- Maria Rashid
- TIMESOFINDIA.COMUpdated: May 25, 2023, 10:29 IST
A look at how instrumentalisation of Islam went from defining the selfhood of Pakistan to being exploited by both political and military leaders alike. Why an ambivalence towards radicalism underlines its military policy
The use of religion as a tool of legitimation has a long and complicated history in Pakistan, and its roots lie in the genesis of the Pakistani state itself. Christopher Jaffrelot describes Pakistani nationalism as such that “the ideological construction of the national project precedes the formation [in sociological terms] of the nation”.
Like many scholars before him, he suggests that this nationalism has relied heavily on the instrumentalisation of Islam, allowing an elite Muslim minority to convince Muslim-majority provinces to participate in the division of what was then British India. That nation, as Salman Rushdie suggested, was not “sufficiently imagined” and was born as a result of what Younus Samad calls “a brief moment of political unity”.