Pakistan’s Modernity: Between the Military and Militancy

By Ayesha Siddiqa

In Pakistan economic progress does not automatically translate into liberal progressive modernity mainly due to the nature of the state. Pakistan’s modernity is structured along two axes: neo-liberal nationalism and right-wing radical nationalism. While the neo-liberal nationalism axis depicts an authoritarian and top-down model of economic and political development marked with the expansion of a national security-obsessed middle class and ruling elite, the right-wing radical nationalism axis denotes the growth of religious radicalism and militancy as symbols of geopolitical modernity that are anti-imperialist in nature. This analysis argues that liberalism is one of the many consequences of modernity, but not the only one. The meeting point of both trajectories has resulted in turning Pakistan into a hybrid-theocratic state which encapsulates a mix of economic neo-liberalism, pockets of social liberalism, formal theocracy and larger spaces experiencing informal theocracy.

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