Published in Dawn Magazine,
Sunday, December 5, 1999

Sometime I meet people who say that the only way they can be happy is to get out of this country. To such people I'd like to give my own reasons for being in love with Pakistan. I'm a memon, born three years after partition, and I thank God that my parents abandoned India after partition.

The migration of 1947 was, of course, not the first one for Memons. About three centuries ago, my ancestors were forced to migrate from Sindh to other parts of India for reasons that have never been recorded. Perhaps, it was a plague or they were expelled for waging wars.

My late father often told us how Muslims were treated like pariahs in the pre-partition India. Geography tells us that the climate of Sindh, West Punjab and East Bengal wasn't conductive for setting up of industries, although both cotton and jute were grown in these areas. Cotton mills were therefore established in Ahmedabad and jute mills in Calcutta. Another reason for not setting up industries in these regions would have been bias against the Muslims.

An uncle of mine says that in most eating houses in Gujrat (then Kathiawar), Muslims were not allowed entry. Back in 1975 I was dealing in fuel oil supplies to vessels calling at Karachi Port. I would often come across Muslims serving in ships from Yogoslavia, Greece and Germany, but I never saw a Muslim working in an Indian Vessel. The ships would have Parsis, Christians, Sikhs and, of course, Hindus on board, but no Muslims.

To those who wonder if Mr. Jinnah did the right thing in creating this country, all I can say is that the creation of Pakistan gave Muslims of the sub-continent a new identity and saved them from virtual extinction.