Economics was the basis of Pakistan’s creation

Published: January 12, 2015
The writer is a former caretaker finance minister and served as vice-president at the World Bank

The writer is a former caretaker finance minister and served as vice-president at the World Bank

A month or so ago, in the space of a few days, I got into an earnest debate with Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States.  The substance of that debate is important given Pakistan’s current political difficulties as well as the country’s relations with the outside world. I have known Haqqani for decades. In fact, he reviewed one of earlier works on Pakistan, A Nation in the Making, for the now-defunct Hong Kong-based Far Eastern Economic Review. At the first meeting — a lunch at a restaurant in a Washington suburb — we talked about his recently published and much-discussed book, Magnificent Delusions.

The book, in dealing with Pakistan’s relations with the United States, covers a lot of ground, from the country’s founding to its current precarious situation. In the conversation with me, he questioned the political logic which led to the creation of Pakistan. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, he suggested, should have known that if his demand for the creation of an independent state was accepted, it would leave a significant number of his co-religionists behind in the Hindu-dominated independent India. A smaller minority would find their lives even more difficult in a country in which the Hindus would be even more dominant. This assertion by the former ambassador led me to ask the obvious question: was Pakistan’s creation a mistake? He said it was. I thought and told him so that this was an extraordinary statement by a person who had represented as its ambassador a country he believed was mistakenly created.

His other argument was developed in much greater detail at the house of a rich Indian businessman where the audience was presented his book so that it could be signed by the author. His speech on the occasion concerned Pakistan’s inability to live with its four neighbours — Afghanistan, China, India and Iran as well as with the United States, the country’s long-time benefactor. Including China in the list was puzzling but he said that Beijing had sent some strong messages to Islamabad about the latter’s alleged support to the dissidents in the country’s autonomous region of Xinjiang.

Both arguments need to be considered carefully since they have started a conversation in the American capital about the feasibility of what is sometimes called the ‘idea of Pakistan’. By pursuing the Islamic ideology as the basis of nationhood, the former ambassador thought that Pakistan itself had posed an existential threat to itself.

I responded to these views by saying that Pakistan was created not because its founding fathers thought that ‘Islam was in danger’ but for entirely economic reasons. The present rise of extremism is also owing to economic and political reasons. Those who follow it are not fighting a war of faith with the Pakistani state or the West. These people resent their exclusion from political and economic systems — both dominated by narrow elites — and some of them have opted for extreme violence as the preferred form of expression.

In order to understand the direction in which we should go, we must carefully understand why the country in which we live and of which we are citizens was created. The Pakistan Movement was largely the result of economic factors; religion intervened since the Muslims feared that they will be discriminated against on account of their faith. In the 1940s, when Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his political associates raised the demand for Pakistan, British India had a population of 400 million of which 100 million followed Islam. Two parts of this community, one in the northwest of the British Indian colony and the other in the northeast, accounted for 70 per cent of this community; the remaining 30 per cent was dispersed all over in what were called the Muslim minority provinces.

There were significant socioeconomic differences between the northwestern (today’s Pakistan) and the northeastern (today’s Bangladesh) Muslim communities. In the northwest, the Muslim community was led mostly by the elite who had developed a good working relationship with the British administration in India. It was confident that once the British left, they would be able to work out an arrangement with the elite that took power in the country. This was the reason why Punjab was such a late convert to the idea of Pakistan and a plebiscite had to held in the Frontier Province (today’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) before its people could be persuaded to join Pakistan.

The situation in the northeast was entirely different. There the Muslim population had earlier persuaded the British to partition Bengal into two parts; a Muslim east with the capital at Dhaka and a Hindu west with the capital at Calcutta. This partition was annulled in 1911, creating an enormous amount of resentment among Muslims who felt that they would once again face economic obstacles put in their way by the economically dominant Hindu community. In the creation of Pakistan they found another opportunity for bettering their lives. The first mass movement in favour of Pakistan occurred in Bengal and gave impetus to the drive for the creation of Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th,  2015.

