Cultural Federalism: Embracing Unity in Diversity in Pakistan (Eng)

Pakistan is an incredibly diverse country. This holds true for its geographical as well as its socio-cultural, political, economic and historic fabric. The Pakistani flag pays tribute to this diversity: the white elements acknowledge the existence and contribution of minorities to the state of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s founding father M.A. Jinnah propagated the vision of “a homestead for Muslims, but not a Muslim state”.

However, while the founding narrative and official state symbols such as the national flag acknowledge the diversity of the people, who live on Pakistani soil, historical developments and realities on the ground often tell a different story. While Pakistanis live their different customs and traditions every day, this is not appreciated publically or politically.

Why is the overwhelming diversity of Pakistani society a “denied reality”?

How can the heterogeneity of Pakistan be turned into an asset, rather than being perceived as a threat and source of conflict?

FNF Pakistan discussed this topic in a series of web panels with experts from academia, politics, public administration and civil society. Each web panel dealt with a specific topic related to the diversity issue in Pakistan based on a paper written by Jami Chandio, touching upon the political and constitutional framework, the socio-cultural mosaic, ethnic and linguistic pluralism, religious diversity and diversity as a conflict resolution mechanism.

As “diversity” is a concept, which can be perfectly expressed through art, the reknown cartoonist Akhtar Shah participated in every panel discussion sketching the main messages of the panellists in rapid live drawings. Some selected pieces of his work illustrate this publication, because they shed a different perspective on this topic.