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The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience by Christophe Jaffrelot


AUTHOR: Christophe Jaffrelot

Christophe Jaffrelot holds the Avantha Chair in Indian Politics and Sociology at the King’s India Institute. He holds the position of Overseas Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in addition to teaching politics and history of South Asia at Sciences Po in Paris. He is the senior editor of the Hurst book series he started in 1999, Comparative Politics and International Studies, and he serves on the editorial boards of many publications.  He frequently speaks about Indian and Pakistani politics in France, the United Kingdom, North America, and India, where he contributes a column to The Indian Express every two weeks.

In this book “In “The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience,” Christophe Jaffrelot offers a thorough analysis of Pakistan’s distinctive path since its creation in 1947. He investigates the basic factors that contribute to the nation’s enduring instability, including ethnic and linguistic diversity, regional conflicts, and the military’s dominant role in politics. Despite these challenges, Pakistan has shown remarkable resilience, navigating political upheavals, economic difficulties, and social tensions. Jaffrelot exploration delves into the historical and sociopolitical roots of Pakistan’s centralized power structure and the military’s prominent role in its politics. The book’s central theme revolves around three main contradictions that shape Pakistan’s narrative: the ideological tension between democracy and authoritarianism, the conflict between centralization and regionalism, and the dichotomy between secular and religious forces. These contradictions are meticulously explored throughout the book, through detailed historical analysis and a keen understanding of contemporary issues, Jaffrelot offers a comprehensive look at the paradoxical nature of Pakistan, revealing how its persistent struggles are counterbalanced by a capacity for adaptation and survival.

The first chapter “Nationalism Without a Nation and Even Without a People?” explore the complexities of Pakistani nationalism, describing it as fragmented and contested. He argues that Pakistan’s nationalism is unusual because it lacks a cohesive national identity and is not based on a unified ethnic or cultural group. Initially driven by elite Urdu-speaking Muslims who imposed a unitary national identity, this centralization disregarded the country’s linguistic and ethnic diversity, leading to significant regional and ethnic tensions. The imposed nationalism struggled to gain widespread acceptance, resulting in recurrent conflicts and instability. This section provides a thorough analysis of how these factors contribute to the paradox of nationalism existing without a fully unified nation or people.  The Socio-Ethnic Origins of Indian Muslim Separatism – Jaffrelot discusses the 1857 Revolt, also known as the Indian Mutiny or the First War of Independence, as a watershed moment for the Indian subcontinent. The revolt’s failure led to severe reprisals from the British, particularly against Muslims perceived as key instigators. The suppression of the revolt had catastrophic consequences for the Muslim elite, leading to a profound sense of loss and marginalization.

 The collapse of traditional Muslim power structures forced the elite to reconsider their place in the colonial landscape, setting the stage for various responses within the Muslim community, ranging from conservative retrenchment to progressive reformism. In the aftermath of the revolt, some Muslims turned towards traditionalism to preserve their identity and religious values, marking the birth of Muslim fundamentalism in India. Shah Waliullah’s teachings inspired movements like the Deoband movement, which advocated strict adherence to Islamic law and rejected Western influences. In contrast, Syed Ahmad Khan emerged as a reformist who sought to modernize the Muslim community through education and cooperation with the British. He founded the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College in Aligarh, promoting a curriculum that combined Western scientific education with Islamic studies. His reformist vision extended to social and political spheres, emphasizing rationalism, scientific temper, and a progressive interpretation of Islam. The Aligarh Movement, initiated by Syed Ahmad Khan, evolved into a broader political movement advocating for Muslim rights and representation.

The establishment of the All-India Muslim League in 1906 marked a significant milestone, providing a counterbalance to the Indian National Congress. The League focused on securing safeguards for Muslims, such as separate electorates and reserved seats in legislative bodies. This period highlighted the transition from educational and social reform to active political participation, setting the stage for future demands for autonomy and a separate Muslim state.  As the Indian nationalist movement gained momentum, Muslim elites perceived a growing threat from the predominantly Hindu leadership of the Congress. This fear led to the emergence of a separatist movement characterized by a deep-seated fear of cultural annihilation and political marginalization. Jaffrelot introduces the concept of a “syndrome” to describe the collective psychological factors driving the separatist impulse. Key figures like Muhammad Iqbal and Muhammad Ali Jinnah articulated the aspirations and anxieties of the Muslim community, emphasizing the need for a distinct political identity and territorial autonomy.

The processes of territorialization and ethnicization were instrumental in transforming Muslim communal identity into a political force. Identifying regions with significant Muslim populations as potential sites for a future Muslim homeland provided a territorial dimension to the demand for a separate state. This territorialization helped galvanize support for the idea of Pakistan, transforming abstract communal identity into a tangible political objective. Jaffrelot critically examines the obsession with achieving political parity between Hindus and Muslims, driven by fears of majoritarianism and a desire to maintain a balance of power. This obsession led to demands for separate electorates and other safeguards, contributing to the deepening of communal divides. The historical grievances, ideological divides, and political strategies that emerged during this era laid the groundwork for the eventual partition of India and the creation of Pakistan. Jaffrelot comprehensive exploration of Pakistan’s political and social landscape emphasizes the intricate balance between its vulnerabilities and its enduring resilience, providing valuable insights into the paradoxical nature of its statehood.

 In second chapter “An Elite in Search of State and a Nation (1906-1947)” Christopher claims that the journey towards the establishment of Pakistan in 1947 was complex and marked by various ideological and political hurdles faced by institutions like the Aligarh School and the Muslim League. The Muslim League initially gained prominence through collaborations like the 1916 Lucknow Pact but faced challenges from pan-Islamic sentiments during the Caliphate Movement. This movement, supported by the ulema, clashed with the League’s nationalist objectives. Additionally, regional identities based on ethnicity and language undermined the League’s efforts.

Pan-Islamism, emphasizing loyalty to the caliph, gained momentum in the late 19th century, impacting Indian Muslims’ support for the Ottoman Empire. The ulema, traditional religious scholars, prioritized preserving Islamic traditions despite British colonization. The Caliphate Movement, led by both traditional scholars and activists opposing the Aligarh school’s pro-British stance, expanded Muslim politics in India. Despite initial cooperation with Gandhi’s Congress, conflicts arose, leading to the movement’s abrupt end in the early 1920s.

This period witnessed the emergence of “Muslim Nationalists,” supporting Indian unity while advocating for religious autonomy. These developments posed challenges for the Muslim League, which also grappled with regionalism among Indian Muslims. Ultimately, these complexities shaped the path towards Pakistan’s establishment in 1947.The journey towards the establishment of Pakistan was marked by a complex interplay of nationalistic and pan-Islamic sentiments, regional identities, and evolving political strategies. The Muslim League initially faced challenges in unifying Muslims across different regions, particularly in majority-Muslim provinces like Punjab, Bengal, and the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), where regional concerns often overshadowed the League’s broader agenda. Despite efforts by leaders like Mohamed Ali Jinnah to secure support, it wasn’t until just before the creation of Pakistan that the League managed to gain significant traction, albeit under misunderstood circumstances.

Jinnah’s political trajectory reflected a shift from a commitment to Indian national unity, as seen in his involvement in the Lucknow Pact of 1916, to a focus on protecting Muslim interests against perceived Hindu dominance. Ideological clashes with the Indian National Congress intensified in the late 1920s and 1930s, particularly regarding demands for Muslim representation and parity. The Nehru Report of 1928 and subsequent Round Table Conferences failed to reconcile differences, prompting Jinnah to briefly retreat from politics before returning in 1935 with a desire for the Congress to recognize the Muslim League as an equal partner in governance.

However, the Congress’s rejection of coalition governments and insistence on “one man, one vote” further strengthened the Muslim League’s position among Muslims, setting the stage for communal divisions leading up to partition. Despite the League’s efforts, gaining support in majority provinces like Punjab, Bengal, and the NWFP proved challenging due to competing political interests and movements, such as the National Union Party in Punjab and the Krishak Proja Party in Bengal, which aimed to bridge religious divides and represent diverse socio-economic groups.

In the NWFP, Pashtun nationalism led by Abdul Ghaffar Khan, along with alliances with the Congress, marginalized the League. Despite some success in the United Provinces, the Congress’s dominance, and refusal to ally with the League highlighted the challenges faced by minority Muslims in majority provinces. Overall, these factors contributed to the complex and fragmented political landscape that ultimately culminated in the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s political evolution and the complexities surrounding the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan. Initially advocating for Muslim autonomy within a united India, Jinnah shifted towards demanding a separate Muslim state due to Congress’s rejection of his demands and the perceived Hindu dominance. He mobilized Muslim support by portraying Congress as a “Hindu body” and asserting Muslims as a separate nation deserving of political sovereignty.

Events such as the Simla Conference, the 1945-46 elections, and Direct Action Day are discussed, underscoring pivotal moments in the lead-up to partition. The chapter also delves into internal divisions within the League, with regional leaders like Shaheed Hussain Suhrawardy emerging as influential figures challenging Jinnah’s leadership. He highlights the intricate process leading to partition and the ensuing violence, revealing the tensions between unity and fragmentation within the Muslim League’s struggle for Pakistan.

The tension between the federal and unitary systems of governance is discussed in the third chapter “Islamic state or a collection of ethnic groups? From one partition to next”. Fearing Indian intervention and threats after independence, the governor general and constituent assembly denounced provincialism, a step that would continue to influence Pakistan’s relations and policies in the years that followed. This was made clear by the 1946 Muslim Legislators’ Convention, which modified the Lahore resolution in favor of a centralized state. This gave rise to two factions: the first consisted of national leaders who desired the creation of a unified state based on Islam and Urdu. Other focuses on provincial leaders who upheld provincialism to preserve their ethnic and linguistic identity. The result was a centralized state ruled by Punjabis and muhajirs, despite the constituent assembly’s best efforts to resolve these disputes. The unresolved conflict helped Bangladesh become independent in 1971.

He contends that Pakistani officials believed India would not allow their nation to survive, rendering them more susceptible to Indian influence. Because India refuses to share its resources, including military hardware, this vulnerability is particularly acute in the armed forces. This was further aggravated by India’s 1948 cessation of water supplies to West Punjab and 1949 suspension of coal exports. Provincial leaders who disagreed with the policies of the central government were dismissed as a result of Jinnah’s insistence on a unitary state, which was reinforced by an interim constitution that granted the federal government considerable influence over the provinces. As a legacy of the “minority Muslims” who formed Pakistan and sought to establish their hold on power after Partition, Liaquat Ali Khan relied on these policies after Jinnah’s death.

The next thing that Jefferelot examines is the pivotal roles of the Muhajirs and Punjabis in Pakistan’s early state formation. The Muhajirs, or migrants from various parts of India, were instrumental in creating Pakistan and initially dominated its political and economic landscape. Settling mainly in urban centres like Karachi, they leveraged their intellectual and trading backgrounds to control the Muslim League and the nascent state’s administration. He states that their presence transformed cities, particularly Karachi, where they replaced departing Hindus in various professional roles, cementing their influence in the new country.

On the other hand, the Punjabis, who were initially ambivalent about the idea of Pakistan, eventually asserted their dominance due to their demographic strength, agricultural prosperity, and overwhelming representation in the military. British colonial policies had favoured Punjabis, identifying them as a “martial race” and heavily recruiting them into the army, which continued post-Partition. The Punjabis’ economic influence was further bolstered by the British-initiated irrigation projects, which made Punjab a crucial agricultural hub. This relative prosperity laid the groundwork for the “green revolution” in the 1960s, further enhancing their economic dominance.

Jaffrelot details the socio-economic and cultural differences between the predominantly urban, liberal Muhajirs and the rural, conservative Punjabis. These differences led to tensions and a gradual shift in power dynamics, particularly after the assassination of Muhajir leader Liaquat Ali Khan in 1951. The rise of Punjabi leaders like Chaudhri Muhammad Ali and Iskander Mirza marked the transition of power from the Muhajirs to the Punjabis. This shift influenced Pakistan’s delayed constitutional development and ongoing struggles with national unity and governance, as the country’s ethnic groups grappled with divergent visions for its political structure.

During the 1950s and early 1960s in Pakistan, there were significant struggles over the distribution of power between the central government and the provinces. The One-Unit Scheme, introduced in the 1956 Constitution, aimed to merge provinces in West Pakistan into one large entity to balance power with East Pakistan. However, this move led to discontent, particularly among Bengalis, who felt marginalized and saw their autonomy diminished. The promises of decentralization outlined in the constitution weren’t fully realized, as power remained concentrated in the hands of the President, limiting the influence of provincial governments. When Ayub Khan seized power in 1958, he further centralized authority, marginalizing voices advocating for regional autonomy. The subsequent 1962 Constitution failed to address these grievances, maintaining the dominance of powerful provinces, and leaving others feeling excluded from the decision-making process. Overall, this period witnessed a trend towards increasing centralization of power, disenfranchising many and exacerbating tensions between different regions within Pakistan.

Mujibur Rahman started his political career in the Muslim League under Suhrawardy, and he later joined the Awami Muslim League and became its main leader after Suhrawardy’s death in 1963. Bangladeshis were underrepresented in civil services and the military; most administrative and military positions were held by West Pakistanis. Economically, East Pakistan earned more revenue from exports, but these profits were financed by the West Pakistani economy, leading to regional conflicts. In 1966, the Awami League proposed a six-point program demanding significant autonomy for East Pakistan, including a true federation with parliamentary democracy, state control over all matters except defense and foreign affairs, a separate currency or fiscal protection, state-controlled taxation, independence of the currency reserve, and trade and regional paramilitary forces. Ayub Khan’s government responded by suppressing these demands, arresting Mujibur Rahman and other party members and accusing Rahman of accepting Indian weapons, leading to the Agartala Conspiracy Case in 1968. Lacking evidence, the trial failed, increasing Rahman’s popularity and further radicalizing Bengalis movement for self-determination. This reaction set the pattern for future regional discontent and demands for autonomy in other Pakistani provinces.

