Anti-Pakistan sentiment

Anti-Pakistan sentiment or Pakistan-phobia also known as Pakophobia[1][2][3][4] refers to hatred or hostility towards Pakistan, Pakistanis and Pakistani culture, ranging from criticism of public policies, to fear or an irrational fixation. The opposite of anti-Pakistan sentiment is pro-Pakistan sentiment.


Results of 2017 BBC World Service poll.
Views of Pakistan's influence by country[5]
Sorted by Pos-Neg
Country polled Positive Negative Neutral Pos-Neg
10 -80
14 -76
12 -56
 United States
15 -57
19 -53
25 -55
19 -45
19 -43
 United Kingdom
10 -34
36 -54
32 -50
38 -54
23 -19
52 -46
50 -30
29 +1
40 +16
9 +3
35 +29


The Indian state officially rejects the validity of the Two Nation Theory, the notion that Indian Muslims are a distinct 'nation' and needed an independent homeland in South Asia. On the more popular level, there have been many anti-Pakistan rallies involving the burning or desecration of Pakistani flags.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13] Indian right-wing political parties frequently use anti-Pakistan sentiments to garner votes.[14]

Both Congress-secular and Hindu nationalist historiography reject the Two Nation Theory, and thus Pakistan, for their own reasons.

Congress-secular critiques

Secular-nationalists led by Mohandas K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru wanted to make what was then British India, as well as the 562 princely states under British paramountcy, into a single secular, democratic state.[15] In an interview with Leonard Mosley, Nehru said that he and his fellow Congressmen were "tired" after the independence movement, so weren't ready to further drag on the matter for years with the Muslim League, and that, anyway, they "expected that partition would be temporary, that Pakistan would come back to us."[16] Gandhi also thought that the Partition would be undone.[17] The All India Congress Committee, in a resolution adopted on 14 June 1947, openly stated that "geography and the mountains and the seas fashioned India as she is, and no human agency can change that shape or come in the way of its final destiny... at when present passions have subsided, India’s problems will be viewed in their proper perspective and the false doctrine of two nations will be discredited and discarded by all."[18] V.P. Menon, who had an important role in the transfer of power in 1947, quotes another major Congress politician, Abul Kalam Azad, who said that "the division is only of the map of the country and not in the hearts of the people, and I am sure it is going to be a short-lived partition."[19] Acharya Kripalani, President of the Congress during the days of Partition, stated that making India "a strong, happy, democratic and socialist state" would ensure that "such an India can win back the seceding children to its lap... for the freedom we have achieved cannot be complete without the unity of India."[20] Yet another leader of the Congress, Sarojini Naidu, said that she didn't consider India's flag to be India's because "India is divided" and that "this is merely a temporary geographical separation. There is no spirit of separation in the heart of India."[21]

Giving a more general assessment, Paul Brass says that "many speakers in the Constituent Assembly expressed the belief that the unity of India would be ultimately restored."[22]

Hindu nationalist critiques

Hindu nationalists in India support the idea of Akhand Bharat, 'undivided India', and consider the partition of India an illegitimate act. Already in early June 1947 the All India Committee of the Hindu Mahasabha issued a resolution, where it stated that "[t]his Committee deeply deplores that the Indian National Congress, after having given solemn assurance to the Hindu electorates that it stood by the unity of India and would oppose the disintegration of India, has betrayed the country by agreeing to the partition of India without a referendum. The Committee declares that Hindus are not bound by this commitment of the Congress. It reiterates that India is one and indivisible and that there will never be peace unless and until the separated areas are brought back into the Indian Union and made integral parts there of."[23]

As per journalist Eric Margolis, "to Hindu nationalists, even the continued existence of Pakistan constitutes a threat to the Indian union, as well as a painful affront to their sense of national importance and a galling reminder of their hated historical enemy, the Muslim Mogul Empire."[24] The Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), a direct precedent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the current ruling party which came out of its split, during the 50s and 60s, considered "the ultimate aim of Indian foreign policy in the region to be the reassimilation of Pakistan into an undivided India ('Bharath')."[25] During the demolition of the Babri Masjid, Hindu nationalist elements who participated to its destruction were heard with the slogan "Babur ki santan, jao Pakistan ya Qabristan! (Descendants of Babur, go to Pakistan or the graveyard!)", thus considering Pakistan, as a modern-State, a continuation of what they consider to be Islamic imperialism in the region.[26]

