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Religion as the Foundation of a Nation: The Making and Unmaking of Pakistan

P.K. Upadhyay was a Consultant with Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses for its Pakistan Project.
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  • IDSA Monograph Series No. 36

    Pakistan owes its origin to the ‘Two Nation Theory’ in the sub-continent’s polity. Leaders of the Pakistan Movement were convinced that Muslims were a separate nation from the Hindu nation and the two could not live together. In their zeal to create a modern progressive Muslim state in the sub-continent they chose to down-ply, or even ignore, the sectarian divide that had been manifesting in South Asian Islam even when the British were still at the helms. Came independence and these sectarian fault-lines began to manifest themselves in Pakistan’s polity. It would be erroneous to blame General Zia ul-Haq with triggering the big Islamic theological divides, they were already there. Even General Ayub Khan and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto tried to politically manipulate the sectarian divide in Pakistan to suit their needs. What Zia ul-Haq did was to build a common cause with Islamic zealots and provide them Army/ISI’s patronage and access within the structures of the government. Various national and regional events since then have allowed these Radical Islamists (RIs) become almost a state within the state.

    Which way this sectarian divide going to turn? Would Pakistan as came into existence in 1947 going to survive? What is going to be the future shape and structures Pakistan is likely to acquire under the Radical Islamist’s (RIs) onslaught? These are some of the questions this monograph seeks to examine and hopes to trigger a debate on ways to assess and deal with the impending catastrophe in Pakistan which is likely to be cataclysmic by any yard stick.

    About the Author

    P. K. Upadhyay, the author of this monograph, has watched events unfold in Pakistan during last forty-years very closely. After having joined IDSA as a Consultant for the Pakistan project in 2009, his association with research for this monograph also began and the end product is submitted herewith to experts and knowledgeable scholars, journalists and other interested in Pakistan as food-for-thought. P. K. Upadhyay is also the author of chapters on Islamic radicalisation in the two reports – Whither Pakistan? And Pakistan on the edge -that IDSA’s Pakistan Project team prepared

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