ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Class, Caste or Race: Veils over Social Oppression in Pakistan

Pakistani society prefers to silence any discussion about caste-based discrimination and oppression in the public domain even though such marginalisation is widespread in many parts of the country.

When asked recently to think about “social marginalisation” in Pakistan, and to carry out fieldwork on the issue in rural and urban areas of the country, an experienced team of researchers knew they were up against some of the usual sources of resistance. It is easy enough to think, speak and write about “economic” poverty in Pakistan – the government’s point men notwithstanding. Societal causes of deprivation and marginalisation such as caste, religion and ethnicity find few takers and many detractors. But as our intrepid researchers got about their work, new demons that proved to be familiar, and yet quite unnerving, reared their heads.

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