Democrats and minority marginalization: The case of Pakistan

Ajay Raina

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    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Pakistan is the first post-war experiment in political Islam to establish a democratic state. While Pakistan s consistently poor democratic record has disadvantaged every citizen, its religious minorities are especially marginalized. This article argues that this marginalization is a consequence of institutionalized political inequality, which indeed may be the root cause of Pakistan s overall democratic weakness. Again, contrary to the popular perception, this article demonstrates that Pakistan s democratic leaderships are as-if not more-complicit in this marginalization as the Islamist dictator Zia-ul-Haq and others. First, the worldview of Pakistan s ostensibly liberal-democratic founder Mahomed Ali Jinnah and its impact on the constitutional framework of Pakistan is analysed. Second, the political culture spawned by another ostensibly democratic leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in securing the mandate for the new post-1971 constitution is explicated. These two democratic processes have profoundly influenced the marginalization of religious minorities in Pakistan. This has significant lessons for democratic transition leaderships in the contemporaneously evolving cognate experiments in the Arab Spring regions and elsewhere where similarly small minorities exist. (c) 2014 Taylor Francis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)206 - 226
    Number of pages21
    JournalAsian Journal of Political Science
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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