.
The last stereo type experienced by the Pakistani is that they are and harbor terrorists in Pakistan. What criterion is used to determine whether one is a terrorist or not? The one predominant in the world today is that of being a Muslim. Pakistan does not advocate for terrorism. People from Pakistan are against any form of terror and as mentioned earlier belief in the sanctity of life.
The prejudice experienced in Pakistan is that against the Hindus. Since the acquisition of independence from British India, Hindus who remained in Pakistan have faced a lot of prejudice and discrimination. In the cultural and the legal sense, Hindus are discriminated against. They are referred ‘un pure’ by the Pakistani people. The other form prejudice is in the legal system where the infamous blasphemy law where people practicing the Hindu traditions and religion are sentenced to death.
All in all, Pakistan is a diverse country with diverse cultures and traditions. It is important that citizens from the country appreciate each other and work hand in hand with each other.
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