SECTARIANISM IN PAKISTAN: INSTITUTIONALISATION AND RADICALIZATION OF SECTARIAN IDEAS IN PAKISTAN’S POLITY
Pakistan was dreamed to be the ‘homeland’ for all Indian Muslims by Jinnah and his political cohorts. It was for the first time that a Muslim state claiming to represent all sects within Islam was imagined because in the past there were Sunni empires and few Shia ruled kingdoms who never exercised control exclusively on behalf of all Muslims though at times they claimed otherwise. After partition doctrinal differences among various sects, though important did not surface except the anti-Ahmadiyya riots of 1953 where agitators were asking Ahmadiyya’s to be declared non-Muslims. But since Zia ul Haq regime, Pakistan has been besieged by sectarian violence which at times puts its very survival at stake. It is my contention that overreliance by Pakistani state on religion to define its identity and consolidate itself with subsequent ‘Islamization’ programme by Haq were instrumental in institutionalising and radicalizing doctrinal differences which resulted later into sectarian violence.