The State, Ideology and the Politics of Ethnicity in Pakistan


  • Mutahir Ahmed


Being a multi-ethnic state, Pakistan has been facing ethnic and ideological crisis since independence. The state outranked the creation of nation, rather than the nation preceding the creation of state. Islam was used as a binding force, but after the creation of Bangladesh, Islamic solidarity became questionable. Ethnic nationalism emerged from the ashes of East Pakistan crisis. After 1971 the state, created on the basis of a separate Muslim identity soon dissipated into various ethnic movements challenging the centre for an equitable and just share of power and resources. Instead of addressing issues of equity and fair play, the military-bureaucratic establishment over-centralized the state structure, resulting in the political polarization of Pakistani society. While trying to understand the ethnic politics of Pakistan from historical and comparative perspectives, this paper attempts to analyze the role of Pakistani state in dealing with ethnic minorities and religious forces