Constitution and Religious Conflict in Pakistan

Imran Ahmed

Recognition and Dissent: Constitutional Design and Religious Conflict in Pakistan” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2020.1719538) is a new article by Imran Ahmed and Howard Brasted, both of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at the University of New England, Armidale, Australia.

The abstract for the article states:

Howard Brasted

This article argues that at its core, the debate on the role and place of Islam in Pakistan, is constitutional. The issues concerning Islamic law, the raison d’être of the state, defining the nation and mapping the locus of sovereignty are of constitutional import and concern. At the same time, the recognition of Islam has been critical to the legitimacy of Pakistani constitutions. However, the political structures and institutions prescribed to make Pakistan the Islamic republic it set out to become on independence have stopped short of achieving this. This article suggests that this failure has fuelled religious conflict and created tension, instability and division in the country. In failing to provide formal mechanisms and channels to uphold and activate Islamic principles enshrined in them, the constitutions have remained a focus for agitation and dissent. The constitutional ratification of Islam and Islamic governance ostensibly remains the demand of Islamist parties and Islamic militants alike. For the Islamists, the demand is generally not for a new constitution but for the reform of the existing one.

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