How alike are Pakistan and Israel?

In much of our discourse we take postures based on a common body of “privately held” information, so naturally when people ask questions, we are taken aback (it cannot be helped that the archives are destroyed so a simple pointer will not suffice).

We think this question is primarily interesting because Israel and Pakistan are supposedly sworn enemies. In Bengali (Hindu) there is a phrase that a particular (religious) ritual is incomplete without singing the praise (sarcasm) of the person you detest with every fiber of your body. For the RSS/Hindutva types that would be the non-dharmic Muslims (to a lesser extent Christians) who cant even be bothered to say “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and pay respect to the national anthem (not to mention, the national song). 

For conservative muslims in general (and nationalist Pakistanis in particular) the above sentiment seems to hold true for jews- every single act of badness is because of a jew hiding behind the curtain. So to aver that Israelis and Pakistanis are soul brothers can be almost slanderous. But then curiously enough there is no lack of Pak nationalists who make that very charge- with a difference. The charge is that the Pakistani govt is a puppet of the Jews (because it is controlled by America, which itself is a puppet….of the Jews).

The response starts with (in Pankaj Mishra style) with a quotation:
Pakistan is like Israel, an ideological state. Take out the Judaism from
Israel and it will fall like a house of cards. Take Islam out of
Pakistan and make it a secular state; it would collapse — Zia ul-Haq, Pakistan’s ruler, December 1981

P. R. Kumaraswamy is a research fellow at the Harry S. Truman Institute of The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. At a superficial level, it appears that a dastardly Indian is throwing stones on Pakistanis while hiding behind the Temple of Mount. But the thesis is actually well thought out and merits an honest response.

And if this source is a problem then there are other reputed sources to consider, in particular “Muslim Zion: Pakistan as a Political Idea,” by Faisal Devji, which is reviewed at this link: 

Pakistan and Israel share the unique heritage of having been created
in the aftermath of World War II as religiously defined states.
In each
case, the new state emerged as the result of a twentieth-century
ideological movement, came into existence accompanied by violence, and
attracted a large immigrant population. Both met with initial rejection
from religious elements who more recently, on second thought, aspired to
gain political power. Despite these and many other similarities, the
two states have hardly ever been compared.2 We do so here in the hopes of understanding each one better by seeing it in the context of the other.


To begin with, however, it helps to note some of the outstanding
differences between Israel and Pakistan, starting with their historical
backgrounds. With the single and marginal exception of the medieval
Khazar kingdom, Jews were never sovereign after a.d. 70. In contrast,
Muslims in India had a grand tradition of rule that began in the
eleventh century and lasted until 1858 when India came under direct
British rule. While Jews learned how to adapt to rule by others, Muslims
always expected to be in charge.

“The Muslims were, or had been, the
ruling race. How could the former master now allow themselves to be
ruled by … slaves?”3 

Statehood in the 1940s thus had very
dissimilar meaning for the two: to the Zionists, it appeared as the only
solution to two millennia of discrimination, destruction, and death;
for the Muslim League, it offered a return to exclusive political power.

This difference lives on, for while Israel actively seeks to be the
homeland for its diaspora, Pakistan is even unwilling to absorb its own
people stranded in Bangladesh following the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971.

The states that came into existence make an unlikely pair. They
differ greatly in political structure, with one a modern pluralistic
society and the other wavering between military autocracy, feudalism,
and democracy. They differ in standard of living, with Israel now
counted among the advanced economies and Pakistan still mired with a
per-capita income of about $415 a year. In international outlook, the
former is a close ally of the United States, the latter holds to a
policy of non-alignment even after the demise of the cold war. Israel
has a population of 5 million, Pakistan one of 130 million. The Arabs
who left Mandatory Palestine remain a first-order political issue while
the Hindus who left Pakistan have long since integrated into Indian
society. And, of course, one is predominantly Jewish, the other Muslim.

These differences notwithstanding, the Zionist and Pakistan movements
shared much in common, including their timetables, the irreligiosity of
their leaders, the novel nature of their nationalist ideas, and the
challenge of a minority population gaining political power.

