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

The China Challenge Discussion Series

Aparna Pande

Hudson Institute and the Takshashila Institution hosted The China Challenge online discussion series over six weeks between August 28, 2020, and Octob...

Continue Reading

A US-India Trade Agenda for the Biden Administration

Aparna Pande & Husain Haqqani

The US ought to counteract the influence of Chinese authoritarianism early and often. One relatively low-cost way is to encourage India to engage more...

Continue Reading

Is a US-Pakistan Reset Possible?

Aparna Pande

As the Biden administration starts shaping its foreign policy, it has to deal with some complicated relationships. Few U.S. relationships are as compl...

Continue Reading