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Reader Comments (53)

  • Ejaaz
    Jan 12, 2015 - 2:33AM

    Sir ji, Are you saying all the history of telling us about “Pakistan ka Matlib Kya” and the resounding answer of La Ilaha Illalah is wrong, and all the sacrifices and blood was given so some people could be as rich as the Baniya?


  • wb
    Jan 12, 2015 - 3:41AM

    So sad that even after 70 years of existence, Pakistanis debate why it was created. Obviously, there’s a great deal of pestering doubt among Pakistanis about their ideology, about their existence and identity.

    For some reason all analysts tend to forget that Muslims haven’t lived with themselves or with others peacefully for the last 1400 years. Only periods where peace seemd to exist were under tyrants, tyrannical rulers (who killed anything that opposed them, such as Saudi and Iraq under Saddam). No caliphate, no democracy has and will give sustainable peace to Islamic countries or countries with Muslim domination.

    Muslims in general and Pakistanis in particular are terrified of uttering these facts. That’s why they stick to lies and more lies and more and more and more lies.

    Ask and most Muslims will tell you that Rashdun and Abbasid and Moghul rules were golden period of peace and prosperity.

    But don’t worry. 500 years down the line, Muslims will be telling Afghanistan and Pakistan were role-models of governance during the 1900s and 2000s. They were prosperous and progressive and beacons of enlightenment. They might even sight a few names like Zia, Bhutto and Qaid e Azam.


  • Rahul
    Jan 12, 2015 - 3:51AM

    I think trying to find arguments that led to the creation of Pakistan is moot today. Pakistan was created 67 years ago Bangladesh 43 years ago. These are facts of history that cannot be changed. The right questions to ask are the following. 1) Are Muslims better off economically in Pakistan, Bangladesh or India 2) Are Muslims life and property safer today in Pakistan, Bangladesh or India 3) Do Muslims have the freedom to practice their religion and express themselves in Pakistan, Bangladesh or India. On these three counts, I would argue that the partition failed miserably. More Muslims have killed Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh than any communal violence in India. Economically and Socially also Indian Muslims have left behind those from Pakistan and Bangladesh.


  • Faris Shirjeel
    Jan 12, 2015 - 3:59AM

    For an economist, Burki provides zero numbers, stats or facts. Two thirds of the column is dedicated to Hussain Haqqani and obviously seems like the usual establishment line trying to prove how “unpatriotic” he is. Maybe it’s time Burki retired and left the critical thinking to established scholars and academians who have done extensive research on the subject.Recommend

  • Ijaz Ahmed
    Jan 12, 2015 - 4:15AM

    I think the main point in the article is that hussain haqqani, who is a non-existent identity these days, was against the creation of Pakistan. Other than that I don’t really know what to make of this.


  • SV
    Jan 12, 2015 - 5:01AM

    Economics was never the reason. Pakistan was created for the Muslims of the subcontinent to preserve the uniqueness of the Islamic culture and way of life. Muslims were considered a special and separate people with a unique culture. It was religion that was used for the justification of Pakistan. Never mind the objections to equating religion – Islam, with the concept of a nation by people like Azad. It never was economics.

    Muslim political elite, of UP primarily, saw themselves as children of former rulers. They could not see themselves sharing power with non-Muslims that they had ruled over, once the British left. One man – one vote, was seen as a threat to their political power. Their land holdings and financial status were neither in jeopardy nor part of the discussion.

    Whether Pakistan was a mistake or not, is not relevant. The issue being debated at the house of an Indian by a former ambassador – both anathema to the current mindset, is irrelevant. It is a sovereign country. It should shed its insecurities.


  • Anjaan
    Jan 12, 2015 - 6:12AM

    What is the point in going back 70 years and debate on something that can not be changed now … ? … what difference does it make whether its was religion or economic reasons that led to formation of Pakistan … ? … why can not the people like this author move on … just like the people of India have done … ?


