Lahore School of Economics

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Pakistan Identity – CAREB Project

The newest addition to the Lahore School of Economics research cell (CAREB), is Sonia Salim. Her educational background is in International Relations and Philosophy, and she holds a genuine interest in just about anything and everything that is intellectually problematic! She is conducting research on the Pakistani Identity.

What is the Pakistani Identity? What does it mean to be Pakistani? What / whom does one appeal to, to find out our identity? Even if one is unable to articulate this question in such organized sentences, this question does perplex us all, be it generation XYZ, or our elders. This issue is either discussed over coffee tables at home, or on late night TV shows. It is a question eternally troubling us, and comes to fore not only in our speech or thoughts, but in our actions too. The problem of national identity crisis, stemmed in the fact that Pakistan came in to being as a nation-state very recently; 1947. However, the history of Pakistan is 5000 years old, and that is something we need to remember constantly over and above 58 years.

The Pakistani identity project seeks to go way back in time, we are talking ancient, pre-historic, pre-Islamic, pre-feudalism, pre-capitalism, and get back to the basics of the good old days, where incidentally the most sophisticated civilizations were born here in this land that is Pakistan, then called the Indus valley civilization. Although there is a vast collection of literature already on the Pakistani identity, no student wishes to read it, since they have been afflicted with years and years of Pakistan Studies ennui. What Pakistan Studies fails to do is inculcate a notion of the Pakistani identity. Nor does it look at the present state of the Pakistani citizen, or attempt to intellectualize it, or delve back far enough before the advent of Islam, and be proud of that history. Our ancient history is fundamentally ours, and belongs to the Indus region; the region that is sustained by the River Indus. The Pakistani citizens do not have to consider themselves Arab, Indian, Central Asian, Chinese, or Persian but rather a wholesome Pakistani through and through, historically constituted.

Please feel free to come forward and comment on what she has written so far, and ask questions. Please ask questions! (Sonia Salim can be reachered at:


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 6/10/2005 01:33:00 PM,

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