“The United States has a special responsibility vis-à-vis Pakistan”: An Interview with Farahnaz Ispahani

23 January 2016
Wilson Center
Wilson Center

Farahnaz Ispahani, a public policy scholar at the Woodraw Wilson Center in Washington, is a former member of Pakistan’s parliament and served as the media advisor of the erstwhile president Asif Ali Zardari. Before she became an active participant in the country’s politics through the Pakistan’s People’s Party, Ispahani spent two decades in print and broadcast journalism, working with organisations such as the networks ABC and CNN in the United States of America. In 2012, the magazine Foreign Policy named her in its list of the top 100 global thinkers. Last year, Ispahani published her book, Purifying The Land of the Pure, which focuses on the state of religious minorities in Pakistan. The book analyses the policies of Pakistan towards its minorities while attempting to explore the genesis of the country. It also scrutinises the change in the ideology of Pakistan from the pluralist country that it had been envisioned as, to the purely Sunni-Islamic nation it is now.

On 18 January 2016, Nikita Saxena, the web editor of The Caravan, met Ispahani in Delhi. During the conversation, Ispahani spoke about the decreasing minority population in Pakistan, the role of the US in creating militias within the country, and the way forward for a state that she believes is committing “slow genocide.”

Nikita Saxena: The percentage of non-muslims in Pakistan has reduced significantly since its formation in 1947. What do you think has led to this decrease?

Nikita Saxena is a contributing writer at The Caravan.

Keywords: Pakistan foreign policy religious minorities Farahnaz Ispahani