  • Amir
    Jan 12, 2015 - 6:33AM

    I find it extremely difficult to believe that those fighting a war of faith with the Pakistani state or the West do it because they resent their exclusion from political and economic systems. Poverty does not breed terrorism. It breeds crime. There is immense poverty in India, Africa and parts of Latin America but it is not resulting in terrorism. The real problem of terrorism is related to ideology. Ideology that does not believe in tolerance but has perverted interpretation of Islam. And I mean by this is ideology of wahabism that is so nurtured and supported by Saudis. They have used it as their foreign policy tool for many years. It is slowly growing in influence in Pakistan and many other places. Saudi and gulf Arab money and it’s spread of wahabism that’s what we have to deal with.


  • raw is war
    Jan 12, 2015 - 7:11AM

    ” when Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his political associates raised the demand for Pakistan, British India had a population of 400 million of which 100 million followed Islam.”

    Right now the equation stands 900 million Hindus and 700 Muslims. No sooner it will be equal.

    I am really glad the country was partitioned.


  • Tousif Latif
    Jan 12, 2015 - 7:16AM

    Our founding father was a man of secular and liberal disposition belonging to an asna ashari family.Mainstream Congress leadership,claiming to be secular,failed to grasp the sensitivites and concerns Muslims as a community fostered.Religion as a political slogan entered very late into the play.After the creation of Pakistan clergy realised that a country ,having majority of Muslims is a perfect pitch to make their concept of political Islam a reality.Due to certain reasons the notion of political Islam gained currency.This all is history .Now the ground reality is very alarming and frustrating.The ruling elite despite having failures and fiascos of hamalayan propotions and generating questions of existential nature,is not willing to come out of its cocoon,the infighting is still there,common man has no stakes in the system.Story of our elite is pretty similar to that of late ottomans and the nawabs of Avawadh.Recommend

  • Prakash
    Jan 12, 2015 - 8:20AM

    Yeah sure, blame it on Bangladeshis!


  • Jan 12, 2015 - 8:28AM

    Creation of Pakistan was the best thing to have happened to India. South Asia benefited as a whole.


  • Jonathan
    Jan 12, 2015 - 8:33AM

    Here we go again…Is it really necessary for Pakistani to wake up daily and find reasons for their existence?? Jinnah did a mistake or not …arguing every day if it was correct by itself implies the same.


  • komal s
    Jan 12, 2015 - 8:40AM

    Not sure why Pakistanis are so confused as to why they were created in the first place. It brainwashed the people saying Muslims have a different culture than Hindus and they were not compatible to live in one country. Jinnah’s famous statement to British is the hindus worship the cows that we muslims love to eat. This is in contrast to many Muslims living at that time who abstained from eating beef as a mark of respect to their Hindu brethens. What is amazing though these same people in power want Kashmir because it Muslim majority state and true to their ideals drove the Hindu pandits away even before integrating.


  • Sid
    Jan 12, 2015 - 8:50AM

    Thats precisely what he is saying. And if you ever find descendant of Muslim League members you will find they belongs to those Elite class. The “Pakistan ka matlab kya” slogan was simply created to instigate patriotism in common mass so they serve the Nawabi descendants happily.


  • Prakash
    Jan 12, 2015 - 8:57AM

    What was two nation theory?Jinnah clearly says that Hindu and Muslim are two nation, with different history,tradition and Heros and can not live together.Pakistan movement used many religious connotations for mass mobilisation-It is strange Author of such a high stature wants to just ignore all these glaring facts.Muslims of UP & Bihar were the main force behind the creation of Pakistan and they have to migrate to new land thereby losing any economic gain and for them the driving force was only religion.In West pakistan also the trade and commerce was dominated by Hindus in major city like Karachi & Lahore.There was only two Muslim trader in famous Anarkali market of Lahore till 1947 and new Pakistan has dearth of people in Civil,Military, Judiciary eg only One or Two ICS Officers,kept British Military Commanders for long time after Independence, So how Author is claiming that West Pakistani has large elite class. It was religion not geography which created an unusual nation with two separate part:East Pakistan and West pakistan separated by enemy territory of 1500 miles.Historically in Indian Subcontinent, only pluralism can survive,any idea of either Pakistan or India bound to have trouble if it dilute pluralism.