Origins. The “love of Zion” goes back to early Judaism but modern
political Zionism began with the publication in 1896 of Theodor Herzl’s Jewish State4;

it acquired political reality with the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and
only at the Biltmore Conference of May 1942 did Jewish nationalists
formally declare their intention to establish of a Jewish state in
Palestine. Pakistan has a similarly recent history. Although nationalist
scholars and politicians tend to romanticize the notion of 

with some even tracing its origins to the founding of Islam itself,5 the term Pakistan was coined only in 1933 by a Cambridge student, Choudhary Rahmat Ali. “Pakistan is both a Persian and Urdu word,” he wrote.

It is composed of letters taken from all our homelands-
“Indian” and “Asian.” That is, Punjab, Afghania (North West Frontier
Province), Kashmir, Iran, Sindh (including Kutch and Kathiawar),
Tukharistan, Afghanistan and Balochistan. It means the land of the Paks
— the spiritually pure and clean. It symbolizes the religious beliefs
and ethnical stocks of our people; and it stands for all the territorial
constituents of our original Fatherland.6

In March 1942, almost simultaneous with the Biltmore meeting, the
Muslim League (the organization pushing for an independent Pakistan) met
at Lahore and adopted the “Pakistan resolution,” endorsing the position
of Mohammed Ali Jinnah (1876?-1948) the founding father of Pakistan and
a successful Westernized lawyer, that Hindus and Muslims could “never
evolve a common nationality” and any move that disregarded this would
inevitably lead to the destruction of any fabric of statehood.7

Irreligiosity. Ironically, the leaders of both these religiously
defined national movements were personally irreligious, and some even
outspoken atheists.
“Even Jews who opposed formal religion saw
themselves or at least were seen by others as having a common Jewish
culture, with its own literature, language, and modes of social
relations.”8 Zionism was not a religious doctrine; pioneers
of the Jewish state like David Ben-Gurion were motivated by
non-religious socialist ideals, not by messianic dogma. Jewish manual
labor, not prayer, was their chosen means. Jinnah was anything but a
religious person. Rather, he was known for his aristocratic tastes and
lifestyle. Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan aptly sums up Jinnah’s
complex personality:

He seemed on the way to leading India; he founded Pakistan
instead. For much of his life he championed Hindu-Muslim unity; later he
demanded, obtained, and, for a year, ran a separate Muslim homeland.
Neither Sunni nor mainstream Shiite, his family belonged to the small
Khoja or Ismaili community led by the Aga Khan; yet Mohammed Ali Jinnah
was in the end the leader of India’s Muslims. Anglicized and aloof in
manner, incapable of oratory in an Indian tongue, keeping his distance
from mosques, opposed to the mixing of religion and politics, he yet
became inseparable, in that final phase, from the cry of Islam in

A nation? Zionist and Pakistani thinkers both had to cope with the
same question: Did their religious community qualify as a nation?
could Jews, dispersed for over two millennia, constitute a single people
analogous to the Portuguese or the Chinese? Why should Indians who
converted to Islam make up a nation distinct from their non-Muslim
neighbors? In short, how could Jews from Berlin and Baghdad or Muslims
from Madras and Multan have enough in common to make up a single people?

In reply, Zionists held that history has treated the Jews as a
separate and distinct entity and nation. Any realistic solution to the
prolonged “Jewish problem” lies not in looking for new rulers but for
Jews to become rulers themselves.
Similarly, Jinnah held that Muslims
are “a nation by any definition.”10The Muslim League argued
that there were historical as well as cultural differences between
Hindus and Muslims that neither the passage of time nor interaction
could satisfactorily bridge.

Neither was willing to live as a protected or tolerated minority in a
post-British dispensation. Just as the Zionists rejected the idea of a
federal Palestine, the League turned down suggestions of autonomous
Muslim units within a unified India. Zionist arguments for a state
shared much with Jinnah’s justification of the Muslim minority retaining
its separate identity through the realization of a state.

