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Topics Traditions Countries Classroom US/China  

COUNTRY

Pakistan

POPULATION

190,291,129 (July 2012 est.)

GDP PER CAPITA

$2,800 (2011 est.)

RELIGIONS

Muslim (official) 95% (Sunni 75%, Shia 20%), other (includes Christian and Hindu) 5%


Pakistan

Pakistan

Interviews (26)

The often-troubled relationship between religion and politics in Pakistan is the product of a complex history. Islam arrived in the Indian subcontinent in the eighth century, establishing itself as the predominant tradition over the next millennium. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, India was gradually incorporated under the British Raj. Under British rule, Hindu-Muslim relations grew strained, leading to the eventual partition of British India and the formation of an independent, Muslim-majority Pakistan in 1947. Since independence, Pakistan has been plagued by periods of civil unrest, war with India, and despotic military rule. It also saw a marked increase in religious influence in the sociopolitical sphere, particularly under the military dictator General Zia ul-Haq (1977-1988). Islam is the state religions and laws are required to be in accordance with Islam. An increasing number of blasphemy accusations since ul-Haq’s legal changes took effect reflect the growing turbulence and instability in Pakistan over the last 30 years. Muslims and non-Muslims alike live in fear of blasphemy accusations because of the violence that often follows, while religious minorities are additionally subject to extreme discrimination and persecution.