  • Tanu
    Jan 12, 2015 - 9:15AM

    Sir, read wali khans well researched book “facts are facts”.

    Problem with pakistan is that someone or the orher is writing/rewriting its history virtually on a daily basis in the print or the electronic media. In the process so many competing narratives abound that the facts and truth are burried in confused outpourings. After almost seventy years of its birth, while the world does not question its creation, the pakistani discourse is unable to determine why pakistan was created in the first place! In the cacaphony of alternative discourses, the business of state and nation building has been abdicated. While a big part of the original, parted its ways because of this basic confusion, the remaing pakistan has wasted next forty years in finding international conspiracies to justify the vast number of competing narratives.

    Dawn, please publish or at least forward this comment to the author.


  • Imran
    Jan 12, 2015 - 9:21AM

    Pakistan’s creation was a result of multiple factors, not just economic. The original idea for Pakistan was to create multiple territories within British India so that no Muslim would be left in India at all. It should have been followed to completion.


  • Talking Point
    Jan 12, 2015 - 9:59AM

    This article ends abruptly . Must have exceeded the word limit.


  • Prakash
    Jan 12, 2015 - 11:10AM

    I can’t believe a far-fetched theory such as this is getting so few comments. Are you sleeping, moderators?


  • Yo2Da2
    Jan 12, 2015 - 11:18AM

    Economists always credit or blame all human actions proceeding out of only economic reasons. Ambassador Haqqani is an academic and historian and seeks a broader context for understanding. Unfortunately, we cannot go back in time and rethink decisions made then. In addition to the unfair position the Indian Muslims who stayed behind were put in – the worst fears anticipated for Muslims post-Independence by Mr. Jinnah of an undivided India, were experienced by them (discrimination, pogroms, lower levels of literacy and earnings, and suspicion); they received no land for their “share” of Pakistan. But it was the insistence and carrying out the Partition (without the benefit and legitimacy of a plebiscite involving all 400 millions, not just 100 million Indian Muslims), injected the misery into the lives of Muslims who could not migrate to either wings. In addition to pointing out that Muslims represented 25 per cent of the Indian population, 30 million migrated to the West, 40 million to the East, and 30 million remained in India. Even though East (now Bangladesh) has more people, the West got 6 times more land. Why? Isn’t that glaring disparity more than merely economic but political and immoral? (Indian Muslims who remained received were simply sacrificed to the idea of Pakistan, and received no compensation in land or respect.) Maybe what’s unfolding is the work of Karma.


  • lmao
    Jan 12, 2015 - 11:22AM

    67 yrs and pakistani still not sure why country was created….


  • Tyggar
    Jan 12, 2015 - 11:46AM

    So Pakistan’s leaders then used religion to fool Muslims for economic gains. Pakistan’s leaders now use religion to fool Muslims for economic gains. Nothing much has changed in 60 years


  • observer
    Jan 12, 2015 - 11:48AM

    A disjointed, incoherent and confused article. If the author’s theme was that Pakistan was created for economic reason, why bring in Hussain Haqqani into the mix at all? Why couldn’t the author just elaborate about the “economic reason” giving logical details of what this meant and the facts?


  • Jamal
    Jan 12, 2015 - 11:58AM

    The author is absolutely right. It was purely economical agenda.Islam was used just to incite mass sentiments. See, Muslims and Hindus were living in India for the hundreds of years but the main issue raised when the more educated Hindus try to overcome less educated Muslims in govt. jobs. Of course, religion was a factor but not major one. Please read C.R.Das’s Bengal model which he appliedin Bengal in 1923 and proved that problems between Muslims and Hindus are not religious but econmical ones.