In both cases, a substantial body of opinion argued against
religiously based nationalism. Binationalists like Martin Buber argued,
vainly one might add, that instead of exclusive Jewish or Arab nations,
Palestine could become a multinational state. In their view such a state
“represents a higher, more modern and more hopeful idea than the
universal sovereign independent state.”11 

Likewise, Muslim
members of the Indian National Congress belonged to an organization
vehemently opposed to the idea of religious faith’s defining a person’s

Redefining the population. Palestine consisted of Arab and non-Arab
populations, British India of Hindu and non-Hindu populations; any other
classifications ignored the prevailing demographic reality.
But such
divisions had little appeal to Zionists or the Muslim League, who needed
a demarcation that would strengthen their respective constituencies. 

Both daringly and successfully reversed the formula: Palestine was thus
composed of Jews and non-Jews, India of Muslims and non-Muslims. Thus
did the Balfour Declaration promise to maintain civil and religious
rights for the “non-Jewish communities in Palestine,” as though they
were a minority, and not some 90 percent of the population. Although the
League projected itself as the sole spokesman of the Indian Muslims, in
the first general elections in 1937, it won only 108 of the 485 seats
reserved for Muslims and was rejected by the Muslim majority areas which
later became Pakistan.

Cool to democracy. Zionists and Indian Muslims both suffered from
being a minority; both had to deal with a British administration
inclined to handle cultural problems with elections. And both responded
with vehement opposition to the principle of determining the
post-British political arrangement through democratic means.

Zionists’ rejection of self-determination in Palestine, plus their
effort to link the fate of Palestine to that of diaspora Jews, followed
mainly from the minority Jewish position in Palestine; a
one-man-one-vote policy would have placed them under perpetual Arab
control and domination. Muslims were always very aware of their minority
status in India and similarly shied away from democracy. 

For Jinnah,
“democracy can only mean Hindu Raj all over India. This is a position to
which Muslims will never submit.”12 Muslims also feared that “Western representative institutions would place them under permanent Hindu Raj.”13

Parity. Instead of democracy, Zionists and Indian Muslims preferred a
different formula, that of parity. Demographic considerations delayed
the Zionist demands for parity but the arrival of the fourth and fifth
wave of diaspora Jews making aliya enhanced the position of the
Yishuv (Zionist community) to the point that in 1936 Jews constituted
over 28 percent of the Palestinian population. This improved demographic
situation enabled the Zionist leadership to seek parity in British
consideration with the non-Jewish population.

Likewise, the Muslim League demanded that Muslims be treated
differently from non-Muslim Indians, then projected itself as their
exclusive representative.14 It thereby challenged the rights
of other political parties (the Congress Party in particular) to
represent Muslim interests or even to include Muslims among their
delegations and representatives. Jinnah’s “claim for parity developed
steadily from simple political parity between League and Congress to
communal parity between Muslims and Hindus and culminated finally in the
demand for ideological parity between Muslims and non-Muslims.”15


Once they came into existence as states, both Pakistan and Israel
experienced similar sorts of problems as nations in the making,
involving boundaries, migration, language, identity, and the legal

Geography. Both states had awkward borders at their start. Israel’s
territory resulted from the happenstance of war and led to such
anomalies as a divided capital city and a country with a waist only nine
miles wide; only in 1967 did Israel end these irregularities.
had an even more bizarre geography, for it consisted of west and east
wings separated by a thousand-mile Indian territory. Those two halves
“were remote from each other in everything from language and high
cultural tradition to diet, costume, calendar, standard time and social
customs.”16 The cession of the east wing in 1971, though very painful, did provide geographic contiguity and national focus to Pakistan.

In-migration. Between 1948-51, more than 600,000 immigrants arrived
in Israel, doubling the Jewish population and drastically altering
Israel’s cultural map, as most of the new immigrants came from Arab
countries. Pakistan’s formation was accompanied by the influx and
outflow of huge numbers of refugees, estimated at fifteen million, the
vast majority of whom arrived with little property (those with
possessions tended to stay behind in India). Absorbing this refugee
population proved a monumental task for both Israel and Pakistan (and
India too).