Ayub Khan attempted constitutional reforms towards federalism through the Round Table Conference in February 1969, but failed, partly due to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s boycott. Subsequently, Ayub resigned and was replaced by Yahya Khan, who imposed martial law and promised elections with a federal constitution. Yahya abolished the One-Unit Scheme and set up a de facto federal regime, giving East Pakistan a proportional majority in the assembly. In the December 1970 elections, Mujibur Rahman’s Awami League won in East Pakistan, while Bhutto’s PPP dominated Sindh and Punjab. Bhutto refused to let the Bengalis rule, arguing that she was more important than the numerical majority, thus echoing earlier strategies of maintaining power by West Pakistani elites. This deepened the political divide and set the stage for further conflict. Rahman proposed sticking to his post to the end, except Bhutto and the central government opposed this. The situation worsened further, culminating in the Pakistani army’s brutality against Bangladeshi intellectuals and civilians in the March 25, 1971, Inquiry. He also participated in supporting the Mukti Bahini guerrillas in Bangladesh. After a short war in December 1971, Pakistan was forced to surrender, and Bangladesh was formed. The conflict caused massive casualties, with an estimated 300,000 to 3 million deaths.

 The authoritarianism of the central government and its failure to meet the demands of the Bengalis for self-government harmed the people of Bengal and led to the formation of the idea of unity in the Lahore Resolution. The defeat also weakened Pakistan’s position and revealed the limits of using Islam as a unifying force in a multi-ethnic, multi-ethnic society. The attack continued in other provinces such as the Northwest Frontier Province and Baluchistan. In contrast, many Sindhis aligned themselves with the idea of Pakistan, mainly due to the political influence of Bhutto’s PPP, but this also applies to the Muhajirs. The birth of Bangladesh was thus an important moment that not only changed Pakistan’s borders but also challenged its principles, illustrating the contradiction between regional independence and central control.

In fourth chapter “Five Ethnic Groups for One Nation: Between support and Alienation” the author explores diverse and tumultuous interplay of ethnic politics that underscores the complex and fragmented nature of national integration in Pakistan. While Sindhis, like the Punjabis before, rallied around the Pakistan project with the hope of governing through the PPP, other ethnic groups did not follow a linear path. Pashtun nationalism fluctuated, but the rise of Islamism in the 1980s significantly changed the political landscape in the NWFP. The Baloch’s, when not co-opted by the central government, often engaged in conflict due to exploitation reminiscent of East Bengal’s situation in the 1960s. Muhajirs oscillated between violent opposition and collaboration with mainstream parties or military regimes, but their prevailing sense of alienation persisted. Christophe Jaffrelot begins chapter by arguing that post-1971, not only, there was abolition of one unit scheme which resulted in formation of four provinces- Punjab, Sindh, the NWFP and Baluchistan- but democratization process under Z.A. Bhutto PPP appeared to be more tolerant to decentralization than its predecessors.

However, the constitution of 1973 was ideally more favorable to federalism than the practices of ZA. Bhutto’s government. His tacit pact with Punjabis, enabling Pakistani’s two main communities (Sindhis and Punjabis) to dominate the system and his authoritarian methods were at cross-purpose with federalism and parliamentarian spirit of the constitution. In subtopic “Pakistanisation of Sindh” author argues that it was because of Z.A Bhutto rise to Power the sense of victimization and separatism among Sindhis faded, and they rallied around Pakistan project as they started believing they could govern Pakistan through PPP. With the assassination of Bhutto by the Punjabi General Zia Ul Haque, the Sindhi separatism revived. After Benazir Bhutto became PM in 1988, they again rallied around Pakistan project. This defiance and Identification with Pakistan project depending upon ethnicity of Pakistan’s leader, the author argues, is the sign of weakness of the state institutions. Under ‘The Making of Baloch Nationalism’ Christophe Jaffrelot provides a detailed account of the evolution of Baloch nationalism post-1947, starting with the resistance of the Khan of Kalat to join Pakistan, which culminated in a coerced accession agreement in 1948 under military pressure. Despite nominal autonomy, the agreement was largely ignored, prompting Prince Abdul Karim to gather for an autonomous Baloch state inspired by the Lahore Resolution of 1940. Although co-optation by the Pakistani government was common, Karim’s People’s Party continued to advocate for Baloch nationalism, deeply rooted in ethnic identity and historical traditions.

He mentioned that the movement faced divisions due to linguistic and tribal divisions among the Baloch and Brahui groups, with prominent militant tribes being the Marris, Bugti’s, and Mengals. Opposition to Pakistani state policies, including underrepresentation and the One Unit Scheme, fueled the Baloch People’s Liberation Front (BPLF), which gained tribal support especially after Ayub Khan’s violent crackdowns in the late 1950s. Although weakened by tribal divisions, the movement gained momentum with the involvement of a nascent middle class influenced by Maoism and Marxism. The significant 1960s uprising led by Sher Muhammad Marri was crushed, but the more intense and prolonged fourth insurrection from 1973 to 1977 saw a coalition led by the National Awami Party (NAP) pushing for local control, only to be met with severe military repression supported by Iran. This period intensified separatist sentiments, initially focused on regional autonomy. Jaffrelot continues to explore the aspects of Baloch nationalism through the 1980s and beyond, noting how General Zia’s regime employed repression and economic incentives to manage discontent, with some leaders advocating from exile.

Jaffrelot not only noticed 1980`s decline in extremism and collaboration with the central government but also sightsees the Baloch diaspora which supported a revival in the 2000`s prompted by the grievances over natural gas revenues and the development of Gwadar port. Moreover, he explains that the return of democracy in 1988 saw the Baloch leaders compromising with Islamabad amid persistent factionalism and renewed agitation. Christophe Jaffrelot details on Baloch nationalism views how the 2000`s saw a revival of nationalist sentiments, fueled by economic grievances over natural gas revenues and the development of Gwadar port, coupled with General Musharraf’s centralizing policies and electoral manipulations. The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and the Baloch Republican Army (BRA) intensified their insurgency, particularly after Akbar Bugti’s death in 2006, which became a rallying point for Baloch resistance. Despite attempts at reconciliation by the PPP government Christophe Jaffrelot discussed that post-2008 proposed reforms, development measures, military’s continued harsh tactics and the rise of groups like the BLA and BRA perpetuated the conflict. The demographic and political shifts, including the growing influence of Pashtuns and Hazaras, further complicated Baloch nationalism.

Furthermore, Jaffrelot pointed out that while moderate leaders like Abdul Malik Baloch have sought to ease tensions, ongoing abuses and the central government’s rigid policies continue to fuel the Baloch struggle. Additionally, he drew an attention towards the international dimension, with links to Baloch separatism in Iran, and that the transfer of Gwadar Port to Chinese control have heightened Baloch fears and contributed to the radicalization of the movement towards violent separatism. Under “The Pashtuns, from Pashtunistan to Pakhtunkhwa” the author has discussed the political journey of Pashtuns from demanding Independent Pakhtunistan to integrating within the country’s mainstream politics. Based on Pashtun nationalism, Abdul Ghaffar Khan and his followers opposed to join Pakistan in 1947. When referendum was organized in NWFP, the inhabitants of NWFP had the choice to join either Pakistan or India. The option of an independent Pashtunistan was not given. Even though Abdul Ghaffar Khan’s Red Shirt boycotted the referendum, the referendum was held in NWFP, and the majority voted in the favor of joining Pakistan and thus he accepted their decision to join Pakistan. But Abdul Ghaffar Khan wanted to create a party in alliance with those who opposed the creation of Pakistan, and this was one of the reasons that he was repeatedly sent to jail. His son, Abdul Wali Khan, joined the National Awami Party.

However, in the mid-1960s, some conflicts emerged in the party which became a cause of split in the party. The author further narrates that in the 1970s, Pashtun Nationalism was revived with the support of Afghan President Muhammad Daoud, who advocated for an independent Pashtunistan, and centralizing policies further fueled this nationalism. However, the influx of Afghan refugees and the negative economic impacts of the Soviet-Afghan war shifted the focus from separatism to economic concerns. Wali Khan, continuing to represent Pashtuns, formed the Awami National Party (ANP) in 1986, and in the 1988 elections, ANP formed alliances with parties like PPP, though it faced external threats and internal divisions. The coalition of ANP and PML(N) broke apart due to conflicting views on issues such as the Kalabagh Dam and renaming NWFP “Pakhtunkhwa.”

By that time, NWFP had integrated into mainstream politics, moving away from separatism. In 2009, the ANP government in Peshawar achieved a symbolic victory when the Pakistani parliament amended Article 1 of the constitution, changing NWFP’s name to “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.” Yet, the second Afghan war reinforced socio-political impacts, and terrorist attacks, occurring not only in Pashtun areas but also in parts of Karachi, weakened ANP’s position in the National Assembly, resulting in the party winning only one seat during the 2013 elections. Under “Muhajir Militancy—and Its Limitations” author has discussed the evolving picture of Muhajir militancy in Pakistan – a concept that has roots entrenched in historical, sociopolitical, and ethnic states. After being associated with the Muslim League, the Muhajirs joined Islamic parties such as Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Jamaat-ulama-e-Pakistan (JUP) because of the fading Muslim league. The decadal transformation under Bhutto in his pro-Sindhi policies greatly inspired the emergence of Muhajir identity from a national assault weapon to an ethnic group. This identity reinvention, although devoid of the distinctive ethnic characteristics, emerged because people spoke a common language, shared various cultural references, and, as a result, felt superior to others because of their historical and cultural legacy.

Formation of Muhajir Quami Mahaz (MQM) led by Altaf Hussain in 1980s, their resort to violent methods and political strategies reaffirmed Muhajir identity and its assertiveness against Sindhis and Pashtuns. A critical evaluation shows that the Muhajir Movement has failures and paradoxes. On the positive side, it established a significant ethno-political binding and nationalist narrative, but at the same time promoted the culture of intolerance and violence. The MQM’s ability, and willingness, to switch from political integration to armed activities shows that it is striving to have both a political and a military presence. Despite their calls for the Cuban people’s ethnic and moral superiority, the movement relied on brute force and affiliate with criminals that drove away supporters and solidified the opposition. Moreover, their demographic concerns and hostile attitude toward the Pashtuns and Sindhis indicate a more profound social problem involving assimilation and inclusion within the larger Pakistani society. Their political achievements notwithstanding, the MQM has continued to nurture and maintain ethnic rivalry and insecurity, particularly in Karachi, hampering the unity and economic prosperity of the country. This duality presents a dynamic reality of ethnic identity, political authority, and social accommodation in modern Pakistan.

Under “National Integration through Federalism and Regionalization of Politics?’’ author advances the argument that the even though the issue of national integration in Pakistan is far from settled, particularly because of Baloch nationalism and muhajir violence, yet has not blown out of proportion. Several factors suggest a more nuanced view. Firstly, Punjab’s internal divisions prevent it from exercising absolute hegemony, thereby limiting centrifugal forces. Secondly, the state’s decentralization policies, initiated with the democratization phase in 2008, aim to restore provincial prerogatives. Thirdly, provinces are becoming more multi-ethnic due to migratory flows, though this has not reduced the trend towards the regionalization of politics, as seen in the 2013 election results. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, passed in 2010, further decentralized power, enhancing provincial autonomy and addressing some long-standing regional grievances. This ongoing process of decentralization and the increasing multi-ethnicity within provinces indicate a potential for reducing ethnic tensions and fostering national integration. However, the persistence of regional political affiliations and ethnolinguistic movements suggests that the path to a fully integrated nation remains challenging. Author argues that it appears that the “minority Muslims,” descendants of a ruling elite, skillfully leveraged Islam to persuade the “majority Muslims” to carve out a state for them to govern.

Pakistan, thus, did not emerge from a prolonged, inclusive maturation process but rather from a brief phase of political unity seized by an elite to fulfill their ambitions. This elite could have united the various ethnic groups under the idea of Pakistan through a federal structure as initially promised, but instead, Jinnah and his successors favored a unitary, centralized state, driven by their political culture and fear of India. This decision, which elevated Urdu and served the interests of the Urdu-speaking Muhajirs, alienated the entrenched ethnic groups in the provinces. Consequently, Pakistan’s nationalism, born out of opposition to the Hindu “other,” lacked substantive societal cohesion, epitomizing a “nationalism without a nation.” This unresolved national question is intrinsic to the Pakistan syndrome, with the country’s architects and rulers persistently centralizing power, ultimately creating a state that has struggled with its diverse ethnic fabric. In nutshell, this chapter examines the complex and often contentious dynamics of ethnic politics in Pakistan. The chapter underscores how the initial vision of federalism, promised to unite diverse ethnic groups, was overshadowed by a centralizing elite driven by political and cultural fears, notably of India. This centralization marginalized various ethnic groups, leading to persistent regional and ethnic tensions. Despite some decentralization efforts, like the 18th Amendment, and increasing multi-ethnicity within provinces, regional political affiliations continue to challenge national integration. Jaffrelot illustrates that Pakistan’s nationalism, born out of opposition to the Hindu “other,” lacks deep societal cohesion, resulting in a nation still struggling with its diverse and fragmented ethnic landscape.

The fifth chapter “Impossible Democracies or Impossible Democrats?” gives a comprehensive analysis of Pakistan’s complex transition to democratic administration, beginning in the early 2000s and ending in the mid-2010s. It splits down important historical phases, from the early post-independence years hampered by centralizing leaders and colonial legacies to periods characterized by authoritarianism, separatist movements, and attempts at democratization, to more recent difficulties with democratic transitions and election procedures. Through a close examination of the complex interactions between political figures, institutional factors, and socio-ethnic dynamics, this chapter provides a critical assessment of the ongoing challenges and dynamic character of Pakistani democracy. 