  • Agrippa - The Skeptic
    Jan 12, 2015 - 12:03PM

    @ Author:

    So what was the “Two Nation Theory” about? What was the sacrifice of Direct Action about?
    What is “Pakistan ka Matlab Kya? – La Ilaha Illalah” about?

    I thought you live in US.
    Why / how is the denial?
    Or, is the Pakistani narrative so weak that you have to expound new theories to suit your mood of the day to justify it?

    To paraphrase M.J. Akbar: The idea of Pakistan is weaker than the Pakistani … .Recommend

  • MSS
    Jan 12, 2015 - 1:11PM

    Jinnah’s hunger for absolute power is what made Pakistan possible and the rest is distorted history.


  • Theory
    Jan 12, 2015 - 3:13PM

    Come on, if the aged generation doesn’t know why Pakistan came into existance, how will you justify it to your coming generation. This has given the chance to all rogue elements in the society to preach anything they want for self benefit and hence the voilence in the country. If there has been a mistake accept it and proceed towards correcting it, your children will respect that.


  • Avinash Chaudhary
    Jan 12, 2015 - 6:35PM

    It has been said that the muslims of north west India were not comfortable with one man one vote system. This has proved to be major problem for Pakistan.
    Different elite groups competed for power and left vacuum of leadership in the absence of democratic system It also lead to identity crisis which it has not been able to resolve even now,


  • Shakil Chaudhary
    Jan 12, 2015 - 10:08PM

    Mr. Burki has claimed that the Pakistan movement was largely the result of economic factors. However, he has not offered any evidence to back up this claim. I think no evidence exists to suggest the All India Muslim League (AIML) had any economic program to make Muslims prosperous. Instead of a solid economic program, the AIML offered religious rhetoric and the two-nation theory (TNT). The TNT has nothing to do with any economic program.

    On January 1, 1938, Jinnah said: “The honor and regard which you have shown to me as Mr. Jinnah you have shown them to the Muslim League and Islam. Today in this huge gathering you have honored me by entrusting the duty to unfurl the flag of the Muslim League, the flag of Islam, for you cannot separate the Muslim League from Islam. Many people misunderstand us when we talk of Islam particularly our Hindu friends. When we say ‘This flag is the flag of Islam’ they think we are introducing religion into politics – a fact of which we are proud. Islam gives us a complete code. It is not only religion but it contains laws, philosophy and politics. In fact, it contains everything that matters to man from morning to night.”

    In March 1941, he said: “Pakistan is not only a practical goal but the only goal if you want to save Islam from complete annihilation in this country.” Speaking at the Muslim University Aligarh on March 8, 1944, Jinnah said: “Pakistan was not the product of the conduct or misconduct of Hindus. It had always been there…Pakistan started the moment the first non-Muslim was converted to Islam in India long before the Muslims established their rule.”

    In November 1945, Jinnah wrote a letter to Pir Sahib Manki Sharif, assuring him that the Sharia would apply to the Muslims of Pakistan. He wanted Pir Sahib to believe that Sharia would be the law of the land.

    How many statements did he make to outline his economic vision? Is it not true that many big landowners supported the AIML to avoid land reforms that the the Indian National Congress planned to institute.


  • reader
    Jan 12, 2015 - 10:20PM

    wow what splendidness indeed great sire! so useful u r roaming around to washington meeting with other useful sahib’s debating such useful things. now plz great sire one question. who will get rid of the bhatta khori now??? great thanks!