Besides having to provide for housing, employment,
education, and distribution of wealth and opportunities, and having to
allow for social and cultural adjustments, each new state had to provide
a sense of belonging and national identity. The challenge was
heightened in Israel’s case by the immigrants’ worldwide origins and in
Pakistan’s by the ethnic diversity of its native population as well as
the Mohajirs (immigrants from India).

Language. In both countries, few spoke the language that served as
official tongue. Hebrew, revived from millennia past as a vernacular,
had to be learned by nearly everyone. In many families, parents
continued with their diverse mother tongues while Hebrew became the
language of the children.
Had demographic considerations predominated in
Pakistan, Bengali would have been the national language, spoken as it
was by more than half of Pakistan’s original population. Instead, Urdu
— spoken primarily in the Gangetic belt that lay outside its borders17 and not the principal language of any province that composed Pakistan — became the country’s official language.18

Establishing a national identity. Internal disagreements among both
Israelis and Pakistanis are acute. The religious-secular debates are at
times extremely intense and eventually could damage the state. Tensions
between the Ashkenazi (i.e., Europeans) and the Sephardi (Middle
Easterners) has a lesser role but played a crucial role in the defeat of
the Labor alignment in 1977.
Pakistan was anything but a homogeneous
entity at the time of its formation; other than being Muslims, the
citizens had very little in common — and even as Muslims, the Sunnis,
Shi`is, Ahmadis, and Isma`ilis differed ferociously among themselves.
Establishing a Pakistan identity among a divided population was the
primary task of the new state, one not fully achieved, for the country
remains riven by these divisions, especially the Sunni-Shi`i one.

Who is a Jew, a Muslim? Who is an Israeli or a Pakistani? What is a
Jewish or Islamic state? Both states have struggled to define their core
identity. Internal divisions prevent a consensus on the question of who
is a Jew or Muslim. As a nation committed to “the ingathering of the
exiles,” one would expect a general agreement on the Jewish identity. On
the contrary, “who is a Jew?” has become among the most controversial
and contentious issues in Israel and the passage of time only
intensifies the tension. For example, the massive immigration from the
former Soviet Union led to major disagreements when, on halachic
grounds, the religious establishment questioned the Jewish credentials
of many immigrants. 

Because of their questionable Judaism, those who
fought and died in defense of the country have at times been refused
burial in Jewish cemeteries. Likewise, conversions to Judaism under
Conservative or Reform auspices are not accepted in Israel.

In Pakistan, a fundamentalist Jamaat-i Islami group put this issue on the national agenda in 1953 by demanding that Ahmadis19
be declared non-Muslims. When the government rejected this demand, the
Jamaat engaged in anti-Ahmadi violence. The chief justice of the Supreme
Court, Mohammed Munir, headed an commission of inquiry that drew an
interesting observation: the ulema (religious authorities) could not
agree on the question of who is a Muslim.20 The
fundamentalists lost this battle but not the war; to retain their
support, Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1973 conceded to include
an amendment to the newly promulgated constitution that declared the
Ahmadis non-Muslims. 

Take the case of Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, a
political and legal luminary who consciously opted to live in Pakistan
and make it his home: he served the new Islamic Republic as its first
foreign minister, skillfully articulated Islamic positions in
international fora, took Pakistan into the SEATO alliance, and became
the first Pakistani judge at the International Court of Justice in the
Hague. Yet the 1973 constitution of Pakistan declared Sir Zafrulla a
non-Muslim and he died in 1985 a kafir (infidel) in his own country.

Constitutions. In Israel, domestic differences impeded a written
constitution; for the same reason, Pakistan had too many of them.
Conflict over the role and position of halacha (religious law) in
the Jewish State significantly inhibited Israel from enacting a
constitution. What began as a compromise British model of not having a
written constitution gradually became a Pandora’s box. With the growing
influence of religious parties, writing a constitution has become more
distant than ever. In its five decades, Pakistan has had seven
constitutional arrangements — those of 1935, 1956, 1958, 1962, 1969,
1973, and 1985.


