Skip to main content
Pakistan’s ‘Mainstreaming’ Jihadis

Pakistan’s ‘Mainstreaming’ Jihadis

Aparna Pande

The emergence of the religious right-wing as a formidable political force in Pakistan seems to be an outcome of direct and indirect patronage of the dominant military over the years. Ever since the creation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1947, the military establishment has formed a quasi alliance with the conservative religious elements who define a strongly Islamic identity for the country. The alliance has provided Islamism with regional perspectives and encouraged it to exploit the concept of jihad. This trend found its most obvious manifestation through the Afghan War. Due to the centrality of Islam in Pakistan’s national identity, secular leaders and groups find it extremely difficult to create a national consensus against groups that describe themselves as soldiers of Islam. Using two case studies, the article argues that political survival of both the military and the radical Islamist parties is based on their tacit understanding. It contends that without de-radicalisation of jihadis, the efforts to ‘mainstream’ them through the electoral process have huge implications for Pakistan’s political system as well as for prospects of regional peace.

Read the full report from CEJISS

Related Articles

Counterbalance | Ep. 29: Great Power Competition and Future of American Defense Policy

Marshall Kosloff

Elbridge Colby, author of The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict, joins Marshall to discuss how great power compet...

Continue Reading

It’s Time To Pull the Plug on Our Toxic Relationship With Pakistan

Arthur Herman

There’s a familiar saying: Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. “Fool me three times, however, and all is forgiven” has become ...

Continue Reading

Imran Khan: Afghanistan’s Soil Should Not Be Used for Terrorism

Husain Haqqani

In a radio interview on BBC World Service, Husain Haqqani discusses the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan. ...

Listen Now