Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, Volume 12
October 14, 2011
by Aparna Pande
Pakistan was not originally imagined as an Islamic State. And yet today, according to a 2009 report by the British Council, more than seventy five percent of Pakistanis consider themselves to be Muslims first and Pakistani nationals second.[[i]] Moreover, a May 2011 survey by the Gilani Research Foundation, a Pakistan-based polling organization, showed that sixty-seven percent of Pakistanis favored the state-led Islamization of their country.[[ii]] How could this have happened in a country that was founded only a few generations ago by a secular, Westernized elite as the homeland for South Asia's Muslims?
The political turmoil and growing radicalization of Pakistani society have their roots in an ideologically-driven Islamic Pakistani identity. The Islamist narrative on which the country's identity and politics are based has been constructed and crafted in such a way that even secularists have inadvertently contributed to both its rise and spread in Pakistan. The roots of this narrative lie in the political beliefs that emerged among wealthy Indian Muslims of British India in the late nineteenth century.
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Aparna Pande is a Research Fellow at Hudson Institute.
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