Secular movements. The parallel religious response to the new states
holds particular interest. Supporters of the Zionist and Pakistani
enterprises came primarily from the secular middle-class and neither
intended to create a theocratic polity. Reflecting on the Declaration of
Independence, David Ben-Gurion later remarked that it

said something that I know conflicts with the Halacha,
universal and equal suffrage without distinctions of sex, religion, race
or nationality; and this was adopted even though according to the
Halacha women do not have equal rights…. We must undoubtedly respect
any Jew who is faithful to the Halacha, but the Halacha does not
obligate every Jew.21

At a press conference on July 4, 1947, just a month before partition,
Jinnah remarked that it was “absurd” to think that Pakistan would be a
religious state.22 On the eve of partition, he categorically told members of the Constituent Assembly,

You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to
your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of
Pakistan…. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that
has nothing to do with the business of the State…. Hindus would cease
to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims –not in the
religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual,
but in the political sense as citizens of the State.23

According to first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, “Pakistan came
into being as a result of the urge felt by the Muslims of the
sub-continent to secure a territory, however limited, where Islamic
ideology and the way of life could be practiced and demonstrated to the
world.”[24] The recognition of the centrality of Islam in the new state
was not aimed at making its Shari`a the guiding principal. In the words of Paul Brass,

The League leaders were oriented towards achieving secular
political power in a modern constitutional-bureaucratic state structure,
in which the shari’a would be respected but would not prevent
legislatures from acting in a sovereign manner and in which secular
political leaders would be dominant in a representative regime. In both
their goals and their political skills, the Muslim League leaders were
more oriented towards and ultimately more successful in the secular
political arena in which the political choices had to be made.25

Early opposition. In both cases, religious leaders responded
negatively to nationalist demands for a religiously-based state.

Orthodox Jewry found Zionism unattractive because it contradicted their
view that the Jewish state must be formed by the Messiah and not by some
nonobservant Zionist mortals. Even today, a substantial body of the
Orthodox rejects the state, some going so far as to consort with its
enemies. This applies even to government functionaries: a former chief
rabbi remains seated and studies a religious text while the audience at
an official function sings the national anthem; a deputy mayor of
Jerusalem dismisses the Israeli flag as a rag.

The idea of a separate Islamic political entity runs counter to the
universal brotherhood preached by Islam; if Islam is the authentic
nationality of the Muslims everywhere, then political divisions within
the Islamic world can only be temporary. If were Pakistan somehow
attained, it would confine the sway and glory of Islam to mere corners
of the country, Muslims remaining in India would be weakened, and
Pakistan would not be a truly Islamic state.26 Thus, the
principal “opposition to the Pakistan demand and to the Muslim League
among Muslims came from that segment of the Muslim elite most concerned
with the protection of Islam and Muslim culture, from the ulama.”27
In addition, their opposition had much to do with self-interest; the
ulema did not see in the Muslim League and in the Pakistan idea an
appropriate leadership position for themselves as the true protectors of
Islam and Shari`a.28 They also opposed Pakistan on the grounds that Pakistan was an unrealistic goal.

As a result, influential elements of the ulema, especially the
Jamiyyat-i-Ulama-i-Hind, sided with the Congress Party and against the
Muslim League.29 Kifayatullah (1872-1952), mufti of Delhi and founder of Jamiyyat-i-Ulama-i-Hind, also raised doubts in his fatwas about Jinnah’s Islamic credentials.30
He pointed out that Jinnah was expert “of English law, not of Islamic
law of British politics, not Islamic policies.” He lacked even an
elementary acquaintance with Islamic jurisprudence. Other of the ulema
of the Barelvi school pointed out that as a Shi`i, Jinnah should not
lead the faithful. Even those who sought a theocratic state in the
sub-continent, like Maulana Abul A`la Maududi (1903-79), had
reservations over Jinnah’s non-Islamic orientation and approach. Jinnah,
whom Indian Muslims had hailed as Quaid-i-Azam (Great Leader), Maududi
once dubbed Kafir-i-Azam (Great Unbeliever) because he felt Jinnah “was
not a practising Muslim.”31