The first part of the chapter looks at Pakistan’s early years of independence and the challenges it faced in establishing a democratic government. It explores the impact of colonialism, especially the centralizing inclinations of leaders such as Jinnah, and how it affected the formation of political parties. The chapter emphasizes how a number of factors, such as the preference for state formation above democratic ideals and the consolidation of power in the hands of a small number of people, conspired to obstruct the early democratic goals. This part lays the groundwork for understanding the fundamental difficulties that Pakistan faced in building a strong democratic framework in its early years.

Going ahead in time, the chapter delves into the post-Ayub Khan era, emphasizing the democratization processes, the emergence of separatist groups, and the widespread nature of authoritarian inclinations. It clarifies the complexity brought up by interethnic conflict, especially the rise of Bengali nationalism and the eventual establishment of Bangladesh. The chapter covers the difficulty of preserving national unity, the effects of ethnic division on the political scene, and the attempts at democratization made by leaders such as Yahya Khan. This section offers insights into the complex socio-political forces that molded Pakistan during this turbulent time by analyzing the interactions between democratization, separatism, and authoritarianism.

The chapter goes into further detail on the democratization process that occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s, emphasizing the importance of unelected institutions like the president and the military. It looks at how political parties and politicians dealt with problems including authoritarianism, corruption, and ineffective government. The section emphasizes how difficult it is for citizens to navigate the intricate power structures and how their influence affects the democratic process. This section provides a detailed insight of the challenges Pakistan had in consolidating democracy during this time by looking at the level of lawlessness and the challenges faced by political players in running the nation.

Moving on to the years 2007–2013, the chapter examines the obstacles and constraints faced by Pakistan during its democratic transition. It examines the balance of power between elected and non-elected organizations, especially the military, illuminating the difficulties involved in governing and making decisions. The chapter explores the complexities of the transition process, emphasizing the challenges faced by political players in claiming their rightful places and the effects of conflicting power structures on democratic government. This section provides insights into the changing character of Pakistani democracy at this crucial juncture by analyzing the subtleties of the transition without a definite transfer of authority.

The importance of the 2013 Pakistani elections and the ramifications of the handover of power between opposing political groupings are covered in this chapter. It looks into the electoral process, noting irregularities that are found and the function of organizations such as the Electoral Commission. This section explores the potential and problems posed by the 2013 elections, providing a critical assessment of Pakistan’s chances for political stability and the strengthening of democracy. This section offers important insights into the changing dynamics of Pakistani democracy by examining the election results and their implications for the future course of the nation.

The last section of the chapter looks at the political unrest of 2014, which involved important personalities including Imran Khan, Qadri, Nawaz Sharif, and the military. It highlights the difficulties of governance and decision-making by examining the power struggles and army interventions in Pakistan’s democratic system. This section explores how the crisis has affected Pakistan’s democratic governance and political stability, providing a critical assessment of the opportunities and problems the nation faces. This section offers important insights into the changing dynamics of Pakistani democracy and governance by analyzing the roles played by important players and institutions in the crisis.

The chapter concludes with a thorough examination of the difficulties and complications encountered in creating and upholding democracy in Pakistan throughout its history. The chapter offers insightful information on the dynamic character of Pakistani democracy and the challenges facing its consolidation by examining the interactions of several elements, including the colonial heritage, ethnic conflicts, authoritarian inclinations, and power relations. The chapter provides a critical viewpoint on Pakistan’s chances for democratic governance and political stability through a careful analysis of significant events and developments.

In chapter 6 “variable-geometry military dictatorship”, Christophe Jaffrelot states that the concept of “variable-geometry military dictatorship” in Pakistan refers to the military’s shifting but persistent role in governance since 1947. The Pakistani military’s dominance is rooted in a strategic culture opposing India and a disdain for civilian rule, leading to three significant coups in 1958, 1977, and 1999. These coups ushered in authoritarian regimes that suppressed freedoms, militarized administration, and controlled state resources. Despite their authoritarian nature, these military regimes were unsustainable in the long term, often transitioning towards controlled democratic governance to maintain legitimacy amidst civilian opposition. Ayub Khan’s regime (1958-1969) exemplifies this pattern, combining authoritarian rule with limited democratic processes like the Basic Democracies Order to sustain power. His regime also heavily censored the press and co-opted media through the National Press Trust.

Ayub Khan’s governance emphasized national security over democracy, significantly expanding the military’s size and budget. He pursued land reforms to weaken the traditional landed aristocracy and fostered a new class of capitalist farmers, though with mixed success. Politically, he faced resistance, most notably from Fatima Jinnah in the 1965 presidential election and Z.A. Bhutto after the 1965 war with India, which damaged his credibility and led to growing opposition. Under Ayub Khan, leftist political movements in Pakistan faced bans, arrests, and repression, prompting them to organize into unofficial trade unions and student movements. These groups later agitated against socio-economic issues affecting all, including the army. The author states that this mobilization, along with Mujibur Rehman’s demand for East Bengal’s autonomy, led to Ayub’s resignation in 1969. He handed power to Yahya Khan, who declared martial law and intensified repression.

Ayub Khan’s regime set a precedent for Pakistani military rule, mirrored by Zia-ul-Haq. Zia imposed martial law in response to Bhutto’s election rigging in 1977, initially positioning himself as a neutral arbitrator. He promised elections in 90 days but delayed them indefinitely upon discovering Bhutto’s involvement in a murder and election fraud. To consolidate power, Zia militarized the state, controlled political parties through the amended Political Parties Act of 1962, invoked Islam, repressed political opponents, censored the press, punished academics, and filled the administration with military officers. The Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD), led by Nusrat Bhutto and her daughter, gained significant support but lost momentum after the alleged hijacking of a PIA plane in 1981. Sindhi nationalism’s pursued MRD’s objectives which led Zia to make a few concessions.

General Zia-ul-Haq employed dictatorial policies to retain power amid growing resistance in Pakistan, notably from the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD). To counteract dissent, especially in Sindh, he made reformist promises and rigged elections and referendums. Zia’s “civilianization” included appointing Muhammad Khan Junejo as prime minister, who unexpectedly showed independence. Zia maintained control until his death in a 1988 plane crash, paving the way for civilian rule but leaving a strong military influence, evident in General Pervez Musharraf’s 1999 coup. Musharraf followed Zia’s strategy, keeping military spending at around 4% of GDP by removing military pensions from the budget. He institutionalized military power through the National Security Council and placed military personnel in civilian roles. The military’s economic influence grew through property ownership and business ventures, such as the Fauji Foundation. Musharraf established the National Accountability Bureau to target political corruption and introduced the Local Government Ordinance of 2000 to build support. However, his reliance on individuals like Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and the MMA coalition for constitutional changes highlighted ongoing political instability and the limitations of his reforms.

Musharraf was compelled to resign against his will, driven not by politicians but by a robust lawyers’ movement. This movement, which protested the unjust removal of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary, mobilized widespread support, and convinced the United States and possibly the army that continuing to support Musharraf was untenable. To retain power, Musharraf sought Benazir Bhutto’s aid, agreeing to her condition to relinquish his uniform. He offered the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) to facilitate her return after his re-election. However, Bhutto’s assassination derailed his plans, and an agreement between PPP and PML(N) ultimately forced his resignation.

The author concludes that Pakistan’s political history alternates between military and civilian rule. Military rulers have used democratic tools to consolidate power, while civilian rulers ally with the military to maintain their political influence, avoiding democratic discourse on power interests. This elite partnership, the author argues, prioritizes the interests of a few dominant elites over the welfare of the common masses, perpetuating military dominance in politics.

This chapter “The Judiciary, the Media, and NGOs: In Search of Opposition Forces” aims to give a detailed account of Pakistan and its social-political systems majoring the judiciary, media, and military. The writing starts with the analysis of special actions which were made throughout the government of Nawaz Sharif responding to the problem of enforced disappearances, the activity of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances and the creation of the federal task force. These initiatives are important in the era of Pakistan’s struggle for Accountability in its security agencies, showing a new judicial determination. But the continuation of enforced disappearances, despite such attempts, underlines how the problem is and how difficult it is for the judicial apparatus to effectively counter set military procedures.

This chapter also examines the role of the judiciary – and of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in particular – as the judiciary moved to challenge the military regime. Chaudhry’s attitude is only illustrative of a judiciary that is attempting to stand up to regain its pride and assert its independence. However, the chapter critically analyses how the judiciary has over the years played a counteractive role in the fragile fight for democracy, at one point acting in support of military-bureaucratic regimes. This duality sums up the position of the judiciary in Pakistan to some extent, marking its transition from being a bulwark of dissent to becoming an arm used by authoritarianism.

Additionally, the chapter discusses the Musharraf trials that sparked controversy, as the judiciary again faced the challenge of asserting its authority against political unrest. On one hand, the Anti-Terrorism Court has remained unyielding to Musharraf’s immunity narrative while on the other hand, the special court has meekly accepted Musharraf’s plea to include co-conspirators, the variability of the judiciary portrays internal contradiction and vulnerability to political pressures. This duality has brought about the reality that the judiciary in Pakistan has a very vulnerable independence that continues to be compromised by political influences and interference.

Critic analysis shows that the chapter has the advantage of elaborating on the critical role of the media as an essential force of the opposition, more importantly during the lawyers’ movement. The change of media from a controlled outlet to a significant watchdog body as evidenced by its support for the lawyers’ campaigns also underlines the factor. Nevertheless, it also presents evidence of military and political influence over the media, such as in cases of focused attacks and harassment of journalists. This duality of the media either as an advocate of freedom of speech or as the subject of forcible censorship captures the volatility of media position in Pakistan.

The chapter effectively captures the narrative of the rise of press in Pakistan and its evolution from the inception of Dawn and Nawa-e-Waqt to their woes during different governments. It showcases the ups and downs for the press—the darker days under Ayub Khan and Zia-ul-Haq’s rule and dawn under Musharraf. The continuity of journalists and press fighting for their freedoms even after switching of military and civilian governments is evident and strong.

However, the chapter could have been much more engaging if the author provided detailed socio-economic factors within the media contexts. Enhancing the context, a detailed analysis of how economic liberalization as well as private advertising has influenced media independence and operation would be useful. Moreover, chapter could also explore the effects of digital media and internet restrictions of modern Pakistan, which will encompass beyond limited print and television. While the absence or presence of civil society, investigated here, offers an important evaluation of Pakistan’s democracy. That is why civil society is rarely a dominant factor with NGOs and trade unions struggling to gain the upper hand against the military. This analysis exposes a larger problem that is weak and divided civil society in Pakistan which is unable to put up a united front against the powerful establishment.

Similarly, this chapter also describes that the Election Commission of Pakistan has been making efforts for the improvement of free and fair elections – the electoral rolls are improved and obviously, rejected the dilution candidate. Nonetheless, it also highlights drawbacks that have remained challenges for Uganda, including pre-election violence, electoral fraud, and Supreme Court’s interference with the electoral exercise. This section seeks to establish that there are still many challenges that need to be addressed so as to build a strong and liberate electoral system for democratic consolidation.

In conclusion, this chapter comprises a comprehensive and detailed analysis of Pakistan’s judiciary, media, and civil society. It does a very good job of pointing out the pros and cons of such institutions while discussing their places within the political framework of this nation. Thus, the judiciary and media have taken steps towards independence and promotion of democratic tenets; however, they have been challenged by military and political power structures. The study emphasized the importance of further research to enhance performance and functioning of these institutions to have a more democratic and just society in Pakistan.

The chapter 8, “From Jinnah secularism to Zia Islamization policy”, explains in detail Jinnah’s original vision for Pakistan, suggesting a form of secularism akin to Charles Taylor’s concept. Jinnah’s vision, as articulated in his 1947 speech, emphasized equal citizenship regardless of religion and a clear separation of personal faith from political identity. However, tensions emerged post-independence regarding the role of Islam in the state, sparking debates and compromises in subsequent constitutions. These narrative contrasts Jinnah’s vision with the views of clerics and fundamentalist groups like the Jamaat-e-Ulema and Jamaat-e-Islami, who had differing perspectives on the role of Islam in society and governance.

Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami, played a significant role in shaping Pakistan’s early years, particularly in influencing constitutional debates and the country’s religious identity. Initially, Maududi opposed guerrilla operations in Kashmir after the 1948 truce, arguing they went against Islamic principles. This stance led to accusations of sedition and repression against his party, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). However, Maududi eventually supported the creation of Pakistan, aiming to transform it into an Islamic state based on his interpretation of Sharia law. Maududi ideas, along with those of other religious leaders, influenced the Objectives Resolution and the constitutional drafting process, emphasizing Islamic principles in governance. The final 1956 Constitution of Pakistan was a compromise that did not fully satisfy radical Islamic demands, maintaining a balance between Islamic principles and secular governance. Subsequent leaders like Ayub Khan sought to modernize Islamic practices and oppose fundamentalism, ultimately leading to the banning of JI and other political parties.

The chapter also delves into the political influence of religious leaders, particularly the pirs (mystical leaders) and ulema (Quranic scholars), in Pakistan’s history. Ayub Khan’s regime, for instance, aimed to reduce the influence of these leaders, especially the pirs, who held significant sway over rural areas and peasants through the establishment of institution of awkaf. Pirs were often seen as political figures capable of influencing elections and holding office, largely due to their control over land and spiritual authority.

Ayub Khan’s efforts to modernize education and diminish the financial autonomy of religious institutions were aimed at bringing religion under state control. However, his policies did not completely suppress religious leaders, and subsequent leaders like Z.A. Bhutto and Zia-ul-Haq would manipulate Islam for political ends, leading to a complex interplay between religion and politics in Pakistan. Bhutto’s use of Islamic rhetoric and the 1974 constitutional amendment declaring Ahmadis as non-Muslims are pivotal moments in Pakistan’s political history. The passages effectively capture the strategic use of Islam for political legitimacy and mass appeal. Bhutto’s approach is portrayed as both pragmatic and populist, reflecting the intricate balance leaders must maintain.