  • tariq
    Jan 12, 2015 - 11:36PM

    A purile debate indeed , the relevant question today is how do we exist as a country and a nation . The issue of existence its manner is far too critical than the factors responsible for the creation of this country . These were tides of factors with a over lap and no single factor can hold imminence . . Pakistan ka matlab Kia was not any political philosophy but a poetic out pouring of a young under grad of Murray college Sialkot , Asghar Saudai which became a catch word for mobilising the public .Creation of Pakistan was solely on account of economic factors! a disputed proposition indeed , but break up of Pakistan had been certainly on account of economic imperatives . Cultural and linguistic issues by then had been resolved by concealing Bengali as a state language . The fact that it turned out to be one country with two distinct economies was not acceptable to the West Pakistani decision makers . The author has raised some serious questions about the views of Hussain Haqqani to which he has every right to rebut . I wonder why his views have been brought into debate which were expressed at some informal chit chat . Some thing not very un common these days . With each multiple fault lines staring before us staking the future of this country, every sensible citizen asks these questions to which Mr. Haqqani has been linked with .


  • Jan 13, 2015 - 12:30AM

    The author has brought an excellent new point to the table, the differences in how the regions comprising East and West Pakistan were brought into the political arena in the movement for Pakistan. In East Pakistan, there clearly was a strong class angle to the religio-political groups, with upper caste Hindus being primarily land owners and urban professionals, and Dalits and Muslims forming the bulk of the peasantry.

    Maulana Bhashani (the ‘red’ Maulana), typified the class and religious intersections of Bangladesh’s politics. And he very quickly saw what Pakistan had become (and perhaps always was) in West Pakistan, a political project of high caste Muslim families from Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to perpetuate their power using religion and genealogy as the basis, while using Islam to control and exploit the masses.

    After independence, Bangladesh has indeed fulfilled some aspects of the potential of such class based politics. Among nation-states, its women are the best cared for and most literate in South Asia. They are also increasingly joining the workforce.


  • madhu
    Jan 13, 2015 - 1:09AM

    dear sir, pakistan was supposed to be a homeland for all muslims of the sub-continent- but unfortunately it had only 67% of the muslims in the original pakistan- after bangladesh was created – there were three distinct areas for muslims- one in pakistan, one in bangladesh and the other 33% in india. So the whole theory of 2 nations- was flawed. And frankly i have seen the lives of muslims in all the three zones- pakistan, bangladesh and india- and believe me- the sub-continental muslims are happiest in india. The reason is not far to see. In pakistan- the shias , ahmedis etc are being killed all the time. The muhajirs in pakistan are not too safe. In india – the muslims are like bosses- in mumbai – bandra – you should see how the muslims are dominating the city. The most fashionable suburb bandra is almost like karachi- the movie stars – shahrukh khan, aamir khan, salman khan dominate the thinking in mumbai. Azim Premji- the WIPRO billionaire at one time used to have more assets than the entire karachi stock exchange companies. So let us be honest and frank- muslims in india are much better off. —


  • akbar khan
    Jan 13, 2015 - 1:16AM

    mr.burky is a great intellectual,who has very boldly opened this debate at a juncture,when every Pakistani is asking his fellow,whether we are living in a failed state .perhaps their curiosity is relevant,when every other informed person is fostering the same the list of fragile place Pakistan is placed at serial number 10 against the 13 of previous year.we are above than Syria and Iraq if we go through the economic history of Pakistan,it is continuously degrading irrespective of the government,when the army takes over it get OK for a short period and then again degeneration proves the ailment is not in the government.
    the other question is,whether we should have separated from India or other wise.we have no doubt some commonalities with India,as some people in Pakistan are Dravidian,we were professing the same Hinduism for quite long time before the advent of Islam .though Hinduism in origin is not a Indianan religion,it was evolved along with cast system in the areas now falls in Afghanistan and Pakistan were the same people right from khurasan up to central India both by race and religion.more interestingly the rulers were always from the north.when Islam was introduced by the people from the north never by the Arabs. Arab lashkar never crossed Kandahar from the the people of af-pak became different from the Indians but still Indian beard us for centuries as rulers.when the Britishers landed,they ignited differences between both the comunities for the creation of space for existence of Pakistan became more necessary. unfortunately Pakistanis had no say in the separation and shaping geography.these were Britishers,who distributed lands according to their would be interests.
    in the aftermath of hoisting the flag of Pakistan,a great number of refugees settled in Pakistan,who were educated and who occupied all important positions hence framing and shaping all national policies became their domain.the 4 or 5 local nationalities were living together from millenniums without any complaint with their national and racial identifications but the mujirs were strangers,they didn’t want to live with their Indian identity so the only veneve was adaptation of new name of Islam for the Pakistani their are dozens of Muslim nations they live with their national identity simultaneously with their religion as islam.use of this imported nationality became the root cause o the vicious cycle of the problems. the sooner the better to revert to our original and old Arian identity.


