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State versus Nations in Pakistan: Sindhi, Baloch and Pakhtun Responses to Nation Building

Ashok K. Behuria is Senior Fellow at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile.
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  • Monograph No. 43

    The present monograph traces the origins of the Pakistani state and the processes that encouraged the state-sponsored efforts to build a Pakistani nation, and seeks to isolate various problems associated with such nation-building efforts. It introduces various conceptual categories of state, nation, nation-state and state-nation, and identifies the superfluity in the argument that state and nation must be coterminous for a state to survive— an argument which has been unquestioningly taken up by the leaders of the India and Pakistan in their nation-building endeavours. Based on such a proposition, the prolonged effort of the Pakistani state to impose an artificial identity, privileging certain markers of nationalism unacceptable to local identities, has resulted in demands of the latter for secession and self-determination. The monograph tries to identify and compare the separate markers of state-nationalism and the Sindhi, Baloch and Pakhtun identities, and argues that dissonances among the way these identities are projected and internalised would continue to make the process of nation-building difficult for the elite in Pakistan. It recognises the potential of the Pakistani state to evolve a neutral, and territory-based civic-nationalism as an antidote to the ongoing confrontation between the state and the ‘nations’, but concludes that the present power-elite in Pakistan may not be ready for such a transformational change in its outlook.

    Ashok K Behuria is Research Fellow at the Indian Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA). Dr Behuria is Coordinator, South Asia Centre at IDSA and is also associated with IDSA Projects on Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). He is a Ph. D. in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, and has written his thesis on “India-Pakistan Relationship During the Eighties”. He has been a close observer of developments in Pakistan for the last two decades and was awarded the prestigious K Subrahmanyam Award for excellence in strategic studies in 2009 for his research. He has published many research articles on strategic issues related to ethno-cultural and sectarian issues in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and strategic developments in different South Asian countries, in Indian and foreign journals. He has edited books on South Asia and continues with his work emphasising the need for regional and inter-state cooperation to unleash the collective potential for growth and prosperity for states in the region. 

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