The religious reconsider. Oddly, some of those initially indifferent
or even hostile to a state based on religion latterly became among its
most fervent advocates and then ambitious to seize control of it.
non-Zionist Orthodox Jews “soon realized that, in a western style
democracy, a determined minority has the power to prevent the government
from passing laws that ostensibly threaten their sacred principles.”32
Before long, they became key players in the Zionist Knesset and at
times indispensable coalition partners. Once Pakistan was created as a
“homeland” for the subcontinent’s Muslim minorities, religious elements
would inevitably try to take control of it.33Besides making
Pakistan an Islamic Republic the ulema played a crucial role in the
legitimization of military rule.

An otherwise powerful dictator like
Ayub Khan had to make concessions to the ulema and declare Pakistan an
Islamic republic. Democracy has been good to the growing ambitions of
the religious, with elections enhancing their strength and influence as
rival secular parties are compelled to court and solicit the support of
the religious leaders and establishment. Religious activists in both
countries want such personal and community functions as marriage,
divorce, adoption, conversion, burials, and food and travel regulations
to come under religious control.

Religion’s increased role. The year 1977 was a major landmark in the
approach to religion in both countries, as unprecedented political
changes compelled rulers to be more accommodating to the religious
The ninth Knesset elections of that year abruptly ended
the Labor Party’s perpetual domination of Israeli politics and when
Menachem Begin became prime minister, he was joined, after a gap of over
two decades, by the Agudat Israel, a non-Zionist party.34
Begin conceded various demands made by the religious establishment that
previous Israeli governments had hitherto denied. For example, he gave
the National Religious Party control of the coveted education ministry,
with its ample financial resources and extensive education network.

Pakistan also underwent serious change in 1977 with the imposition of
martial law and the overthrow of Zulfiqar Bhutto by General Zia ul-Haq,
who ruled until 1988. In need of ways to legitimize his rule, Zia ul-Haq
looked to Islam. Projecting himself as a pious Muslim seeking to
promote the cause of Islam, he introduced a series of legislative acts
toward this end.

Today, both countries face severe fundamentalist pressures. Religious
parties made significant gains in the 1996 elections, to the point that
Binyamin Netanyahu, a secular, modern, and American-educated leader,
had to court the religious establishment to ensure his election as prime
minister. The Oxford-educated Benazir Bhutto’s alienated the religious
establishment in Pakistan partly contributed to her downfall as prime
minister on two occasions.

The historical circumstances of their creation mean that secularism
is not an option for Israel or Pakistan; that would question their very
raison d’être. Israel and Pakistan both fall somewhere between theocracy
and secularism. Both engage in intrusive scrutiny of individual and
collective behaviors; yet greater religious influence would accentuate
internal discord and divisions.


Israelis spend little time publicly discussing Pakistan but are
favorably disposed toward the country. The first known Zionist contacts
with the Indian sub-continent were with Muslim League rather than
Congress leaders: Chaim Weizman met Shaukat Ali in London in January
1931. Israel sees Pakistan as an important Islamic state, a key player
in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and a country with
nuclear capability. In the public sphere however, relations are not so
good, as symbolized by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s abortive attempt
to visit the Palestinian autonomous areas in Gaza in August 1994 without
“any contacts or coordination” with Israel; this drew sharp rebuttal
from Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the visit did not take place.

As this incident suggests, Pakistani leaders long placed themselves
at the forefront of the “anti-Zionist” struggle and saw their commitment
to the Palestinian cause as a way to display their Islamic credentials.
In 1947, Pakistan led Islamic opposition to the partition plan, and the
passage of time only intensified this zeal. No other Arab or Muslim
figure could have presented a more vociferous defense in support of the
Palestinians than did Sir Zafrulla Khan, the first foreign minister of
Pakistan, at the United Nations debate to partition Palestine.35
He deemed any comparison between the partition of the Indian
subcontinent and similar demands in Palestine false, even preposterous,
because unlike the Jews in Palestine, the Muslim minority was part of
the sub-continental population.36 Conspiracy theories are
often used in Pakistani public life to discredit political opponents as
Zionist agents and spies; during the 1997 election campaign, some have
charged that “Jewish money and power” is trying to influence and control
Pakistan’s domestic and foreign policies. 