  • John B
    Jan 13, 2015 - 1:20AM

    @Shakil Chaudhary:
    A good rebuttal. PAK is inventing her history as she goes along.


  • Yo2Da2
    Jan 13, 2015 - 1:53AM

    @raw is war: You undermine your argument by inflating the numbers for Muslims in South Asia. Your are off by 200 million. You should have pointed to the different fertility rates of different religious groups. Pakistan’s population growth rate is the fastest; Bangladesh’s is the slowest. (India’s popution went from 325 million at Partition to 1.25 billion today, while Pakistan’s has gone from 32 million to 180 million – big gap in absolute growth!) No country can feel smug about its growth rates in the face of the ecological degradation and catastrophe ALL will soon face, despite their religion.


  • Yo2Da2
    Jan 13, 2015 - 2:00AM

    @Imran: Multiple territories. How well did just two territories work out? But anyway, your comment is interesting and reminds me of the oft-repeated saying in America: You cannot have your cake and eat it too.


  • Yo2Da2
    Jan 13, 2015 - 2:09AM

    @Tousif Latif: Alas, it does not matter one whit what Jinnah and his cohorts thought in the beginning. What is happening now in the world is the reality. That we are seeing much convergence in thinking among some Muslims (not the majority we are reminded all the time) gives lie to the notion that what happened among the Muslims (Jinnah and the Muslim League) demanding separation of Indian Muslims from non-Muslims was a unique phenomenon. When it was inevitable.


  • Yo2Da2
    Jan 13, 2015 - 2:14AM

    @komal s: I recently made a comment citing Arab scholar Brigitte Gabriel’s estimate about percentage of Muslims who have jihadi mindset. I was told she was a Maronite (a Lebanese Christian), and not an Arab. Therefore are estimates are invalid. So, it is the same thing you point out.


  • Yo2Da2
    Jan 13, 2015 - 2:32AM

    Unlike some, I am glad ET and Dawn allow such articles about the reasons for Pakistan’s creation. If nothing else, each new piece reveals another hidden gem, including those from readers. Taken together, all such discussions should reveal some central truths that any individual piece cannot by itself. Plus, the commentary from readers adds to the process. This is the way free speech and free press work. Suppression of free speech and the press do not advance any knowledge or revelation of truth. So, congratulations to Mr. Burki, his readers, and Express Tribune for allowing these and other opinions to flourish. Reading the Pakistani English-language press (which seems more dynamic and open than the Indian ones, which are too obsessed with Bollywood), I have noticed more diversity in Pakistani reader comments than ten years ago. (I have no idea what percentage of Pakistani newspaper readers read the English-language dailies.) Maybe there are other forbidden subjects that can use more scrutiny and discussion?


  • politically incorrect
    Jan 13, 2015 - 2:43AM


    Very well articulated.


  • politically incorrect
    Jan 13, 2015 - 2:48AM

    @Shakil Chaudhary

    Well said.


  • Asok
    Jan 13, 2015 - 3:45AM

    Yup. Blame the banya.


