The Pakistani society is largely caught between modernization and conservatism

Inclusive Pakistan

Source: Dawn News

BY Muhammad Amir Rana

The writer is a security analyst.

AFTER the despicable Gojra riots in Punjab’s Faisalabad district that targeted Christians living in the area, a few Muslim scholars attempted to grapple with the issue of constitutionalism in Pakistan. The disturbances had badly damaged the country’s image. It was 2009 when Pakistan faced the maximum number of attacks for any year. The scholars were trying to understand how a country with such an inclusive Constitution could suffer some of the worst forms of religious bigotry.

The debates put forth many explanations, from how the state’s strategic priorities had backfired to how a hostile regional environment was fuelling bigotry. Some weighed in on the ideological aspect of extremism, and others on how it goes unchecked amid the civil-military divide. However, the debates failed to fully present the reasons behind the exclusive nature of Pakistani society.

In totality, nevertheless, the discussion exposed the dichotomies and paradoxes in our social milieu. The state and society are largely caught between modernisation and conservatism: an average Pakistani wants to be progressive but within a conservative framework. The state desires to stand tall in the international community, but without reforming its institutions.

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