That the father-in-law of
former cricket star and founding leader of Imran Khan, founder of the
new political party Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf, is a British Jewish
billionaire adds flavor to the debate. Reacting to reports that
Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations had attended a reception
hosted by his Israeli counterpart Gad Ya’acobi, one Urdu daily warned:
“Any Muslim or patriotic Pakistani will consider making contact,
developing relations, or attending the receptions of Israeli leaders as a
conspiracy against the country and the community until the independence
of Jerusalem is secured and a sovereign Palestine is established.”37


As states that came into existence to protect and promote the
interests of religious minorities, Israel and Pakistan have more in
common than is generally recognized. Their histories overlapped in many
ways. As nations in the making, they had to create identities, impose
languages, and contend with strange boundaries. While both have
consciously avoided theocracy, in both places an initially reluctant
orthodox segment has successfully gained disproportionate power. 

Although Israel and Pakistan came into existence to serve as a homeland
for all Jews and all Indian Muslims, both confront the fact that more
Jews and Indian Muslims live outside the new countries than in them,
suggesting that these national enterprises are far from complete.


1 The Economist, Dec. 12, 1981, p. 48.
The few exceptions mostly aim at painting Pakistan in a positive light
vis-à-vis Israel; thus Moonis Ahmar, “Pakistan and Israel: Distant
Adversaries or Neighbors,” Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Fall 1996, pp. 20-45.
Sadiq Ali Gill, “Anglo-American diplomacy and the emergence of
Pakistan, 1940-1947,” unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Kansas,
1984, p. 206.
4 Theodor Herzl, Der Judenstaat (Leipzig: M. Breitenstein, 1896).
“Official historiography in Pakistan traces the origin to the idea, if
not the country itself, to at least a half a dozen different dates and
places. There are writers whose expansive Pan-Islamic imaginings detect
the beginning of Pakistan in the birth of Islam in the Arabian
peninsula.” See Ayesha Jalal, “Conjuring Pakistan: History as Official
Imagining,” International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Feb. 1995, pp. 78.
6 Quoted in Hector Bolitho, Jinnah, Creator of Pakistan
(London: John Murray, 1960), p. 125. Hardly all the homelands, for
Bengal, the most populous province of the future state, was not
included. To which Salman Rushdie remarks in Shame (New York:
Alfred A. Knopf, 1983), p. 91: “No mention of the East Wing, you notice;
Bangladesh never got its name in the title, and so, eventually, it took
the hint and seceded from the sessionists.”
7 Quoted in Rajmohan Gandhi, Eight Lives: A Study of the Hindu-Muslim Encounter (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1986), pp. 153-4.
8 Daniel Shimshoni, Israeli Democracy: The Middle of the Journey (New York: Free Press, 1982), p. 36.
9 Gandhi, Eight Lives, p.123.
10 Quoted in Stanley Wolpert, Jinnah of Pakistan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 182.
11 Judah Magnes and Martin Buber, Arab-Jewish Unity (London: Victor Gollancz, 1947), p.55.
12 Quoted in Bolitho, Jinnah, p. 125.
13 S. M. Burke, Mainsprings of Indian and Pakistani Foreign Policy (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1974), p. 9.
14 Farzana Shaikh, “Muslims and political representation in colonial India: The making of Pakistan,” Modern Asian Studies, July 1986, pp. 539-57.
Shaikh, “Muslims and political representation in colonial India,” p.
550. Congress rejected this position, holding that the role of Hindus in
the organization merely reflected demographic realities and worried
that accepting the Muslim League demands would imply accepting those of
other ethnic and religious groups, and thereby the viability of the
Congress. Much to Jinnah’s displeasure, Congress continued to give
prominent positions to Muslims within the party, even appointing Maulana
Abul Kalam Azad as its president.
16 Daniel Pipes, In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power (New York: Basic Books, 1983), p. 153.
And therefore the mother tongue of Muslims from North India who
migrated to the new state. The difficulties facing the absorption of
Mohajirs even decades after Pakistan’s formation are manifested in the
protracted violence in the port city of Karachi. See Farhat Haq, “Rise
of MQM in Pakistan: Politics of ethnic mobilization,” Asian Survey, vol. 35, no. 11,Nov. 1995, pp. 990-1004; and Feroz Ahmed, “Ethnicity and politics: The rise of Muhajir separatism,” South Asia Bulletin, vol. 8, 1988, pp. 33-45.
The imposition of Urdu partly contributed to the disharmony between the
two wings and led to the eventual cession of the East and emergence of
Bangladesh in 1971.
19 Followers of Mirza Ghulum Ahmad
(1839-1908), who believe him to be a prophet and thereby reject the
Islamic tenet that Muhammad was the last prophet.
20 Rubya Mehdi, The Islamization of the Law in Pakistan (Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press, 1994), p. 22.
21 David Ben-Gurion, “Who is a Jew?” New Outlook, June 1970, pp. 44-5.
22 M. J. Akbar, India: The Siege Within, revised edition (New Delhi: UPS Publishers, 1996), p. 21.
23 Quoted in Bolitho, Jinnah, p. 197.
24 Quoted in Burke, Mainsprings of Indian and Pakistani Foreign Policies, p. 116.
25 Paul R. Brass, Language, Religion and Politics in North India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974), p. 165.
26 Arun Shourie, The World of Fatwas: Or the Shariah in Action (New Delhi: ASA Publications, 1995), p. 244.
27 Brass, Language, Religion and Politics in North India, p. 163.
28 Ibid., pp. 178-80.
Yohanan Friedmann, “The attitude of the Jamiyyat-i-Ulama-i-Hind to the
Indian national movement and the establishment of Pakistan,” Asian and African Studies, 7 (1971): 157-80.
30 Shourie, The World of Fatwas, pp. 223-45.
31 Rafiq Zakaria, The Widening Divide: An Insight into Hindu-Muslim Relations (New Delhi: Penguin, 1996), p. 205.
32 Menachem Friedman, “The Ultra-Orthox and Israeli society”, in Keith Kyle and Joel Peters ed., Whither Israel? The Domestic Challenges (London: I. B. Tauris, 1993), p. 185.
33 S. M. Burke, Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: An Historical Analysis (London: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 66.
34 Ira Sharkansky, “Religion and State in Begin’s Israel,” The Jerusalem Quarterly, Spring 1984, pp. 31-49.
35 Michael B. Bishku, “In search of identity and security: Pakistan and the Middle East, 1947-77,” Conflict Quarterly, Summer 1992, p. 36; Burke, Pakistan’s Foreign Policy, pp. 137-8. His eloquence yet lives on; for example, an article on “Palestine at the U.N.O.” was reprinted in Walid Khalidi, From Haven to Conquest (Washington, D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1987), pp. 709-22.
36 Burke, Pakistan’s Foreign Policy, p. 138.
37 “Contacts with Israel,” editorial, Khabrain (Islamabad), Feb. 21, 1995, in Foreign Broadcast Information Service (hereafter FBIS), Daily Report: Near East and South Asia, Feb. 22, 1995. See also “The Islamic summit: Attempt to secure recognition of Israel and Pakistan”,Nawa-i-Waqt, Dec. 11, 1994, in FBIS, Dec. 13, 1994.


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9 years ago

Well I'll be damned ! Daniel Pipes ME Forum! I am just skimmed through and agree with much of it with some caveats which I will get to later.

These guys have done a thorough work. Though they couldve elaborated on the core Ashkenazim vis Sephardic immigrants and core Punjabi vs Mohajir parallels a little more

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