Does the case of Abdus Salam tell us something about Pakistan’s future?

According e. g. this report The Guardian the one and only Pakistani Nobel laureate Abdus Salam is largely scorned in his homeland.


Would you say that Pakistan can change in the future to fully accept people like Abdus Salam or not, and why?


Nicolas Martin, Teaching Fellow, Department of Anthropology, The London School of Economics and Political Science

I think that Pakistan has grown more and more intolerant over the years, particularly since the 1980s. Attitudes towards minorities including Ahmadis but also Christians,Hindus and even Shiah Muslims have hardened considerably and ordinary Muslims avoid speaking out against this in case they are branded as enemies of Islam. Within the last few years a minister was killed for trying to repeal blasphemy laws that victimise non-Muslims and his killer was widely applauded even among educated lawyers. Unfortunately I think that these attitudes are likely to continue hardening, and Pakistanis will not accept lectures from Westerners (and particularly Americans) on human rights and respect for religious diversity; particularly since they believe that Americans themselves do not respect the religious rights of Muslims.

Ironically instead of celebrating Abdus Salam, the Pakistani establishment celebrates A.Q.Khan who stole nuclear secrets from Europe and sold them on to North Korea and possibly other places.

Stephen CohenSenior Fellow, Foreign Policy, The Brookings Institution

There’s always a danger in taking a single event or decision-point and projecting it into the future. Treatment of Salam and other cases is obviously egregious, but the Ahmediyyas are regarded as heretic in official Indian circles, not just Pakistan.

Pakistan is not Stalin’s Soviet Union, more like Khrushchev, he was followed by more liberal regimes–which direction Pakistan will turn may depend on events that have not happened, or trends that we co not fully understand, yet.


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