Pakistan: The Contours of State and Society

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Soofia Mumtaz, Jean-Luc Racine, Imran Ali
Oxford University Press, 2002 - Political Science - 275 pages
This collection of papers originated at a Paris seminar. It The volume covers a very broad spectrum of life in Pakistan Pakistan and focuses on political, strategic, cultural, social and gender topics. Hitherto readers have had access to British, American and even Indian studies on Pakistan, while this is the first volume which makes accessible the views of French scholars.

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Pakistan : The contours of state and society is a collection of essays edited by Soofia Mumtaz Jean Luc Racine and Imran Anwer Ali. The book was published by Oxford University press in 2002. Soofia is Chief of the Applied Socio-Cultural Processes division at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad. Jean is senior fellow of the Centre for Research and Study of India and South Asia and Imran is dean professor of Agribusiness at LUMS.
This book is a collection of essays presented by Pakistani and French scholars at a conference in Paris on Fifty Years of Pakistan: Retrospectives and Perspectives. The essays under consideration mainly target the structural aspects of Pakistani state and society. Authors believe that Pakistan despite being declared an Islamic state, the religious parties failed to get any tangible concessions from ruling elite. Moreover Pakistan failed to achieve objectives of its Afghan Policy and was stuck in number of crucial problems. Sectarianism is a reaction to combination of illiteracy and poverty while ethnic movements are reaction to systematic transgressions and excess made by the centre. On economic front, this country has a lot of potential but needs vital reforms to move ahead.
There have been attempts at Islamizing the state, the polity, the economic system and the laws. There have been religious pressure groups and modernist elite. Religious groups include traditionalists and the Jamat (hybrid of traditionalists and modernists). Author says religious groups got concessions from modernist elite through demonstrations and riots. There were compromises between the two as evident from the text of three constitutions of 1956, 1962 and 1973. By declaring Pakistan as an Islamic state , its citizens were divided into two categories where non muslims were not eligible for certain high posts. But compromises were in favour of nation state not religious groups. All the steps taken to Islamize the state were symbolic in nature even in Zia era.
In his essay about Mohajir Political Movement, the author says that many Urdu speaking migrants were from UP, the home of Ali Garh University, so many muslim civil servants were schooled at Ali Gerh. While in the army the dominant group was of Punjabis followed by the Pathans.So Sindhi people were on receiving end. After Green Revolution, Punjab prospered and education prospered there thus reducing the Mohajir representation in civil bureaucracy . Moreover when Bhutto became Prime Minister he enhanced Sindhi ethnicity by applying rural-urban quotas thus making it more difficult for Mohajirs to get a government job. Nationalization policy further affected business community of migrants in urban Sindh.
Zia ul Haq, taking advantage of bad blood between Mohajirs and local Sindhis, authored MQM fully patronizing Altaf Hussain. Readily available Afghan autommatic weapons helped forming its militant wing. Soon after its formation, clashes took centre stage in Sindh between both the communities. In 1992 MQM changed its name to Mottahida Qoumi Movement to have more power base but that was only resulted in formation of a dissident faction , the Haqiqi. Number of interventions in democratic process instigated ethnic violence as a means of defending interests in provinces. In addition to this, use of selective force against MQM further aggravated the situation.
The author says that main motive behind Pakistan’s Afghan Policy was to stop Moscow from helping the separatists in KPK and Balochistan. Moreover military regime here wanted to get legitimacy making Pakistan a front line state, yes she got it with additional US aid of 7.2 bn dollars and 3.2 mn Afgahn refugees.Pakistan allied with Hizb e Islami Later PPP government initially supported Taliban to secure the Chaman – Thoughundi road, from Pakistan to Turkemanistan. And afterwards Pakistan went on supporting Taliban who were graduates of Madrassah Haqania and Deobandi clerics in Pakistan had strong influence with them. Taliban did not prove right assets for Pakistan because they had


Editors Note
The State and the Nation of Pakistan
Part I

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About the author (2002)

Soofia Mumtaz is at Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad. Imran Ali is at Lahore University of Management Sciences.

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