M. S. Golwalkar, who was the leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and thus one of the most important Hindu nationalist voices, also saw Pakistan as continuing "Islamic aggression" against Hindus : "The naked fact remains that an aggressive Muslim State has been carved out of our own motherland. From the day the so-called Pakistan came into being, we in Sangh have been declaring that it is a clear case of continued Muslim aggression (...) we of the Sangh have been, in fact, hammering this historical truth for the last so many years. Some time ago, the noted world historian Prof. Arnold Toynbee, came forward to confirm it. He visited our country twice, studied our national development at close quarters, and wrote an article setting forth the correct historical perspective of Partition. Therein he has unequivocally stated that the creation of Pakistan is the first successful step of the Muslims in this 20th century to realise their twelve-hundred-year-old dream of complete subjugation of this country."[27]


The slogan "Death to Pakistan" (Pakistan Murdabad) was raised by Sikh leader Master Tara Singh in March 1947, soon after the Unionist Party cabinet of Malik Khizar Hayat Tiwana resigned in the Punjab, and immediately after it was announced that the Muslim League would take over the reins of provincial government.[28][29][30] The resignation of the Khizar Tiwana government, composed of Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs, followed the unrest caused by the call for the Direct Action Day by the Muslim League the previous year.[28][31]

According to historian Stanley Wolpert in A New History of India,[29] when the administration of Punjab was taken over by Muslim League, "Master Tara Singh, prominent Sikh political and religious leader in the first half of the 20th century, called for direct action by his khalsa against the League at this time, igniting the powder keg of repressed violence that set the Punjab ablaze with his cry of "Pakistan Murdabad" ("Death to Pakistan"). Tara Singh and his followers were demanding a Sikh nation of their own, Khalistan, and by demonstrating their willingness to die in defence of their homeland, they sought to prove the validity of their claim."[29] This slogan often was followed by religious fights and conflicts.[32][33][34]


In February 2011, the Shiv Sena stated that it would not allow Pakistan to play any 2011 Cricket World Cup matches in Mumbai.[35] Pakistan Hockey Federation also feared of sending the national hockey of Pakistan because of anti-Pakistani sentiment in India.[36] The state of Maharashtra, where Shiv Sena is prominent, has been deemed an unsafe venue for hosting visiting Pakistani teams.[37] Shiv Sena has periodically disrupted cricketing occasions involving the two countries. In 1999, it tampered the pitch at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground to stop a match between the two sides, while during the 2006 Champions Trophy it made threats against hosting Pakistan's matches in Jaipur and Mohali.[38] Post-2008, it has frequently threatened against the resumption of a bilateral Indo-Pakistani cricket series. In October 2015, Shiv Sena activists barged into the headquarters of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in Mumbai, chanting anti-Pakistan slogans and stopping a scheduled meeting between BCCI president Shashank Manohar and the Pakistan Cricket Board's Shahryar Khan and Najam Sethi.[38]


Several major Bollywood films have depicted Pakistan in a hostile manner by portraying Pakistanis and the state as a hostile enemy.[39] Other Bollywood movies, however, have been highly popular in Pakistan and India's Bollywood movie star. Although Bollywood films were banned for 40 years prior to 2008 because Indian culture was officially viewed as being "vulgar", there had been an active black market during the period and little was done to disrupt it.[40]

In 2012, Raj Thackeray and his party Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) told Indian singer Asha Bhosle not to co-judge in Sur Kshetra, a musical reality show aired on a local television channel that featured Pakistani artists alongside Indians. The MNS threatened to disrupt the shoot among other consequences if the channel went on to air the show. However, amid tight security in a hotel conference, Bhosle played down the threat, saying she only understood the language of music and did not understand politics.[41] In the past, Shiv Sena has disrupted concerts by Pakistani artists in India.[38] In October 2015, Shiv Sena activists assaulted Indian journalist Sudheendra Kulkarni and blackened his face with ink; Kulkarni was due to host a launch event for former Pakistani foreign affairs minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri's book in Mumbai.[38] The Shiv Sena have also blocked the screening or promotion of Pakistani films in Indian cinemas, or Indian films starring Pakistani actors, as well as threatening Pakistani artists in Maharashtra.[42][43][44]

According to one Indian minister, Kiren Rijiju, much of the obsession with Pakistan is limited to North India due to historical and cultural reasons.[45]

More recently following the Uri attack in 2016, due to which tensions escalated between India and Pakistan, anti-Pakistan sentiments became more pronounced; the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association voted to ban Pakistani artists from working in Bollywood.[46]