Zia-ul-Haq’s Islamization policies, which began in earnest after he came to power in 1977, had a profound impact on Pakistan’s society and governance. Zia, known for his religious fervor and ties to fundamentalist groups like the Jamaat-e-Islami, aimed to make Pakistan a more Islamic state by implementing Sharia law and promoting conservative Islamic values. One of Zia’s first acts was to change the motto of the army to include “Jihad-fi-sabilillah,” reflecting his emphasis on holy war in the name of God. He also introduced measures to promote piety and religious practice among army personnel, making these factors a formal part of their promotion assessments.

Zia’s policies extended to the legal system, where he introduced amendments to the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) to strengthen blasphemy laws. Blaspheming the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad became punishable by life imprisonment and death, respectively, under these amendments. Education was another key area of focus for Zia’s Islamization agenda. He sought to Islamize the education system by giving diplomas from Quranic school’s equivalence to university degrees. This move aimed to bring Islamic teachings into mainstream education and promote the study of Arabic and Islamic subjects. Zia’s policies also had implications for minorities in Pakistan. The revival of separate electorates for non-Muslims and the tightening of blasphemy laws disproportionately affected minority communities, leading to increased discrimination and persecution.

The writer tries to portray Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s vision as primarily secular overlooks the deep reality of his political stance. Jinnah did advocate for a state neutral in religious matters, but he also used Islamic symbolism and rhetoric to unite Muslims under the banner of the Pakistan movement. The chapter lacks a critical examination of how Jinnah’s vision was interpreted and possibly misconstrued by different political actors’ post-independence, leading to a divergent path from his supposed secular ideals. While the chapter acknowledges the role of Islam in governance, it fails to deeply explore the diversity within Islamic thought and its varied impact on policy and society. There are different Islamic sects (e.g., Sunni, Shia, Deobandi, Barelvi) and they deeply influence Pakistan’s legal and political landscape.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s use of Islamic socialism and his constitutional amendment against Ahmadis are depicted as pragmatic political strategies. However, the analysis does not critically assess the moral and social consequences of these actions. The amendment declaring Ahmadis non-Muslims institutionalized religious discrimination and set a precedent for state-sanctioned exclusion of minorities.  The narrative on General Zia-ul-Haq’s Islamization efforts is detailed but lacks a critical stance on the broader socio-political and human rights implications. Zia’s policies, while aimed at solidifying his regime’s legitimacy, also facilitated the rise of religious extremism and sectarian violence. These policies undermined judicial integrity, restricted personal freedoms, and altered the educational landscape, fostering a generation influenced by radical ideologies.

Moreover, this chapter reflects a transparent and chronological perspective of Pakistan’s transformation from secularism to Islamization. It elaborates complex historical circumstances and ideological debates, potentially leading to a lack of nuance in understanding the issues. It also focuses on political and ideological aspects, neglecting other critical factors like economic conditions, social structures, and regional dynamics. The explanation strength lies in its conceptualization of Pakistan’s political evolution, including the country’s founding, early debates, and global influences. It also elaborates the roles of influential figures like Jinnah, Bhutto, and Zia, which is essential for understanding the political dynamics of the time. However, it could have provided a more in-depth critique of Zia’s regime, including its human rights abuses and violation of fundamental human rights, political repression, and long-term consequences.

To give a more comprehensive understanding, the author could have explored regional and global influences, such as India-Pakistan relations, Middle Eastern politics, and US-Pakistan relations, in more detail. Additionally, encompasses economic and social factors, like poverty, inequality, and education, could have helped in contextualization the appeal of Islamist ideologies and the resilience of secular forces. The chapter could have also benefited from exploring the roles of civil society organizations, student movements, and labor unions, as well as incorporating gender and minority perspectives to provide a more inclusive understanding of Pakistan’s political history and the impact of Islamization on marginalized groups.

The author in chapter 9 “Jihadism, Sectarianism and Talibanism: From Military/Mullah Cooperation to 9/11” explains the relationship between religion, politics, and international events in Pakistan to explain the rise of sectarianism and jihadism from 1969 to 1988 which caused instability in the country as well as the national unity. The author has also explained how different interpretations of Islam have impacted state policies. The author argues that there has been a great influence of Islam with its diverse interpretations ranging from protecting the identity before the partition to its religious aspects in Pakistan’s history. The debate of the character of the state either secular or Islamic caused the Islamization in the 1970s during the era of Bhutto and Zia-ul-Haq. This caused the declaration of Islam as a religion of the state as well as the exclusion of certain groups like Ahmadis. The rise of sectarian violence has its roots in Pakistan’s support for jihadism in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Pakistan joined the US to combat terrorism after 9/11 but still has ties with extremist groups causing instability. This sectarianism is often used by political parties for their interests and is causing internal divisions.

The author has used a multidisciplinary methodological approach in this chapter drawing from history, political science, and sociology to explain the emergence of ideas like Jihadism and sectarianism in the region especially in Pakistan. The author has used sources like official records and government documents as well as speeches of political leaders for this purpose. The other sources used include literature from other authors and journal articles. The qualitative methodology has been used to analyze the data. The author has critically evaluated and analyzed the historical bases and evolution of diverse religious interpretations and the relationship between religious politics and identity in Pakistan. The author has also presented an excellent analysis of the influence of religious interpretations on state policies as well as Pakistan’s strategic calculations of aligning with jihadist groups and its impact on domestic extremism.

Throughout history, the state of Pakistan has been involved with Jihadism and Sectarianism which are complex processes having their ideological influences, geopolitical ambitions, and strategic intentions. At the center of this narrative is a series of interrelated factors that have impacted the social and political landscape of Pakistan, further shaping its relations with regional and international actors. The concept of Strategic Depth is one of the main themes to view the approach of Pakistan towards Jihadism.  This concept shows Pakistan’s desire to have a like-minded government in Afghanistan which would act as a buffer state against India and others. In the 1980s the ongoing Afghan conflict enabled the Pakistani establishment to establish the Jihadist networks primarily against the Soviets.

However, this strategic alliance faces significant changes. Despite the initial partnership of the Taliban in the 1990s with Pakistan, the differences emerged because of Taliban radicalization, reluctance to take dictation from Pakistan, and other emerging issues such as Pukhtoon Nationalism and the Durand Line. This showed the limitations of Pakistan’s Afghan policy. The region’s tensions further worsened due to the Kargil War of 1999 as both nuclear states pursued a confrontational approach.

After 9/11 Pakistan’s dealings with jihadist elements marked a turning point. Because of the global war on terror Pakistan under the influence of America initiated a campaign to dismantle Al Qaeda and its affiliates. Few high-profile arrests were made but the overall approach remained selective. This selective approach was a strategic move by Pakistan to counter its enemies. Pakistan maintained a degree of support for the Taliban, Haqqani’s, and Lashkar-e-Taiba to counter the Indian influence in the region. This dual approach of targeting within Pakistan’s Jihadist landscape contributed to a complex web of alliances and conflicts.  Corresponding to the Jihadist narrative is the influence of sectarianism in Pakistan. Zia’s Islamization policy gave rise to radicalization contributing to the Shia and Sunni conflict in Pakistan leading to the domination of Sunni groups and marginalization of Shias. The internal sectarian polarization was further worsened by the external actors Iran and Saudi Arabia supporting their respective groups. Both countries contributed to sectarian escalation with Saudi Arabia supporting Sipah-e-Sahaba and Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat and Iran supporting Shia militant groups.

The intertwining of jihadism and sectarianism has had serious effects on the national coherence and stability of Pakistan. State policies and external support led to a cycle of violence and radicalization as a result of militant group proliferation. Significant challenges have been faced to governance and social harmony due to sectarian attacks, targeted killings, and mass violence. The spillover effects of jihadist activities in Indian-Administered Kashmir have been another factor that further complexes Pakistan’s regional dynamics. The link between the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and subsequent incidents like the Mumbai attacks in 2008 strained relations between India and Pakistan, and jihadist groups often served as proxies in this geopolitical rivalry.

The counterterrorism and steps against insurgency have resulted in mixed outcomes. There have been successful operations against militant leaders and groups such as Riaz Basra and Asif Ramji of LJ, but the broader challenge persists. The ongoing challenges are selective crackdowns, rebranding of banned organizations, and infiltration of Extremist ideologies into society. The link and relation between militancy, state actors, and societal factors has been another hurdle to counterterrorism. The distinction between state interests, strategic calculations, and ideological sympathies within specific segments of the establishment provides a favorable environment for extremist narratives to thrive.

The convergence of jihadism and sectarianism impacts Pakistan beyond its borders. It has shaped the Pak-India and Pak-Afghan relations. The Post 9/11 era saw a rectification of alliances and priorities, with Pakistan. Comprehensive Counterterrorism Strategies are required to address socioeconomic grievances, promote tolerance and pluralism, and enhance security. Regional Cooperation between neighboring countries can improve the situation. For this trust building and intelligence sharing are needed. Madrassa education reforms are very crucial for eradicating the roots of extremism and jihadist ideologies. Along with these reforms community engagement is important for a peaceful society and long-term stability. Rule of law and accountability of militant groups and leaders, strengthening law enforcement and judicial process is foundational in countering extremism and promoting security. In nutshell, Pakistan’s history with jihadism and sectarianism is a complex interplay of internal and external factors, geopolitical ambitions, and ideological dynamics. The formation of effective strategies requires understanding this phenomenon and safeguarding national stability.

In chapter 10 ‘Toward Civil War? The State Vs. (Some) Islamists and The Islamists Vs. The Minorities’ Christophe Jaffrelot explores the rise of Islamist movements in Pakistan from the regimes of Zia-Ul-Haq to Pervez Musharraf. These movements have become formidable political and social forces, particularly in the Pashtun regions and Punjab, due to their roles in the Afghan and Kashmir jihads. The jihadist phenomenon, which gained momentum from the anti-Soviet jihad and the Taliban’s influence, profoundly impacted Pakistani society by elevating the status of jihadists and mullahs. Jaffrelot argues that the Islamist groups have embedded themselves deeply into society, not only as religious leaders but also as providers of justice and social services, thereby challenging the traditional social order.

The proliferation of Deobandi Dini Madaris (religious schools) brought significant social changes, which saw remarkable growth in both the Pashtun areas and Punjab. This educational expansion is attributed to the support from the state during the 1980s and 1990s, which aimed to bolster legitimacy and combat Soviet influence. The Madaris played a crucial role in empowering clerics and mullahs who previously had little social or political influence. The religious leaders gained considerable authority and respect, which enabled them to supplant traditional feudal leaders and become influential figures in local communities, especially in South Punjab. This shift disrupted the existing social hierarchies and offered new avenues for social mobility, particularly for those marginalized by the traditional feudal system.

Critically, Jaffrelot discusses the state’s ambivalent relationship with Islamist groups, characterized by a mix of support and suppression. While the state initially fostered these movements to achieve strategic goals, it later faced significant challenges in controlling them. The rooted nature of these groups, combined with their military organization and social influence, made them formidable adversaries. Jaffrelot also examines the negative impact on minorities, who have faced increasing difficulties as Islamist groups have asserted their dominance. The state’s attempts to negotiate and suppress these movements have often been counterproductive, leading to further entrenchment and resistance.

From 2007 to 2010, Pakistan saw a significant escalation in Islamist militancy, marked by events such as the Lal Masjid crisis in 2007. The Red Mosque in Islamabad became a hotspot for Islamist activities, leading to a violent standoff with the government when it tried to reform Quranic schools and dismantle illegal structures. The subsequent military assault resulted in over a hundred deaths, deepening the divide between the government and Islamist groups. This incident spurred the mobilization of Islamist factions like the Terik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) in the Pashtun areas, eventually forming the Terik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) under Baitullah Mehsud. The TTP unified various militant factions to oppose the Pakistani state, leading to intensified guerrilla warfare and significant violence in regions like the Swat Valley and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

The TTP’s campaign of terror expanded beyond FATA, targeting government and military installations to deter future operations and punish the state. High-profile attacks, including the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and numerous suicide bombings, highlighted the TTP’s reach and capability. The group’s violent activities, particularly in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP, now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), alienated local Pashtun populations who initially supported the Taliban for justice but grew resentful of their oppressive regime. The Pakistani army’s response evolved under General Musharraf and General Kayani, with more decisive actions taken against militants, such as Operation Rah-e-Nijat in 2009. Despite these efforts, the army’s engagement remained cautious, influenced by fears of high casualties and retaliatory attacks, reflecting the ongoing struggle to balance combating militancy with managing internal and external pressures.

The approach of Pakistani Army to combat Islamist militants especially in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) has been complex and often controversial. The Army was initially reluctant to engage decisively in FATA due to the potential for high casualties and the threat of retaliatory suicide attacks. This caution persisted regardless of American pressure to act particularly against the Haqqani network. The Pakistani Army increasingly relied on American drone strikes to target militants to mitigate the shortcomings of ground operations. Brigadier Abu Bakr Amin Bajwa acknowledged that drone strikes were effective in scaring the Taliban and isolating them from local supporters. He also expressed a preference for Pakistan to have its own drone technology to address these threats independently.

 The Army’s official stance on drones has been ambiguous. While it could not openly support what was seen as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, there was tacit approval of the strikes. Until 2010, drone operations were coordinated between the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI. ISI used to identify the targets and strikes were carried out by the CIA. The number of drone strikes increased significantly from 2008 and peaked in 2010. The casualties from these strikes also fluctuated. The estimates of total deaths since 2004 range from 2,141 to 3,510 including both militants and civilians. The collateral damage caused by these strikes has been a major point of criticism which raise concerns about the loss of potential interlocutors for negotiations and fostering anti-American sentiments.

The election campaign of 2013 saw drone strikes become a significant Issue. Imran Khan’s party, PTI, oppose them on the grounds of sovereignty violations. In spite of the attempts to initiate peace talks with the Taliban, the continued violence and internal divisions within the Taliban hindered progress. In 2014 the Pakistani Army launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan. This operation aimed to decisively target militant strongholds which led to significant displacement of local populations but claiming substantial successes in reclaiming territory and dismantling militant networks. The operation was justified and supported by various sectors of Pakistani society, including religious authorities who declared it a jihad. Despite these efforts, the resilience of militants who crossed into Afghanistan has continued to pose challenges which suggest that the struggle against Islamist militancy in the region will persist.