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jan 13, 2015 - 5:18AM

    The generation born in Pakistan after 1947 is estimated to be more than 90% of total population. Therefore majority of Pakistanis don’t care how Pakistan was created, what was the ideology behind division and similar manufactured theories. The generation which created Pakistan is off the scene. Like same age groups of other nations present generation wants best for its present and future. Keeping them wandering in labyrinth by older generation has no sense.


  • wb
    Jan 13, 2015 - 8:00AM


    Very well put.

    But just to clarify. Muslims don’t care about their own prosperity of progress, as much as they care about others’ destruction.


  • Sajida
    Jan 13, 2015 - 8:56AM

    Haqqani does not know India has more hunger now than 40 years ago. and that just reflects his poor understanding of what is going on in South Asia. Haqqani has superficial understanding of South Asia.

    This is the less developed side of Asia, leaving more of its burgeoning population behind and is now being shamed today by even Cambodia and Vietnam (devastated by war just a few decades ago ) with compounding problems rising and becoming increasingly unmanageable because leadership quality is so poor -irrespective of whether leaders are Hindu, Muslim or Buddhist!

    However, I should mention that Pakistan has still more upward mobility than US and India. It is his inadequate knowledge that trips him up.


    Upwardly Mobile Pakistan on 66th Independence Day

    The Mobility Myth


  • Sajida
    Jan 13, 2015 - 10:01AM

    @Shakil Chaudhary It was economic. Just because he said for Islam doesn’t mean reason wasn’t economic. Muslims cannot get jobs in India, you think they do not have problems in India? Indian Muslims job safety valve is presently the Gulf region, which is problematic as they are too dependent on depleting oil in era in which people are using oil less. Oil price decline is because demand is slack and too many producers from shale producers from US. [Shale is expensive to produce oil with shallow wells that become economical because days of easy oil are gone. As oil field giants continue to age, more trouble for oil.

    India’s problem is that economy rests on too narrow a base for such a large population.;and no decent non ag income sources since British shut down village industries. That is why huinger now is more than than 40 years ago!


  • chandran
    Jan 13, 2015 - 12:56PM

    Economics was the basis of Pakistan’s creation
    It is nice headline oh god where I can crash my head haha


  • Shahid
    Jan 14, 2015 - 12:30AM

    This subject is highly relevant for Pakistanis as if it was a mistake{ which it was} then how you learn from a mistake. The lesson is to stop differntiating from other human beings ,shed a false sense of choosen people or superior just because you follow a certain religion. Stop hating other people which has become the hallmark of muslims these days.start thinking that anyone is first a humanbeing first and then whatever religion he may or may not have.Now coming back to the creation of Pakistan.It was a british conspiracy starting with the division of bengal 1n 1906,creation of muslim leauge splitting the indians on religios ground and weakening Indian nationalism. Lot of Muslim leaders were used by britishers either knowingly or innocently.As for Indians it does not matter any more.This subject has become irrelevant to them.they have no existential threat and they have move forward.


  • Ruby
    Jan 22, 2015 - 5:01AM

    The author is plainly wrong. The basis for creation of Pakistan was something else. Economics only aided to convert people for the cause. Just like economics now aid the conversion of people into jihadis.


  • irfan ullah shah
    Jan 30, 2015 - 3:51PM

    my all dears please leave the question that why was pakistan created.what may be the possible reasons of its it is the time to think how we shall make pakistan a better place.


  • Anticorruption
    Feb 2, 2015 - 11:07AM

    I have a question for the author which is on a slightly different topic. What do we know about state capacity in various parts of British India, and how has this evolved after partition? Would it be correct to say that India inherited the partwhere state capacity was most developed or were there also parts of what is now Pakistan with similar state capacity? Also, what has been the corelation between state capacity and economic growth. Have regions that had better state capacity at the time of partition grown more over the last few decades, or are there examples to the contrary as well. Perhaps this could be a possible theme for a future article?


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