Regionalism, Ethnic Conflict and Islam in Pakistan: Impact on Foreign Policy

  • Saleem M. M. Qureshi


The Pakistan of 1947 was the realisation of a dream and a vision. It had secured a free and independent polity for Muslim India after almost two centuries, during which Muslims had been losing power to non-Muslim Hindu and British forces. It was the harbinger of great things to come, perhaps the revival of the glory that Islam had been at one time. But within 24 years its eastern wing, containing the majority of its population, had violently, and through a bloody war, wrenched itself away from the bosom of this Muslim nation. And, as if to stick the knife deeper, separatist movements have thrived among the Sindhis and the Baluchis. The first military dictatorship of General Ayub spawned the separation of East Pakistan and the second, led by General Zia, has injected the even more insidious poison of religious sectarianism, fanaticism and bigotry, pitting sect against sect and region against region. In less than half a century Pakistan has lost more than half of its population and may yet lose its very existence in a class and regional war. Pakistan is not the only new nation to suffer this trauma, many others, such as Nigeria and Sudan, Sri Lanka and even India, have had their share but only Pakistan has suffered the loss of territory and the rejection of its conceptual raison d’être by its majority population.


Foreign Policy National Security Ethnic Conflict Indian Nation Military Dictatorship 
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© Hafeez Malik 1993

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  • Saleem M. M. Qureshi

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