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  • March 21, 2011
    Background: This discussion preceded a consultation on faith and development in South and Central Asia in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on January 10-11, 2011. The interview was conducted by telephone between Katherine Marshall, Michael Bodakowski and Bedreldin Shutta, and was finalized following an email exchange in March 2011. In this interview, Mr. Shutta discusses his motivations to work with a faith-inspired organization after a long career with secular development organizations. He reflects on his...
  • February 24, 2011
    Background: This discussion preceded the January 2011 consultation on faith and development in South and Central Asia in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The interview supplements a conversation in December 2008; it was by video conference between Katherine Marshall and Michael Bodakowski, and Swami Agnivesh followed up during the Dhaka consultation and by email. Swami Agnivesh discusses his involvement in peace processes in India, with the Maoists and in Kashmir; his mediation efforts with the Maoists...
  • December 10, 2010
    Background: The context for this discussion is preparation for a consultation on faith and development in South and Central Asia in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on January 10-11, 2011. The consultation is an endeavor of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, Washington DC, with support from the Henry R. Luce Foundation. Its aim is to take stock of the wide range of ongoing work by different organizations that...
  • December 2, 2010
    Background: The context for this discussion is preparation for a consultation on faith and development in South and Central Asia in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on January 10-11, 2011. The consultation is an endeavor of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, with support from the Henry R. Luce Foundation. Its aim is to take stock of the wide range of ongoing work by different organizations that are, in varying...
  • November 24, 2010
    Background: The context for this discussion is preparation for a consultation on faith and development in South and Central Asia in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on January 10-11, 2011. The consultation is an endeavor of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, with support from the Henry R. Luce Foundation. Its aim is to take stock of the wide range of ongoing work by different organizations that are, in varying...
  • November 10, 2010
    Background: Background: The context for this discussion is preparation for a consultation on faith and development in South and Central Asia, held in Dhaka, Bangladesh January 10-11, 2011. The consultation is an endeavor of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD), the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, with support from the Henry R. Luce Foundation. Its aim is to take stock of the wide range of ongoing work by different organizations that are,...
  • November 1, 2010
    Background: The context for this discussion is preparation for a consultation on faith and development in South and Central Asia in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on January 10-11, 2011. The consultation is an endeavor of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, with support from the Henry R. Luce Foundation. Its aim is to take stock of the wide range of ongoing work by different organizations that are, in varying...
  • October 27, 2010
    Background: This discussion took place in preparation for a consultation on faith and development in South and Central Asia, held in Dhaka, Bangladesh January 10-11, 2011. The consultation is an endeavor of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, with support from the Henry R. Luce Foundation. Its aim is to take stock of the wide range of ongoing work by different organizations that are, in varying...
  • September 21, 2010
    Background: The context for this discussion is preparation for a consultation on faith and development in South and Central Asia, held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on January 10-11, 2011. The consultation is an endeavor of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, with support from the Henry R. Luce Foundation. Its aim is to take stock of the wide range of ongoing development work by different organizations...
  • July 30, 2010
    This discussion between Agneta Dau Valler, Katherine Marshall, Augustina Delaney, and Ethan Carroll took place on July 30, 2010 in Phnom Penh. The interview highlights the work and role of Church World Service, Cambodia, on a wide range of issues: capacity building of local partner organizations; village-level development in Cambodia's poorest regions; disaster risk reduction; and work to support peace and reconciliation. Ms. Dau Valler explains how CWS puts programs together and invests in...
  • July 7, 2010
    Background: This exchange between Scott Appleby and Katherine Marshall in July, 2010 focused on the USIP/Berkley Center/WFDD review of women, religion, and peace but also on Appleby's longstanding work on peacebuilding and how religion is woven through it. Appleby's pleads for us to stick to the term peacebuilding (in contrast to peacemaking or conflict resolution): “Peace is never fully made, but always being built”. We need to avoid essentializing gender roles. Fragmentation of the subfield...
  • July 2, 2010
    Background: This July 2010 discussion between Afeefa Syeed and Katherine Marshall focuses on Afeefa's pioneering role within USAID and her rich experience there. She highlights the importance of listening to what communities want and driving programs from that perspective. Women are natural peacemakers, she argues, across many regions, from family to community to regional levels, sought out in conflicts because of their skills and approach. She also speaks to the active roles of youth, many...
  • July 1, 2010
    Background: This July 2010 discussion between Filiz Odabas-Geldiay and Katherine Marshall was in preparation for the USIP/Berkley Center/WFDD review of women, religion, and peace. Filiz traces her path to her present roles, which took her from Istanbul, Turkey, to many places and professional challenges, and highlights her commitment to the humanistic approach of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Support for women is integral to his approach and thus his movement. That approach to peace is...
  • July 1, 2010
    Background: As part of the Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding Fellowship, Christopher O'Connor interviewed Yusuf Arrigasiyyu, Executive Director of the Muslim League for Accountability (MULAC). Yusuf Arrigasiyyu, who oversees the association’s initiatives, believes that good governance will ultimately lead to a more peaceful Nigeria.
  • June 30, 2010
    Background: This discussion (on June 30, 2010) focuses on the Women PeaceMakers Program at the University of San Diego, which Dr. Aker created and directs. It involves intensive efforts to document and share the work of women from all world regions who are practitioners working for peace. While religion is not an explicit element of the program, Aker observes that very different world religions often provide a common unifying thread among the women and many cite the personal inspiration of...
  • June 8, 2010
    Background: This June 2010 exchange between Qamar-ul Huda and Susan Hayward focuses on Huda’s experiences as a Pakistani-American, which led him into the field of Islamic peacemaking, and his work for USIP in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • April 7, 2010
    Background: This May 2010 exchange between Dena Merriam and Katherine Marshall highlights Ms. Merriam’s pioneering work in creating a Global Initiative for women that centers on women. She recounts how she has come to see women's spiritual voices as critical to global peace, and why their voices and the agendas and energy they reflect result in differences in approach and outcome. Her initiative has taken shape over the past decade, born of the glaring gap in women's roles at the pivotal...
  • September 30, 2009
    Background: This conversation between Emmy Simmons, Katherine Marshall, and Thomas Bohnett was conducted in advance of a WFDD-sponsored consultation on links between faith and agriculture. The interview was updated by email in March 2011. Ms. Simmons discusses U.S. food aid policy and the various faith links to agriculture, observing that in her experience many faith groups shy away from both land and gender issues, but are more involved in biotechnology issues, including GMOs. Involvement of...
  • August 21, 2009
    Background: Dr. Gerlinda Lucas is serving in Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE as Deputy Director of Administration. Her main role is monitoring and evaluating the HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria program of the hospital that is funded by Global Fund. She also took part in launching a community outreach project through a mobile clinic, currently providing basic primary health care and health education to most depressed area in Phnom Penh. In the past, Dr. Lucas served as Medical Project Supervisor in...
  • April 18, 2009
    Background: Rajmohan Gandhi, the President of Initiatives of Change International (IofC) and the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, reflects in this interview on his more than 50-year association with IofC; he first met Moral Rearmament, as the organization was then known, in Scotland in 1956. Gandhi sees IofC's work as well as his own as intimately connected to his grandfather's vision of social change; both are grounded in commitment, discipline, and courage. The simplicity of the idea behind...
  • February 12, 2009
    Background: Inspired as a child by the “heart to God, hand to man” values of the Salvation Army, Daniel Starrett has been working for 36 years in the Army, and is now the Executive Director of the organization's World Service Office in the US He spoke of the Army's founding in the early days of the industrial revolution in the U.K., and explained the logic behind the organization's “military” structure. The Salvation Army sees healthy families as the building blocks of society, and Starrett...
  • June 23, 2008
    Background: This discussion between Husnul Amin and Brady Walkinshaw took place on June 23, 2008 as part of preparatory work for a June 24-25, 2008 consultation in the Hague on roles of faith-inspired organizations in development. In the interview, Mr. Amin shares how he came to research the links between poverty, social development, and religious education in the Islamic world. He also relates how his own experiences in Pakistan have shaped his view on the relationship between Islam and...
  • June 23, 2008
    Background: This discussion between Welmoet Boender and Katherine Marshall took place by phone as part of preparation for a June 24, 2008 consultation at the ISS in The Hague on "Global Development and Faith-Inspired Organizations in Europe and Africa." In this exchange, Ms. Boender describes her work with the Knowledge Center, a collaborative project launched in 2006 by five Dutch faith-based organizations. She outlines the direction of her research, focused especially on Islam, and also...
  • June 1, 2008
    Background: This interview was conducted between Professor Omer Caha and Brady Walkinshaw took place by email as part of preparations for a June 24, 2008 consultation in the Hague on "Global Development and Faith-Inspired Organizations in Europe and Africa." In this discussion, Professor Caha reflects on his background and the dynamics of NGOs in Turkey that he noticed as a student. He comments on charity and faith-based organizations, Islam and Turkey, and the ways secularism and faith do or...
  • December 3, 2007
    Background: Dr. Hany El-Banna is Co-Founder and President of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), an international relief and development organization that aims to alleviate the poverty and suffering of the world's poorest. He is a member of the Three Faiths Forum and was selected to be a member in the World Economic Forum's Community of West-Islam Dialogue (C-100). El Banna is also a trustee of the Disasters Emergency Committee and a member of the Advisory Group to the International Department of...
  • November 27, 2007
    Background: The following conversation between Patrice Brodeur and Katherine Marshall was conducted by phone as part of preparation for a December 17, 2007 conference in Doha on "Global Development and Faith-Inspired Organizations in the Muslim World." Mr. Brodeur shares how he became passionate about the study of religions and discusses his current involvement in the interfaith dialogue in the Islamic world. He describes his vision of "inter-worldview dialogue" as intended to merge the...