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Becoming Visible: Marginalization, Mediatization, Mobilization of Pakistan’s Religious Minorities

by Jürgen Schaflechner

Based on my extensive fieldwork in Pakistan, vernacular discourses in Hindi, Sindhi, and Urdu, as well as manual and computationally supported online research, I analyze how “non-Muslims” negotiate religious belonging and citizenship in Pakistan. I show how minorities skillfully navigate their national and international outreach between state surveillance and Islamic groups' pressure for religious uniformity. In different chapters, I describe various tactics of becoming visible by Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus, Jews, and Sikhs. I show how actors navigate between their visibility and invisibility in their day-to-day life; how they strategically utilize the cognitive economies of social media through different forms of affectively-charged visibilities (what I call “affectivism”), and, crucially, how they keep specific grievances invisible that a.) would lead to dangerous repercussions, or b.) that are too complex to be “packaged and commodified” for a human rights market.