The Pakistan movement was a fight for India’s minorities. It was an exercise in securing minority rights, a call for more representation, and a fight against minority discrimination of any and all kinds. If it was not amply clear then, the Quaid e Azam, the Great Leader, Mohammad Ali Jinnah coined these principles in his historical 11th August speech in 1947:
“You are free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan”
– MUHAMMAD ALI JINNAH
That the new flag, an amalgamation of the white stripe to the existing Muslim League flag, was adopted on this very day should have further accentuated this fact. Perhaps with the birth of Pakistan, the flag quite presciently symbolized the birth of another struggle – that of Muslim and Non-Muslim coexistence.
Shias make up the largest of Pakistan’s Muslim minority. While there are no official population figures, estimates claim they make up as much as 15-20% of the total population of Pakistan.
Hazaras are the most vulnerable Shia denominated ethnic community living in Balochistan. With a population of over 650,000 people, they are mostly restricted to two areas in Quetta – Alamdar Road and Hazara Town. The discrimination against Hazaras is doubly intersectional since their physical appearances also make them easily identifiable.
Christians make up the second-largest religious minority group in Pakistan. Almost 75% of them are ethnically Punjab. Most of these Punjabi Christians were once Dalit Hindus who converted under colonial rule to escape caste discrimination.
Ahmadis are the smallest prominent minority group in the country at just 0.22% of the total population. The community has been subject to public discourse since the 1890s when Mirza Ghulam Ahmed started the Ahmadiyya movement.
Hindus make up the largest minority in Pakistan. Though they made up almost 12 percent of the population at the time of partition their number kept dwindling over the years. A major chunk of the Hindu population was also cut off in 1971 with the separation of East Pakistan into Bangladesh. Since then, they have consistently made up under 2% of the total population of the country.
Telling stories of marginalized communities in Pakistan with the help of films and podcasts; can pull audiences into an immersive experience, taking the time to build empathy or understanding more deeply. They tell stories about the lives of real people in ways that help audiences make or see connections – about ideas or issues – that may otherwise seem abstract. The audience is often changed by the experience.