In Pakistan, until the mid-1970s, even after General Zia came to power and the Soviet
invasion of Afghanistan began, there was the more syncretic, less purist interpretation of
Islam. This was a more modernist trend. The change after this period was perhaps
influenced by the growing dominance of purist interpretations, as well as the separation
of East Pakistan in 1971, because it showed that common adherence to Islam was not
sufficient to hold a nation together. It re-sparked the debate about identity and unity and
created a traditionalist or purist backlash.
Hunter also talked about how the Muslim world is not hermetically sealed from the rest
of the world and developments within Muslim nations occur in conjunction with
developments in the rest of the world. These developments had an impact and reaction in
countries like Pakistan. The Cold War for example had a huge impact. The third
Communist International called upon the Muslims of the east to rise up in holy war
against British imperial power, using the word â€œjihadâ€. 60 years later, the west called
upon the Afghans to fight a jihad against the Soviets.
These are the debates and external developments which contributed to the development
of Islamic thought among the Muslims of India pre-Partition, and later in Pakistan.
Pakistan is facing these issues once again with renewed urgency â€“ the role of Islam and
national identity, and questions of modernization and faith â€“ and the debates continue to
involve both â€˜modernistsâ€™ and â€˜puristsâ€™. It is important to understand this context, rather
than simply looking for a taxonomy of militant groups, because those are symptoms of
the substantial debates common to most Muslim societies today.
The Militant Movement â€“ Professor Mumtaz Ahmad
Mumtaz Ahmad, Professor of Political Science at Hampton University, began his talk by