The author talks about discrimination against minorities In the newly emerged state, where the question of minority representation played part. Seats were reserved for them during the rule of Ayub Khan, Bhutto and even Zia ul Haq created a separate electorate for them, which was later on abolished by Musharraf. Some efforts to improve their condition were carried out by 2008 governments but despite these, the minorities have continued to face harsh treatment in the state. The Ahmadis were a major target who faced stigmatization and court cases of severe repercussions for them. In addition, Christians have also been subjected to persecution, forced marriages of young girls and blasphemy cases, many of which have been dismissed by court due to lack of evidence. However, the author highlights that we see a trend of extra judicial killings in the name of blasphemy in Pakistan. The case of Asia Bibi and the subsequent murder of Salman Taseer by his own bodyguard represents a picture of radical mindset of citizens and the state. Hindus’ condition in Pakistan has worsened parallel to the condition of Muslims in India. Demolition of mosques and temples from each side, kidnapping of Hindu girls etc. have been a major trend which led to the renewed pattern of migration of Hindus to India during 1990s. The author ends the chapter with the brief account of manipulation of Islam for the achievement of domestic as well as international gains by the leaders and how it contributed to shape its foreign policy.

The author concludes the book by Pointing out the tension between achieving the unity within the newly established state and the strong sense of ethnic identities of these provinces. Just after the partition, the tensions over language and ethnicity arose which led to the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 and later the sense of separatist feelings among some ethnicities, especially the Baloch. The second aspect that he sheds light on is the lack of democratic culture in Pakistan partly due to the military intervention and partly because of the lack of civilian will and capabilities. The civilian-military coalition has been formed for maintaining the dominant status of elite in Pakistani politics which has led to poverty and the leftist inclination of citizens. The author talks about how politics, religion, and external influences have shaped Pakistan’s identity and policies and explains how debates over Islam’s role in Pakistan, along with economic and social inequalities, have led to internal conflicts. Additionally, he discusses how Pakistan’s relationship with the United States has affected its sovereignty and development, with aid often tied to geopolitical interests. Thus, the writer provides a detailed account of the complex interplay of factors has influenced Pakistan’s trajectory and its position in the international arena.

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There is a game of trust lying between the countries all over the world which is changing the concerns of the writers. Some writers claim that the number of nuclear weapons for a country is particularly important. A country should not trust even its neighbors and friends in this contemporary world as everyone thinks about their interests and goes to that side from which it is being benefited. So, these writers claim that the country should enhance its number of nuclear weapons or arsenals even if the state ensures the second-strike capability. Because when a country ensures the second-strike capability, the adversary will not get to war. Instead, it indulges itself in damaging the  second-strike capability and will enhance its number of nuclear weapons. Thus, it will develop an arms race between the states.

Such the case of the United States and the USSR. They followed this policy and kept on increasing the number  of nuclear weapons. It results in not going into the direct confrontation between USA and USSR but indulged in the Cold war. Cold war between them happened in the history due to their arms race. At the end they signed the arms-control treaty with each other that is suggested as the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty whose objective is to prevent the nuclear weapons and weapon technology. It involves the peaceful use of nuclear weapons and further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament.

Where, there are some writers that claim that the number of nuclear weapons has no essential role between the relations among the states. They claim that there is no need to increase the number of nuclear weapons when a state ensures its second-strike capability. It will be useless for a state then to increase its nuclear arsenals. It will not make any difference. So, when aby country ensures the second-strike capability then a state should not increase its number of nuclear arsenals as they are enough for creating deterrence for the state.

Hence, Whether the number of the nuclear weapons matter or not? This debate is complex and a multi-faced issue. While it is a subjective question, arguments can be presented on this issue of whether the number of nuclear weapons matters or not. Following are the arguments that will explore the question from a specific purpose rather than to respond to it that it implies endorsement of nuclear weapons or their proliferation.

1. Deterrence Theory: 

The possession of nuclear weapons serves as a deterrent against potential adversaries. This theory suggests that the fear of catastrophic retaliation prevents nations from starting a nuclear conflict. According to this frame of mind, the specific number of nuclear weapons owned by a state becomes less significant than the feeling of assured destruction. Even a relatively small number of nuclear weapons can effectively deter aggression. 

2. Diminishing Returns: 

Nuclear weapons hold widespread devastation capability. The incremental increase in the destructive potential becomes less significant when a country has achieved a certain level of nuclear capability. Therefore, there is no difference in having any substantial impact on deterrence or military effectiveness between owning, for instance, 100 or 1000 nuclear weapons.  

3. Survivability and Second-Strike Capability:  

For the safety and security of nuclear weapons, these are kept in secure locations, including submarines, and hardened underground facilities. This ensures the nation’s ability to retaliate even after a preemptive strike, supporting a credible second-strike capability. Therefore, owning a small number of nuclear weapons can be considered sufficient for deterrence. 

4. Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Efforts:  

Different efforts were made to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons, such as arms control treaties, focusing on reducing the overall number of nuclear weapons owned by a state. However, the threat is still the same even if the number of nuclear weapons decreases. Therefore, the emphasis should be on non-proliferation and disarmament rather than fixating on the exact number of weapons. 

5. Evolving Military Capabilities:  

A wide range of conventional and asymmetric threats participate in modern warfare. Precision-guided conventional munitions and cyber warfare capabilities that can significantly affect military operations lead to technological advancement. In this context, the relative importance of nuclear weapons diminishes as other military capabilities gain prominence. 

It is essential to consider historical evidence and scholarly research while examining whether the number of nuclear weapons matters. Here are some arguments supporting the position that the number of nuclear weapons may not matter significantly: 

  1. Cold War Era: 

During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in a massive arms race and accumulated tens of thousands of nuclear warheads against each other. However, despite the sheer quantity of weapons, the world did not see a nuclear war between these superpowers. In this view, the number of nuclear weapons alone did not decide the outcome, but rather the policies, strategies, and deterrence doctrines associated with them. 

Currently USA possesses 5244 Warheads, out of which 1770 are deployed. On the other hand, Russia possesses 5889 warheads out of which 1674 are deployed. But never seen them to be directly involved in the war.

  • Deterrence Stability: 

Scholars argue that the stable deterrence relationship does not depend on the number of nuclear weapons but rather on the credibility of a nation’s deterrent capabilities. Mutually Assured Deterrence (MAD) is the key to deterring nuclear conflict that holds the ability to inflict unacceptable damage on an adversary. This principle runs regardless of the number of nuclear weapons each side owns. 

  • Declining Numbers: 

The number of nuclear weapons in the world has greatly decreased since the peak of the Cold War. According to the Federation of American Scientists, as of 2021, there were an estimated 13,080 nuclear warheads globally, with the United States and Russia having the majority. The deterrence relationship and the overall security situation have not substantially changed despite this reduction. This suggests that the number of weapons alone does not have a decisive impact.

  • Changing Security Dynamics: 

In contemporary security scenarios, the threats facing nations have diversified and evolved beyond the traditional superpower rivalry. Issues such as terrorism, cyber warfare, and regional conflicts have gained prominence. In this context, the number of nuclear weapons becomes less significant in addressing these complex security challenges. 


After reading both writers’ under whether the number of nuclear weapons is important beyond a certain point or not, I concluded that the number of nuclear weapons matters for the states for achieving Nuclear Superiority, and an increase in the number of nuclear weapons just creates the fear for the adversaries and it is the wastage of resources up to a limit. But in my point of view, NUCLEAR DETERENCE depends upon the regional political environment or the strategic environment. Such as a state in a strategic environment where its adversary is under threat and an arms race then the number of nuclear weapons plays a significant role. In this scenario, even when you assure the second-strike capability your adversary may reach the position of a comprehensive strike, you will increase the number of nuclear weapons just because of the security dilemma that has been developed between the states. So, it’s important to emphasize that the discussion above presents one viewpoint and should not overshadow the widely held belief in the importance of disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation efforts. Nuclear weapons pose significant risks, and reducing their numbers and ultimately achieving a world free of nuclear weapons remains a crucial global aim. Moreover, military technology is advancing day by day, and side by side the threat is also increasing is causing insecurities among the states that need to be controlled or vanished and it is causing an arms race between the two enemies that is not only harmful for the two countries rather it has effect over the world. Military technology that is now most evolving at the time is the Hydrogen bomb and cyberwarfare is posing a serious threat among the states that even their data will not remain secure. It should be treated as early as possible as treating this security dilemma.

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Rethinking Pakistan as a Democracy


Pakistan’s experience as a democratic nation has been marked by complex challenges and transformative events. Although apparently, the country’s administrative structure continues to be based on democratic values, its history has been plagued by instances of military dictatorship and political instability. This article delves into the nuances of rethinking Pakistan’s democratic trajectory, examining the challenges it faces and the potential avenues for strengthening its democratic institutions. Between the democratic rhetoric and the actual political landscape of Pakistan lies a significant gap that the country has failed to overcome over the past years. The socio-politico circles which have stakes in politics do support democracy in theory. They recognize that a desirable political system must have the following qualities: the rule of law, socioeconomic justice, ruler accountability, and, most importantly, free and fair elections. Similarly, they adhere to these ideas in their manifestos and speeches, however, their daily politics do not always adhere to these ideals. These concepts are frequently refuted by political realities. Most civilian and military leaders aim to personalize power and govern politics in an authoritarian manner. They place a high value on party allegiance and frequently act in a strongly political way when using public resources and patronage. Democratic institutions and values take time to form and evolve, but following the coup in 1958, they gradually fell prey to corporate and military interests, which eventually came to dominate the nation’s political discourse and process.

Among the typologies of democracy, Pakistan’s political landscape reflects limited or façade democracy. What is also known as procedural democracy, limited democracy entails a system that incorporates all democratic paraphernalia in itself but the country in spirit is not democratic. Democracy is not cognitively internalized by the system or the actors. Likewise, Pakistan’s democratic system is marked by an established system of institutional procedures, elections, and transfer of power but the structural adjustments are decisively made to keep power in few hands. Furthermore, another typology of democracy that Pakistan’s system reflects is biased democracy. Biased democracy exhibits a system in which there are institutions, elections, and apparent democratic procedures but institutions within the state are biased and do not let democracy thrive for power politics. Biased democracy embodies democratic governance but has serious flaws when it comes to safeguarding individual rights, upholding the rule of law, ensuring a fair and competitive electoral process, and fostering a truly inclusive political environment. Elected institutions and non-elected institutions are two components of statecraft. Ideally, democracy works best when the elected component works with non-elected on the basis of cooperation and coordination or vice versa. On the contrary, in biased democracies like ours, the relationship between the two components is governed by power authority, and control. Thanks to the colonial legacy, when Pakistan was formed the two bureaucracies were the only organized and hierarchal structures like in the times of the colonial era which inevitably led them to form their hegemony over all other state institutes. Along these lines, Hamza Alvi in his book reinstates that the military was an overly developed institute since Pakistan’s inception as compared to other civilian institutes which created a power vacuum so eventually military ceased its power. Throughout the history of Pakistan, it has integrated two systems: Authoritative tradition and Viceregal tradition. The authoritative tradition is explained by the work of Ayesha Jalal. Ayesha Jalal sees the bureaucracy, specifically military dominance as a post-independence phenomenon. The military has been portrayed by her as being extremely predatory in pursuing its institutional and organizational goals. Nevertheless, she also labels civil bureaucracy and government as a rent-seeking institution, with its alliance providing financial and political benefits. Because there was no genuine political process in Pakistan, the military and civil bureaucracy formed an institutional synergy to increase their institutional power and govern the country. On the other hand, the Viceregal tradition embodies an exploitive bureaucratic tradition where those who don’t contest elections are more powerful than those who contest elections. Inheriting and internalizing these viceregal traditions from colonial times Viceregal politics evolved as Pakistan’s descent into repressive authoritarianism solidified, putting democracy in a state of cryostasis. In short, the institutions have encroached on the space of electoral democracy in Pakistan. Consequently, Institutional divergence and their predominance in Pakistan have had the most adverse consequences on democratic norms and have significantly undermined them.

Can democracy in Pakistan be Consolidated?

Though Pakistan’s fledgling democracy can be defined as Praetorian, hybrid, or limited but will it ever be able to consolidate its democracy, or will it ever be able to deepen its democratic institutionalism? As our chequered history bears witness of it, the chances of democracy being consolidated in Pakistan are very fewer. Our fragile political system didn’t take a toll at the expense of one political actor but rather the entire networking of politico actors which include politicians, feudal, military, bureaucrats, and corporate stakeholders, whose personal objectives seem to supersede the national or masses welfare which eventually brought us to the curb. On the contrary, when democracy is consolidated, civil society has the freedom of association and representation, it has the capacity to diffuse state-driven narratives. It challenges the repressive pursuit of state apparatus rather in our case civil society stands at the wounded end of repressive state apparatus. Moreover, democracy is to be internalized, the spirit of law and constitutionalism irrespective of everything cannot be apprehended no matter what. However, in Pakistan from what is apparent constitution is not the sole guarantor, but it is played at the hands of actors who consider themselves above the law. The gravest problem in Pakistani politics is that our political circle plays beyond its defined constitutional scope which inevitably leads to the plundering of public resources and freedom.

In conclusion, rethinking Pakistan as a democracy is a task that necessitates not merely dealing with democracy as an ideal but also as a necessary condition for the stability and progress of the country. Likewise, the only solution to limited democracy is more democracy and internalizing the reforms that can lead to democracy being consolidated. These may involve strengthening democratic institutions and decentralizing power. Similarly, Mohammad Waseem has precisely defined three obstacles that hinder the way to progress, those include The Centralization of power, the Militarization of authority, and the Islamization of Narrative. Nevertheless, for democracy to sustain its spirit, Pakistan will certainly need to overcome and address these pressing challenges.

