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Posted by on Apr 1, 2020 in TellMeWhy |

What Does Pakistan Mean? How Pakistan Got Its Name?

What Does Pakistan Mean? How Pakistan Got Its Name?

Pakistan is an acronym, for Punjab, Afghan (the North-West frontier region), Kashmir, Indus (some say it’s for Islam) and Sind. The “Tan” is said to represent Baluchistan. It’s a good acronym, as Pakistan also translates as “Land Of The Spiritually Pure And Clean” in Urdu, Persian and Pashto.

Pakistan got its name from the Round Table Conferences that were organized in the 1930s and originated from the third Conference. The second Conference had seen much infighting among leaders of Indian national Congress (INC), while the government in the UK changed for Labour to Conservatives.

Neither INC nor the Labour took part in the third Conference, and the Conference was participated by only 46 representatives. Near the conclusion of the Conference Choudhry Rahmat Ali, a young Muslim nationalist presented a radical pamphlet demanding a separate Muslim state.

The pamphlet demanded a separate homeland for “thirty million Muslims of PAKSTAN, who lived in the five Northern Units of India”. He defined PAKSTAN as “Punjab, North-West Frontier Province (Afghan Province, as it was known as), Kashmir, Sind and Baluchistan” in the very first paragraph of the pamphlet.

It was drafted by him alone. But, Ali needed other people to sign the pamphlet to make it representatives. It took him about a month to get three young Muslim intellectuals to sign the document. But, as soon as it was presented at the Conference, the Muslim League took it up as their demand.

The League had already passed the Lahore Resolution, which proposed a Two Nation theory demanding a separate Muslim constitution. But, they did not had a name for it. So they adopted the name, adding an “I” in the middle to make it easier to pronounce. In the new spelling, PAKISTAN, it also meant a land (stan) of the pure (pak).

Content for this question contributed by Syeda Maimanat Mohsin, resident of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan