Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Asia and Pacific: Purifying the Land of the Pure: A History of Pakistan’s Religious Minorities

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Asia and Pacific: Purifying the Land of the Pure: A History of Pakistan’s Religious Minorities

Article excerpt

Purifying the Land of the Pure: A History of Pakistan’s Religious Minorities BY FARAHNAZ ISPAHANI. Oxford University Press, 2017, 224 pp.

Founded in 1947 as a Muslim homeland but a secular state, Pakistan quickly descended into internal violence as the search for Islamic purity set Muslims against non-Muslims, Sunnis against Shiites and Ahmadis, and various Sunni sects against one another. Ispahani is a journalist and former aide to the secularist leader Benazir Bhutto, who served as prime minister from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996 and who was assassinated in 2007. The author places much of the blame for Pakistan's everworsening intolerance on a series of military men turned politicians who fostered sectarian oppression in pursuit of political gain. …

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