Book: Pour une autre idée du Pakistan, by Julien Levesque

Pour une autre idée du Pakistan. Nationalisme et construction identitaire dans le Sindh, ResPublica, 2022

The socio-political dynamics of Pakistan are often summarised as Islamism, terrorism and military incursions into civilian life. This book offers a different vision of Pakistan’s political history through the case of ethnic nationalism in the south eastern province of Sindh. This movement and its identity discourse are unique in at least two respects: on the one hand, Sindhi nationalist discourse conceives of belonging to Sufi Islam as an ethnic marker that would distinguish Sindhis from other Muslims in Pakistan; on the other hand, Sindhi nationalism has its roots in left-wing movements and ideologies, which denounce the centralizing conservatism of official nationalism promoted by the Pakistani state. Since the 1950s, the nationalist movement in Sindh has challenged the central state and demanded greater autonomy for the province. Some groups went so far as to formulate separatist demands from the 1970s onwards. In order to understand the relationship of Sindhis to the state of Pakistan, this book traces a socio-history of nationalist mobilisation and examines the construction of identity markers that is at the heart of nationalist discourse. The case of Sindhi nationalism in Pakistan illustrates how an identity-based movement can contribute significantly to socio-political dynamics without achieving its objectives.


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