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Pakistan's Identity Crisis

Interviewees: Ayesha Jalal
Hassan Abbas
Interviewer: Jayshree Bajoria
November 14, 2007

Though Pakistan was created as a homeland for Muslims, those who demanded the state were secular minded. And early death of Pakistan’s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, left the question of Islam’s role in society unresolved. Pakistan’s rulers and military have frequently used religion to define state ideology and Ayesha Jalal, professor of history at Tufts University’s Fletcher School says this has led to Islam actually becoming a “divisive force in so far as it is being utilized by the state to deny people’s rights or even to deny diversity.” Research fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Hassan Abbas, explains how religious extremism used by the state to counter threat perception from India has come back to haunt it and so far the state has failed to deal with it effectively.

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