"At the moment there are few grounds for optimism." — Farzana Shaikh on Pakistan

“Pakistan differs from other countries in that its ideological confusion has bred dangerous consequences that go well beyond the frontier of the state. Until the country clarifies its relationship with Islam, it cannot be expected to do more in the war on terrorism.”—Farzana Shaikh

Farzana ShaikhThe preceding quote comes from an article in the Times Higher Education profiling Farzana Shaikh, most recently the author of Making Sense of Pakistan. In the article Shaikh discusses her book and elaborates on her argument that Pakistan’s uncertainty about its identity and what it stands for has strengthened Islam’s hold on the public sphere. Meanwhile, as she suggests in the article, “the military, forced by an absence of cultural unity to appeal to ‘Islamic values’ to bolster its legitimacy, has formed dangerous links with jihadis.”

The article also looks at Shaikh’s standing in Pakistan and among Pakistanis in the UK, where she now lives. In a controversial article in The Independent, she wrote, “There is now an almost fateful inevitability that a major terrorist attack in the UK will carry a Pakistani imprint.”

Ultimately, Shaikh remains very ambivalent about Pakistan’s future. “I have to tried hard to be optimistic,” she says. “But the emphasis has to be on the word ‘hard.’ At the moment there are few grounds for optimism.”

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