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Path to inclusivity and unity in Pakistan



This article delves into the complex landscape of minority independence in Pakistan, focusing on the challenges faced by minority communities and proposing strategies for fostering inclusivity and unity.


Pakistan, a nation birthed from the crucible of history and the crucible of religious identity, has embarked on an enduring quest to embody the principles of unity and inclusivity within its diverse tapestry. Founded in 1947 as a response to the long-standing demands for a separate homeland for Muslims in the Indian subcontinent, Pakistan’s creation was a momentous event that sought to secure the rights of a minority community. The visionary leaders who stood at the helm of this endeavor, most notably Muhammad Ali Jinnah, envisioned a society where individuals from various ethnicities, languages, and religious affiliations could coexist harmoniously under the banner of a shared nation.

This commitment to equal citizenship and protection of minority rights underscored Pakistan’s aspirations to be a beacon of pluralism, standing as a testament to the ideal that unity could thrive in diversity.

Foundational Principles:

The idea of Pakistan was a revolutionary response to the socio-political circumstances of the time, marked by communal tensions and identity-based struggles. The foundation of Pakistan was not solely religious; it was a nuanced negotiation between multiple identities and aspirations. While the primary impetus was to create a safe space for Muslims, the nation’s founding fathers also envisaged a society where individuals of all faiths could participate in the nation-building process. Jinnah’s emphasis on equal rights, protection of minorities, and religious freedom formed the bedrock of this nascent nation. His commitment to equal citizenship and protection of minority rights underscored Pakistan’s aspirations to be a beacon of pluralism, standing as a testament to the ideal that unity could thrive in diversity.

However, the current state of minority’s rights and/or their ability to live with peace and freedom in this country hangs in the balance. A recent example can be found in the Jaranwala incident of 16th August where angry mobsters burnt down homes and churches whilst chanting various religiously motivated slogans.

Contemporary Challenges:

A.Discriminatory Laws and Practices:

Pakistan’s constitution guarantees equal rights to all citizens, regardless of their religious background. However, certain laws, particularly blasphemy laws, have been a source of concern for minority communities. Blasphemy laws criminalize insulting religious beliefs, but they have often been misused to target religious minorities and individuals who express dissenting views. Such cases not only violate the principles of freedom of expression but also perpetuate an environment of fear and discrimination.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), there were more than 1,500 cases of blasphemy reported between 1987 and 2017. The majority of these cases targeted religious minorities, particularly Christians and Ahmadi Muslims.

B.Socioeconomic Disparities:

Socioeconomic inequalities disproportionately affect minority groups in Pakistan. Access to quality education, gainful employment, and healthcare services is often hindered, limiting their potential to contribute fully to the nation’s progress. These disparities are not only a violation of fundamental rights but also impede the nation’s overall development. Minority communities often face barriers in accessing employment opportunities due to prejudices and biases; for instance, advertised positions for sanitary workers in newspapers more often than not require people belonging to one minority group only.

C.Political Underrepresentation:

Effective representation in the political sphere is crucial for ensuring that minority voices are heard and their concerns are addressed. Inadequate political representation undermines the diversity that Pakistan’s founders intended to preserve within the nation’s decision-making processes. Despite being a significant portion of the population, religious minorities are often underrepresented in elected bodies.

How can the aforementioned gaps be bridged, we often tend to ask ourselves; however, what ought to be realized here is the idea that while policies may exist on paper, they need to materialize in person. Their implementation and functionality is the main problem. To begin with, we ought to:

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of blasphemy laws to prevent their misuse and ensure that they are in line with international human rights standards.
  • Establish mechanisms to safeguard individuals from false accusations and providing legal support to those facing unjust charges.
  • Create awareness campaigns to promote interfaith tolerance and respect, countering extremist narratives.
  • Implement affirmative action policies that promote equal access to education and employment opportunities for minority groups.
  • Establish scholarship programs targeting minority students to encourage higher education enrollment.
  • Improve healthcare facilities in minority-majority areas to ensure equal access to medical services.
  • Introduce reserved seats for minority candidates in legislative bodies, ensuring their direct participation in policy formulation.
  • Encourage political parties to include minority candidates in their electoral processes.
  • Promote civic education that emphasizes the importance of diversity in governance.

The aforementioned can further be categorized.

Rethinking Independence: Strategies for Inclusivity and Unity:

A. Educational Reforms: Education plays a pivotal role in reshaping attitudes and perceptions. Integrating diverse perspectives into the curriculum fosters empathy and understanding, laying the foundation for a more inclusive society.

B. Interfaith Dialogue: Encouraging open dialogues between different religious communities dismantles stereotypes and fosters mutual respect. Interfaith initiatives can contribute to building bridges and fostering a culture of tolerance.

C. Economic Empowerment: Economic disparities often perpetuate social inequalities. Targeted policies, such as affirmative action programs and vocational training, can empower minority individuals to contribute actively to economic growth.

D. Legal Reforms: Amending or repealing discriminatory laws is vital for protecting the rights of minorities. Additionally, implementing stricter measures against hate crimes and ensuring swift justice for victims sends a strong message against intolerance.


Reimagining minority independence in Pakistan demands a concerted effort to challenge existing norms and promote inclusivity. By acknowledging historical contexts, addressing contemporary challenges, and adopting transformative strategies, Pakistan can forge a path towards a more harmonious and united nation. This article advocates for a society where diversity is celebrated, and every citizen’s rights are upheld, aligning with the vision of the nation’s founding fathers.

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What Makes the Haqqani Network so Dangerous in Afghanistan?


The Haqqani network with its lethal fighting force played a decisive role in winning back Afghanistan from the U.S.-led coalition forces. Political analysts vary on the nature of the Haqqani network. Some portray it as a hardline group within the larger structure of the Taliban. Others label it as a separate entity holding a very loose connection with the mainstream Taliban leadership.

It is actually older than in the Taliban. The 1973 coup of the Daoud Khan was the first instance when the name of Jalaludin Haqqani was heard in Afghanistan politics. During the course of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Haqqani network gained the reputation of fierce fighting force.

Jalaludin joined the Taliban in 1995 after initial hesitation while maintaining its separate identity. The Taliban appointed Jalaludin the ‘Minister of Borders and Tribal Affairs’ in its first government. The Haqqani network was reportedly involved in daring assaults at the Indian embassy, CIA outpost in Khost, Kabul intercontinental hotel and many more. In consequence, the U.S State Department designated the Haqqani network a terrorist group. Later in 2015, Siraj Haqqani, Jalaludin’s son, was elevated as a deputy emir of the Taliban under Mullah Mansour.

The new Taliban government announced on 15 August 2021, the Haqqani network’s Siraj and Khalil Haqqani were made in charge of the Interior and Refugees ministry respectively. Siraj was also given the right to nominate governors for several Eastern Afghan provinces.

How the Haqqani Network is Different from the Taliban?

To the outside world, the Haqqani network and the Taliban appear increasingly blended. The Haqqani network is generally heralded as an ” autonomous but integral part” of the Taliban. They are both Pashtun, part of the same ethnic group. However, they are located in different geographical regions of Afghanistan. The majority of Taliban leadership hail from the greater Kandahar region in southern Afghanistan. The Haqqani’s Zadran tribe lies to the more mountainous northeast.

The Haqqanis have always been resistant to central authority, even under the Taliban. Therefore, the leaders of both groups were reportedly involved in a power sharing struggle. The Haqqani Network, with its “track record of supporting overseas jihad,” is even more ideologically and operationally aligned with global jihadist groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Afghanistan (ISKP) than the Taliban is. Unlike Taliban’s local approach, Siraj published a violent manifesto advocating for global jihad outside Afghanistan’s borders. Recently a report concludes that Al Qaeda operates the majority of its military training camps in Haqqani’s controlled areas.

There appear multiple instances when the leadership of the Haqqani network differed from the Taliban. For example, speaking after the appointment, Sirajuddin Haqqani criticized the monopolization of the government by people from religious seminaries and urged the Emirate to involve everyone in the government. He also criticized the Taliban leadership over the issue of women’s education.

What Makes the Haqqani Network so Dangerous?

Within the power structure of the Taliban, the Haqqani network is distinguished due to many factors: first, the Haqqani network is well connected with the Arab governments particularly UAE. The UAE recently invited Saraj Haqqani for a discussion on Afghanistan peace. UAE has had long-standing ties to the Haqqanis that date back to the 1980s. Even Saraj is the son of an Arab lady from the UAE.

Second, the relationship of the Haqqani Network with Pakistan is deeper, older and more serious than the Taliban’s. Mike Mullen once described the Haqqani network as a ‘veritable arm’ of Pakistan intelligence. Recently it was reported that Pakistan backed Haqqanis over bradar in power struggle. Despite Islamabad’s growing concerns with Siraj’s inability to constrain TTP from targeting Pakistan, Siraj remains Pakistan’s principal Afghan asset.

Third, the Haqqani network has become more emboldened and has links to foreign fighters. In addition, it controls more than half of eastern Afghanistan. Under Siraj, the Haqqani Network sent several hundred fighters to the Middle East to support the Islamic State’s efforts in Iraq and Syria. The Haqqani network has also close links with the non-Pashtun Taliban in northern Afghanistan. Theoretically, it is also close to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Khoras.  In a stunning display of hubris, Siraj allowed al-Qaida’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to live in a central Kabul safehouse – where a U.S. drone strike killed him.

Fourth, there seems no indication of the Taliban ditching or sidelining the Haqqani Network. They have had a very close relationship for a very long time. Raffaello Pentucci adds that the Haqqani Network enjoys an almost ‘mythic status’ among the Taliban thanks in large part to the exploits of the group’s founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani.

Fifth, the Haqqani network, with its battlefield experience and fearful reputation, constitutes a powerful entity within the Taliban that has the potential to exert a significant influence on the near-future developments in the country. The Haqqani’s are now in charge of the Afghan police, intelligence agencies and other security services. These appointments are indicative of a logic within the Taliban, in which the Haqqani network is a guarantor for security.

both the Taliban and the Haqqani network have far-reaching overlaps in their basic ideological convictions. Moreover, the Haqqanis have been part of both Taliban-led governments. They also never tried to deviate from the main Taliban leadership. Despite the increasing coordination between the two groups, the Haqqani network operates as semi-autonomous under the Taliban with growing assertiveness.

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The Caste System Among Muslims in South Asia

The phenomenon of caste among Muslims in India and Pakistan presents a complex intersection of religion and social stratification shaped significantly by historical contexts and cultural influences. Although the egalitarian principles of Islam challenge the concept of caste, the realities of South Asian society have led to the persistence of caste-like structures within Muslim communities.

There exists a dual perspective among Muslims regarding caste. Some acknowledge its presence and suggest alternative labels such as biradari or zaat, highlighting ethnic affiliations rather than caste. Others staunchly deny the existence of caste among Muslims, arguing that Islam’s egalitarian ethos precludes such divisions.

While Islam theoretically does not endorse caste distinctions, the reality in South Asia indicates otherwise. The biradari system (clan-based affiliations that govern social interactions) reflects similar principles to the Hindu caste system, including endogamy, recruitment by birth, hierarchy of status, and occupational specialization. Despite using different terms, this social organization system functions similarly to caste systems, reinforcing social divisions.

The origins of caste among South Asian Muslims can be traced to the historical recruitment of many converts from the Hindu population. Despite accepting Islam, many converts, especially from lower Hindu classes were unable to get rid of their caste, resulting in the emergence of distinct social categories such as dalit-Muslims. Moreover, when Islam came, caste was already in the air. This interaction between Islam and the Indian civilization led to the emergence of distinctive Muslim classes of Ashraf (noble class) and non-Ashraf (commoners).

The Ashraf considered the noble class, trace their lineage to Arab immigrants and include subgroups like sayyids (claiming descent from the Prophet Muhammad), Shaykhs (Typically descendants of Arab or Persian immigrants), Pashtuns (from the Pashto-speaking tribes), and Mughals (of Turkish descent, known from Mughal Empire).

Conversely, non-Ashraf Muslims can be further divided into three tiers based on their Hindu caste backgrounds, reflecting a hierarchy that mirrors the Hindu caste system. The Ajlafs ( the ‘commoners’), were converts from Hindu low castes, and the Arzals (the ‘despicable’), were said to be Dalit converts. In short, Ashrafs are the Brahmin equivalent, Ajlafs are the Vaisya and Shudras, and Arzals are the Atishudras or Dalit equivalents of Islam. This reflects a hierarchy that mirrors the Hindu caste system. Thus, it would be apt to say that while Islam may not have castes or caste-like groupings, the Indian Muslims do have.

Often it is argued that muslim zaat and the concept of caste cannot be treated similarly. Pervaiz Nazir (1993) analyzed the stratification and social status symbols that existed in Punjab. Within localities, people were divided into 3 main groups. Populations are categorized into Zamindars (Landowning cultivators) and the Kamins which included the Artisan/service castes, and landless agricultural laborers/tenants. These groups can also be classified as Ashraf, Ajlaf, or Arzal, with the landless laborers typically forming the majority. Power, izzat, and prestige were associated with the landowning class and the kamins which comprised various groups depending on their nature of job were dependent on the zamindars. There was unequal sharing of purchasing power and it was dependent on hereditary status. The landowners like Brahmins occupied the highest status ranking. The Punjabi term that was employed to designate these clusters of roles and the ranking position associated with them was zat, and the system mentioned above can be seen as a caste system. Moreover, the Hindu notion of pollution though is absent in Muslims, however hierarchical ordering and mutual separation of zats were expressed in terms of different notions, notably those of honor, power, and prestige.

The caste system in India has transitioned from a religious practice to a cultural one. If someone converts to another religion without a caste system, their original caste identity persists due to cultural perceptions. While the formal caste system may have been abolished, informal caste-related issues persist due to cultural attitudes and social norms. The example of a Dalit woman moving to a Scandinavian country illustrates how being away from her native culture allows her to escape the constraints of the caste system. Therefore, to sum it all up, the issue mainly lies more with cultural practices and societal attitudes rather than religious aspects of Hinduism itself.

