Zakaria uses that moment to begin her intimate exploration of the country of her birth. Her Muslim-Indian family immigrated to Pakistan from Bombay in 1962, escaping the precarious state in which the Muslim population in India found itself following the Partition. For them, Pakistan represented enormous promise. And for some time, Zakariaâ€™s family prospered and the city prospered. But in the 1980s, Pakistanâ€™s military dictators began an Islamization campaign designed to legitimate their ruleâ€”a campaign that particularly affected womenâ€™s freedom and safety. The political became personal when her aunt Aminaâ€™s husband, Sohail, did the unthinkable and took a second wife, a humiliating and painful betrayal of kin and custom that shook the foundation of Zakariaâ€™s family but was permitted under the countryâ€™s new laws. The young Rafia grows up in the shadow of Aminaâ€™s shame and fury, while the world outside her home turns ever more chaotic and violent as the opportunities available to post-Partition immigrants are dramatically curtailed and terrorism sows its seeds in Karachi.
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