Muhammad Azam Chaudhary: Cultural Analysis of Politics, Law and Religion in Pakistan – Some Essays in Interpretative Anthropology [PDF]


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From 2008 onwards, Dr. Muhammad Azam Chaudhary is Professor at the National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad/Pakistan.

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XVI, 219 pp.

Text language: English

In 2007, three major political events rocked Pakistan

– the Chief Justice of Pakistan was suspended by then Army Chief / President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf
– Pakistani authorities cracked down on the “Red Mosque” in Islamabad, resulting in hundreds of lives lost
– former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto returned from exile, only to be killed weeks before national election

These three cases are interwoven within law, religion and politics in Pakistan. Much has been written about them and these writings mainly focus on technical, legal, and political aspects of these events, and the points of reference chosen are mainly those of “democracy” (particularly Western notions of democracy), or international dimensions like the interest and involvement of the USA in Pakistan, the so-called fight against terrorism, etc.

All these dimensions are no doubt important at their places for understanding politics, law and religion in Pakistan, but it is the author’s assertion that politics, law and religion cannot be understood without understanding the culture of the people or country concerned. Similarly, he is of the view that politics, law and religion are interconnected and that culture provides the life line between them, and thus for a proper understanding of either of these three fields, a prerequisite is to examine the vital role played by the indigenous culture.

This much-needed cultural analysis of politics, law and religion in Pakistan has not been previously undertaken. This book intends to make its own contribution to this area of scholarship hoping that it will be followed by more research in these areas.