Modern influences, including British colonial policies e.g redefinition of ownership and property rights and the emergence of a capitalistic economy, have gradually influenced the traditional caste systems within Muslim communities. Muslim Legal reforms in rural areas, changes in property rights, and increased economic opportunities have led to shifts in social dynamics. Individual mobility, once limited by caste, has been enhanced, allowing for a redefinition of identity beyond traditional group affiliations.Even the term zaat is now used to represent personal affiliation instead of caste affiliation. There is also a growing tendency to substitute the tribal laws with the laws of islam. Furthermore, recent scholarship has expanded the definition of caste systems to encompass moral frameworks that categorize society by descent, marriage, and occupation. This broader perspective acknowledges caste-like systems among Muslims as existing independently of Hindu influence.

Recognizing caste as an independent social system within Muslim societies enables policymakers and reformers to adopt a nuanced approach. This approach acknowledges the historical continuity and cultural significance of caste while aiming to dismantle discriminatory practices and promote inclusivity.Moreover, fostering dialogue and promoting awareness within Muslim communities about the impact of caste-based prejudices is essential. This involves challenging entrenched beliefs and practices that perpetuate social inequalities based on caste, thereby fostering a more inclusive and cohesive society.

In conclusion, the existence of caste among Muslims in South Asia highlights the complexities of social stratification influenced by historical, cultural, and religious contexts. While Islam presents an egalitarian ideology, the lived experiences of communities demonstrate a significant departure from this ideal, revealing how deeply rooted social structures can persist even in the face of transformative religious beliefs. Moreover, recent thinking also suggests that the caste among Muslims in India can be seen as an independent system and not merely as an extension of the Hindu caste system. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for addressing contemporary issues of social inequality and cultural identity within the region.

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Global Terrorism and New Media: The Post-Al Qaeda Generation -Book review


In the first chapter of “Communicating Terror: The Role of New Media in the 21st Century,” the author delves into the complexities of media and its pivotal role in shaping the ideological battles within Islam and the broader dissemination of terrorism-related narratives. This chapter offers a nuanced perspective on how different factions within Islam use media to their advantage, contrasting the views of moderates and reactionaries and emphasizing the transformative impact of new media technologies. An alternative to Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis, suggesting that the real conflict lies within Islam itself, between moderates and reactionaries. Both factions strive to use mass communication to propagate their ideologies and gain adherents. This internal clash is depicted as crucial, with figures like Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Amr Khaled exemplifying different approaches to media engagement. Al-Qaradawi, an old-school religious leader, uses platforms like Al Jazeera and Islam Online to spread his orthodox yet modernly phrased theology, appealing to a transnational audience. In contrast, Khaled, a newer generation media leader, utilizes Western vernacular and modern platforms to reach and mobilize a global audience, especially focusing on the second-generation European Muslims. The erosion of traditional media’s gatekeeping role due to the rise of new media. Previously, mainstream news organizations acted as gatekeepers, filtering and sometimes censoring information deemed too graphic or inflammatory. However, terrorists have found ways to bypass these traditional gatekeepers by leveraging the internet to directly reach large audiences. This shift has forced news organizations to reconsider their standards, as seen in the example of Saddam Hussein’s execution footage, which, despite being suppressed by major news outlets, spread virally online. This phenomenon underscores the changing landscape of news dissemination, where the presence of citizen journalists and the internet’s reach make traditional media’s gatekeeping increasingly obsolete. The role of online radicalization in sustaining terrorism. The internet has become a crucial tool for terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda, which use online platforms for recruitment and dissemination of their ideology. The National Intelligence Estimate of 2006 noted the rapid, widespread, and anonymous nature of online radicalization, making it challenging to track and counteract. Marc Sageman’s analysis emphasizes the shift from face-to-face radicalization to online forums that provide a virtual marketplace for extremist ideas, linking individuals to a broader terrorist movement. These forums enable interaction that can profoundly change individuals’ beliefs, promoting a collective discourse that serves as an invisible hand organizing terrorist activities worldwide. The complexities of media influence, using the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as an example. Information released by American officials was framed differently by extremist websites, portraying Zarqawi as a martyr rather than a terrorist. This divergence in framing highlights how the interpretation of events can vary dramatically depending on the cultural and political context. Such differences in framing illustrate the challenges in combating terrorism narratives, as terrorist organizations adeptly use online technologies to disseminate their messages and recruit members, taking advantage of the decentralized, networked structure of modern terrorism  .

The chapter 2 High-Tech Terror: Al Qaeda and Beyond delves into the intricate web of extremist organizations and their utilization of new media platforms for dissemination and recruitment. The Taliban’s embrace of print, radio, and new media, particularly their use of DVDs for recruitment and morale-boosting purposes. It discusses the shift in their tactics from gruesome beheadings to more conventional military action showcased in online videos. This evolution underscores the adaptability of extremist groups in leveraging technology to further their agenda. The narrative shifts to Hizb ut Tahrir, emphasizing its ideological mission and increasing militancy. The group’s adeptness in utilizing the internet to foster a virtual Islamist community reflects the global reach and influence of online platforms in radicalization efforts. While discussing the Latin American, the tactics of FARC and ELN in Colombia. FARC’s reliance on media, particularly YouTube, for propaganda dissemination is juxtaposed with the grassroots anti-FARC movement initiated through Facebook, demonstrating the dual nature of online activism in countering extremist narratives. At the end of this chapter author describe the interconnectedness of extremist groups through their online presence, emphasizing their ability to amplify their message and solidarity on a global scale. It highlights the emergence of media groups in Central Asia and their role in disseminating extremist content.

In chapter 3 Terrorists’ online strategies is about an in-depth exploration of the ways in which terrorist organizations utilize the internet as a tool for communication, recruitment, propaganda dissemination, and fundraising. The chapter presents a comprehensive analysis of terrorists’ online strategies, examining their purposes, effects, language differences, and the underlying reasons for using the internet. Like various examples are cited to illustrate how terrorist groups leverage the internet to further their objectives. From disseminating propaganda and organizing operations to communicating with the public and soliciting financial support, highlighting the multifaceted nature of terrorists’ online activities. Real-world incidents such as the Mumbai attacks and the Bali bombings serve as compelling case studies to underscore the significance of online communication and coordination in modern terrorist operations. Moreover it delves into the effects of terrorist websites and online activities on users, exploring indicators such as forums, discussions, and polls. It sheds light on how users engage with the content and express their opinions, while also addressing challenges posed by language differences in translated websites. Further-more the authors describe the reasons why terrorist organizations choose to utilize the internet as a communication medium. Factors such as globalization, technological advancements, and the relatively low cost of internet access are discussed in relation to the rise of online terrorism. Furthermore, the ongoing debate surrounding the real threat posed by terrorists’ use of the internet is explored, taking into account factors such as internet penetration rates and the effectiveness of online recruitment strategies.

In chapter 4 Targeting the Young is all about disturbing reality of how extremist organizations manipulate and exploit children through various mediums, including online platforms, television programs, and educational materials. The chapter, divided into four distinct segments, meticulously examines the methods used by groups like Hamas to indoctrinate young minds with violent ideologies. The pervasive nature of online recruitment, highlighting how terrorist organizations target impressionable teenagers through rap videos and interactive websites. By blending entertainment with propaganda, these groups effectively normalize violence and martyrdom among the youth, perpetuating a cycle of radicalization. Moving forward, the narrative explores Hamas’s deliberate efforts to groom elementary school children through Al-Fateh Magazine and other digital platforms. By incorporating political cartoons, religious stories, and glorified depictions of martyrs, Hamas instills a sense of duty and allegiance to their cause from a young age, further fueling the cycle of violence. The role of televised programming in shaping children’s perceptions of conflict and resistance. Through shows like “Pioneers of Tomorrow,” Hamas portrays Israel as the enemy and promotes armed resistance as a noble endeavor. Characters like Farfour and Nahoul the Bee, depicted as martyrs, reinforce the glorification of violence and martyrdom among young viewers. The extremist propaganda on societal attitudes and future generations. It challenges the notion that exposure to such content is harmless, emphasizing the potential for long-term psychological and ideological effects. Despite some pushback from moderate voices and counter-narratives, the pervasive influence of extremist propaganda poses a significant challenge to efforts aimed at promoting peace and tolerance.

In the fifth chapter Women and terrorism the authors provide the comprehensive examination of women’s involvement in conflict zones presented in this piece offers a nuanced understanding of their roles, motivations, and societal impacts. Through a series of insightful observations and analyses, the article sheds light on the complex interplay between gender, ideology, and armed conflict. One notable aspect explored is the elevated status of mothers of martyrs in regions of conflict. The portrayal of these women as revered figures, despite their personal grief, highlights the intricate dynamics at play within societies grappling with conflict. The narrative skillfully navigates the tension between societal admiration for martyrdom and the private anguish experienced by these mothers. Moreover, this chapter delves into the emergence of women’s movements against occupation, underscoring the multifaceted nature of resistance efforts. By linking women’s rights advocacy to broader nationalist and political aspirations, the narrative underscores the agency of women in shaping the trajectory of conflict. The examination of online forums and social media platforms provides valuable insights into the evolving landscape of extremist ideologies and recruitment tactics. Through the exploration of female voices in online spaces, the article illuminates the diverse ways in which women contribute to extremist narratives and movements. Furthermore, the discussion surrounding the portrayal of women in media and propaganda underscores the strategic importance of gendered imagery in shaping perceptions of armed conflict. The analysis of iconic figures such as Reem Al-Rayashi offers a compelling exploration of the intersection between gender, violence, and media representation.

In the sixth chapter Terrorism’s online future, it  provides a comprehensive examination of terrorism’s evolving online presence, spanning from the early 2000s to the early 2010s. It delves into various aspects, including the radicalization process, the utilization of social media platforms like Facebook, the role of forums and blogs, and recent developments in terrorist communication strategies. It describes that how homegrown terrorism emerged as a significant concern in the United States, citing the case of Kevin Lamar James and his formation of the Jamiyyat Ul Islam Is Saheeh  (JIS) group. This sets the stage for understanding the radicalization process, outlined through the four-step model developed by the NYPD. It effectively captures the progression from pre-radicalization to jihadization, highlighting the role of online platforms in disseminating extremist ideologies. The authors provide critical analysis of how terrorist groups leveraged social media platforms like Facebook for recruitment, networking, and disseminating propaganda. It presents real-life examples, such as Hezbollah’s and Hamas’s presence on Facebook, illustrating how these groups exploit the platform’s features to advance their agendas. It adeptly evaluates the challenges faced by Facebook in balancing freedom of expression with the need to combat hate speech and extremist content. The expanding scope beyond social media to explore the potential use of platforms like Twitter for terrorist activities. It discusses the real-time capabilities of Twitter and the emergence of mobile technologies in coordinating terrorist operations. Furthermore, authors critically examine recent developments, including Osama bin Laden’s audio message endorsing terrorist actions and the Taliban’s strategic shift towards a more flexible approach. The role of online forums and blogs in fostering extremist ideologies. It discusses the efforts of individuals like Samir Khan in disseminating jihadist propaganda through blogs operated within the United States. The review effectively highlights the challenges faced by counterterrorism entities in combating online radicalization, including the proliferation of extremist content and the difficulty in shutting down such platforms permanently.

The final chapter of the book Responding to Terrorism provides an insightful and comprehensive analysis of the multifaceted approach required to combat terrorism effectively. This chapter underscores the significance of understanding the deep-rooted causes of terrorism and the vital role of media and communication in both perpetuating and countering extremist narratives.

This chapter gives perspective of the Palestinian-produced version of Sesame Street, Shara’a Simsim. The program serves as a powerful example of how media can be used constructively to address the psychological and social challenges faced by children in conflict zones. By offering positive messages and promoting non-violent ways of resolving conflicts, Shara’a Simsim is a beacon of hope in an environment fraught with anxiety, depression, and the threat of radicalization. This section eloquently illustrates the potential of educational media to counteract the negative influences that can push young minds towards extremism. The importance of proactive media strategies in combating terrorism. The discussion around the Taliban’s use of various media platforms, from FM radio to sophisticated online content, reveals the adaptability and modernity of terrorist organizations in leveraging new technologies to spread their ideology. This underscores the urgent need for counterterrorism efforts to not only respond to but also anticipate and preempt these media strategies. The comparison with the constructive use of media in Northern Ireland and Kosovo further enriches this argument, showcasing how tailored, context-sensitive media interventions can promote peace and understanding in post-conflict societies. A particularly compelling part of the chapter is its examination of the generational aspects of extremism. The narrative of figures like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Anwar al-Awlaki illustrates how younger, tech-savvy terrorists have managed to amplify their influence through consistent and sophisticated use of media. This generational shift emphasizes the need for counterterrorism strategies to evolve continuously, integrating new media tools to undermine the appeal of extremist ideologies. Also, the authors criticize the current counterterrorism approaches, particularly the over-reliance on military solutions. Citing a RAND Corporation study, it convincingly argues that military force often exacerbates the problem by alienating local populations and inadvertently aiding terrorist recruitment. Instead, the chapter advocates for a shift towards intelligence and police work, combined with a strong emphasis on soft power and political solutions. This perspective is both pragmatic and forward-thinking, recognizing the limitations of hard power and the potential of more nuanced, non-military interventions.

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Over the past few decades, the digital revolution has opened up social networks to technology much more than before; Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) play an important role in common people’s political, economic, and social participation. However, it is important to note that the digital divide which involves access and usage about socio-economic status, age, and geographical location is widening.

Thus, such factors as gender inequalities are known to contribute to this difference. Gender disparities have been around for thousands of years and are significant to solving the problem of social justice. Because it is a human right that cannot be compromised, gender equity is paramount for society and economic progress. As it is seen using the data from UN Women, women are less likely to use the internet than men, particularly in poor countries the difference can be up to 31%.
Taking women out of the purview of ICTs deprives them of opportunities to transform themselves and society. As instruments for change and global agency, ICTs are very important to women especially those in underdeveloped countries.

