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When Pakistan emerged as an independent state in 1947, it sought to provide a new homeland and safe harbor for South Asia's Muslims, the largest religious minority in the subcontinent at the time. Yet this project was not exclusive. Taking its name from Pakstan, an acronym composed of the key letters of its constituent regions-Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh, and Baluchistan-Pakistan at first welcomed all of its new citizens, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Non-Muslims comprised 23 percent of the total population, and non-Sunnis comprised a quarter of the Muslim population.Today, non-Muslims comprise a mere 3 percent of the population, and in recent years all non-Sunnis have been subjected to increasing levels of persecution and violence. What happened?In Purifying the Land of the Pure, Farahnaz Ispahani analyzes Pakistan's policies towards its religious minority populations, beginning from the time of independence in 1947.



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