However, in some cases, ICTs can assist individual women to bring changes and achieve a desirable status in life.
This type of systematic inequality means that women’s social participation is constricted and the global economy is not progressing as fast as it could otherwise. Males: 68% have reported to frequently use of personal computer and the internet; while females: 62%. In addition, while 33% of men install software in contrast to 18% of women, 47% of men use online banking compared to 35% of women. Although women are more than half of the university graduates in the globe, they remain a minority in the science and ICT fields where they only represent 8% of the total software industry employees. The gender digital divide is not only a problem of technology but a complex economic, social, and cultural problem, rooted in gender inequality. Girls and women cannot effectively participate in our society, especially with decisions affecting a problem that they care about by lacking enhanced access to ICTs.

In addition, the adoption of ICTs and online content is likely to perpetuate existing disparities if women are not included in their development. Economic dependency is another challenge since most women are economically disadvantaged, have less control over resources, and cannot afford ICT devices. For instance, 60 percent of women are unpaid home workers, which sharply restricts their opportunities to use the new technology. Geographical location is also found to have a strong correlation with the gender digital divide. Female internet penetration is lowest in developing countries constituting only 25% of internet users in Africa, 38% in Latin America, and 22% in Asia. Secondly, women in rural areas have limited access to the Internet as compared to women in urban areas.

The gender digital divide is also influenced by social factors as most of female individuals cannot access the ICTs due to discriminative measures that are put in place based on their gender. The rules and norms of society sometimes keep women in their stereotyped roles and do not let them consider digital literacy, except when it applies to their given roles and when they seek personal and technological growth. For instance, in Southern India and Ghana, culture often limits women’s access to and use of ICT. However, females, especially those who are well educated, utilize the internet to an equal extent, if not more wisely, than males; proving the point that women are no less efficient in using male-dominated technology, should they be given proper education and chance. Why is closing the gender digital divide necessary?

Closing the divide between the digital has and have-nots has far-reaching consequences for not only women but for the leaders who can accommodate their respective communities as well as the entire economy. Access to ICTs empowers women economically by allowing them to bypass male-dominated market structures and diversify their business ventures, leading to economic transformation. In healthcare, ICTs facilitate better access to health information and services, improving public health, especially in isolated communities. For education, ICTs provide both formal and informal learning opportunities, helping women continue their education throughout their lives despite barriers to traditional schooling.

Gender consideration in cybersecurity entails assimilating gender perceptions into organizational practices, enhancing sex-specific competencies, and addressing the sex digital divide. It should be done in partnership with the Women, Peace, and Security agenda to enhance gender-sensitive arms control measures. States, relevant academia, and civil society actors must collectively build a gender and cybersecurity tool kit that will enhance the implementation process of the policy. Recipient research into gendered implications in cybersecurity and transparency about what is collected systematically can aid the development of gender-sensitive policy. The frequency of reviewing and reporting, gender-related cybersecurity actions is important especially when inviting various gender-oriented organizations. These measures will enhance the safety of all gender identities, thereby exhibiting how issues of gender are inextricable from cybersecurity.

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The Essence of Karbala


Beyond rituals, Karbala is a living symbol that has motivated humanity for 14 centuries to transcend mediocrity, materialism, and self-centeredness in pursuit of the lofty peaks of truth and sacrifice. This term is synonymous with chivalry and serves as a moral and ethical standard. And the individual around whom all of these sublime virtues and qualities revolve is Hussain bin Ali.

In this era of moral bankruptcy and excess, where empty rituals masquerading as religion and rampant, selfish materialism are increasingly competing to gain partisans, Karbala stands out as a beacon, a revolutionary ideology that has the potential to transform society and alter human behavior. Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty, the sage of the subcontinent, was entirely correct when he declared, Hussain is the faith.

Every one of us has heard the Imam’s virtues at various forums. For instance, our rulers consistently issue statements on Ashura that express their sadness regarding the Imam’s situation and pledge their support for his noble cause. However, our nation would be significantly more prosperous if they were even marginally sincere about following in Hussain’s footsteps. Only a small number of us make an effort to transcend the weeping and mourning rituals and explore the boundless ocean of ma’arifat that is Karbala.
As the tradition Kullu yawmin Ashura wa kullu ardin Karbala (every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala) emphasizes, the message of Karbala is eternal and not constrained by time and space. This is not restricted to any specific sect, race, or creed. Universality is its hallmark. Insaan ko bedaar to ho lene do, har qaum pukare gi hamare hain Hussain, as Josh Malihabadi aptly phrased it. (“Let humanity awaken; all nations will proclaim, ‘Hussain is ours.'”). A magnificent substance that has the capacity to awaken humanity from its petrified slumber is contained within the appellation of the Imam. Gold can be transformed from lead by the alchemical power of Karbala.
On the day of Ashura in 61AH, two distinct philosophies emerged: Hussainiat and Yazidiat. Additionally, a third characteristic appeared: the spineless Kufis. Yazids of the present day continue to disseminate the philosophy of Yazidiat, which is characterized by arrogance, tyranny, amorality, and naked ambition, albeit under different identities and with different appearances. In the present day, Yazidiat manifests in a variety of ways, including terrorism, global neo-imperialism, financial inequality, and oppressive regimes. The Hussaini revolution must persist in its campaign against oppression of all forms, as the Imam did 1,400 years ago when he unmasked and challenged Yazidiat.
It is imperative to acknowledge the elements of Hussainiat and to employ them to cure the spiritual and ethical illness known as Yazidiat. The Imam’s message is eloquently conveyed across the vastness of space and time: oppose the oppressor and support the oppressed. This is skillfully conveyed in a sermon delivered by the Imam, as cited in Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s The Martyrdom of Hussain: You observe the current situation. The world has undergone a transformation in its hue. It is entirely destitute of virtue. Is it not evident that the truth has been relegated to the background? Falsehood is being intentionally implemented. It is imperative that a believer endeavor to defend the truth in the name of Allah. Living with oppressors is a criminal offense in and of itself.
Hearts are consoled by tears for the martyrs of Karbala; however, they are inadequate. The twin teachings of knowledge and action are imparted by Karbala. The dynamic force that has sustained the Karbala revolution throughout the ages is Azadari, or lament for the Imam and his companions. There is no way to restrict it to rituals, and it cannot be eradicated through terrorism. It imbues the Hussaini character in all who are informed of and moved by the Imam’s struggle. As esteemed scholars have stated, azadari represents the development of character: a person of commonplace character should emerge from a majlis with a new self-image. It would be unjust to discuss the advantages of azadari without acknowledging the primary exponent of the Hussaini revolution and the movement’s propelling force: Zainab bint Ali. The women and children of the Ahlul Bayt were gathered by this courageous lady of the Prophet’s household (PBUH) after all of the male adults in the house, with the exception of Imam Ali bin Al Hussain Zain Al Abidin, were martyred at Karbala.
In spite of all odds, this honorable woman spoke fearlessly, reflecting the eloquence of her great father and shaking the court of Yazid with her defense of the Ahlul Bayt. Syeda Zainab has our eternal gratitude for keeping the truth of Karbala and stopping the historical wrong from being twisted.
Syeda Zainab delivered epochal addresses from Damascus to Karbala, and it is beyond the scope of this writer to assess their impact and delivery. It is safe to conclude that following the martyrs’ deaths at Karbala, Syeda Zainab began her own jihad with her powerful remarks. The speech this honorable woman gave before Yazid’s court exemplifies her faith and bravery: Oh Yazid! We trust Allah and present our case to Him in His court. Even though you try to persuade us to stray from our moral course by your lies and persecution, we will not. Our message and divine mission are indestructible, and neither are you; you will never be able to erase our name off the face of the earth.

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The enigma of global power dynamics



Global shifting power dynamic” refers to the changes and shifts happen in the distribution of influence and power among countries on a global scale. Shifting power dynamics identifies that power relations between states can vary at different times. Some factors involved in this shift are economic growth, political shifts, military capabilities, technological elevations, and shifts in alliances. Understanding the concepts of polarity and power politics is more complex and miscellaneous than it seems. Is Unipolarity is reversed back to bipolarity and multipolarity is a newly emerged debate around the globe which is constant after disintegration of the USSR after Cold War. There is a transition and alteration happening in the international system. The Evolution of global institutions, non-state actors, and other global trends and strategies which is termed as multiplexity now work slowly, but these changes comprehensively put affect on entire system on a global scale. The article is based on previous literature and analysis of previous debates over this topic. The study argues that the current global system of polarity is no more dominated by a single state. The rise of growing influence of countries regionally and globally such as China, Japan, Germany, India, North Korea, United Kingdom, France, and Russia are responsible for shaping the structure of today’s world.


Buzan, Barry. A British scholar,  2020. In The United States and the Great Powers defines unipolarity as a “global power structure where one state has significant power capabilities, including military, economic, and diplomatic resources.” He further emphasizes the hierarchical nature of unipolarity, in which the dominant state practice influence on the rest of the world. The word polar derives from the Latin polus and the Greek polos, which means “axis.” In international politics the term polarity is used to define (the center of power) the state who is dominating the world through soft and hard power. Before the starting of Cold War, the Multi-polar international system saw a breakdown. Which resulted in balance of power among two great powers in a way that none of them was strong enough to predominate the others, resulted in bipolarity, which made them the great rivalry of each other. The era of cold War is globally understood as an era of bipolarity where United States of America (USA) and a Eurasian power Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), commonly known as the Soviet Union, having conflict with each other seeking for global power and influence led the world towards uni polarity. The world became unipolar with the United States of America as a solo superpower after the disintegration of USSR. In a unipolar system, the hegemon’s power and influence extend across various regions, giving it the ability to set the agenda, establish norms, and exert its preferences on other states. While, states may align themselves with the hegemon to benefit from its protection or economic advantages, which is a suitable and reasonable. While on other hand, the hegemon’s dominance can create concerns about its intentions and potential abuse of power. Other states may seek to balance against the hegemon, forming counter alliances or coalitions.


The world experience all three of the polarity types in history the pre World wars era which is marked as multipolar era then the era of Cold War which is termed as era of two global powers and the post Cold War era which is globally known as unipolarity era with solo power. The history provides the historians and scholars the way to understand these complexive power dynamics.


When it comes to global power dynamics, there are numerous factors involved in these shifts. Analyzing these factors is important to understand the future of world politics, diplomatic interaction, and the power structure of the 21st century. Due to involvement of these factors the traditional ideas of power through sea or land are getting out of course every passing day. One of the bottom-line factors is the enhancement of economic capacity. The rise of any emerging economic state e.g., China and India today and their enthusiastic involvement in de-dollarization, led to disturbance in economic hegemony. And the rapid enlargement allowed them to challenge the hegemony of established powers. Countries that excel in Information technology, artificial intelligence and renewable energy fields can gain influence and leverage in the global arena and provide them a competitive edge on global stage. Good governance and political stability internally allows states to focus on external politics and most likely to project power, building strong diplomatic relationships and alliances and influence. The stability help states to work on the factors that led them towards development.


According to Kenneth Waltz, an international relations scholar who is an American political scientist, in his book “Theory of International Politics (1979)” (1) he argues that a bipolar world, characterized by two dominant powers, is more stable and suitable and less war prone for global order than the Unipolar and multipolar world. Waltz believed that when there are two powers they counterweight each other and create sense of equilibrium, reducing the chances of major conflicts, while others argue that bipolarity could also result in massive destructive counter strategies by both states against each other. Examples of proxy wars and guerilla warfare and emergence of non-state actors especially terrorist groups during the era of Cold War is an example of counter strategies. (2) Arguments comes in favor of unipolarity often feature the benefits of having a single dominant power. Proponents argue that a unipolar world can ensure stability, as the whole structure is under one power and the global power engage in unilateral actions. But the power imbalance and emergence of reignol powers also come on its peak during this time, just like now china is emerging as an upcoming economic power, India as both an economic and technological power, in the Asian religion. In addition, a unipolar system lacks the checks and balances that are present in a multipolar or bipolar world. The debate surrounding the pros and cons of unipolarity, bi polarity and multipolarity is complex and multifaceted. (3) Tri polarity and multipolarity is seemed as more suitable idea for balance of power among three or more global powers. Multipolarity creates a sphere of competition among all the powers, which on one side makes the states little easy about their power, while on the other hand, this compilation also creates a huge mess and rivalry behavior which results in huge arm race and destabilization of the rivalry and disturbance in region and globe.


The future of power dynamics on global scale is multifaceted and far-reaching, but the possible future which includes opportunities and nuances includes; (1)Rise in involvement of Non-state actors who influence and shape policy and relations of states in future while challenging the conventional state-centric approaches. The establishment of international institutions, globalization and emerging complexities in national, regional and international governance are some of the factors that contributed significantly towards enhancing the value of the NSA’s on the chessboard of world politics as noted by Josseline and Wallance (2001) in their article “Non-state actors in world politics.” (2) With emergence of Globalisation the world is also experiencing a trend of fragmentation and regionalization in form of reignol blocs which is resulting in shifting alliances, partnerships and new coalitions which creates opportunities while creating more uncertainty and power struggle.(3) Geo-economics, Geo-politics and Geo-technology and their intersection is creating new complexities for future to achieve political goals The 5GW and Hybrid warfare and it’s excessive use by different entities against each other is one of an important concern of global entities as it is a question of survival for both state and non-state actors while ensuring power shift. (4) Redistribution of global resources is one of a key impact of power shifting this Redistribution may result in increased competition, impacts on global trade and economy, Geo-political tensions, and impacts on global security and challanges to human rights and democratic or peace practices.


There are more chances of the world to be multipolar rather it’s better to call it multiplex but on other hand, there are also plenty of chances that the upcoming multipolarity Should encounter by the most powerful states and world again become bipolar, and this bipolarity once again results in unipolar world order In other words may be, the system of polarity  runs in a loop and the history repeats itself again and again.

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