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Title: Of military and militancy : praetorianism and Islam in Pakistan
Author: Ashraf, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 8377
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis examines the emergence of praetorianism in Pakistan and its relationship with militant Islamism from the establishment of Pakistan since independence in 1947. It analyses the evolution of civil-military relations in Pakistan, paying particular attention to the processes of state construction, inherent weaknesses of the country’s political and economic institutions, impact of significant regional events such as the Soviet-Afghan war, and chronic hostility with India. It focuses specifically on how these aspects of Pakistan’s historical experience impacted firstly, the phenomenon of military interventionism and, secondly, its evolving relationship with militant Islamism. This thesis also seeks to demystify the controversial relationship between the Pakistani military and Islamist militancy through a historically and conceptually grounded analysis. It does so by exploring the interface between praetorianism and militant Islamism in Pakistan through the lens of path dependency within a conceptual framework derived from historical institutionalism. Here it looks at the persistence of patterns in the course of the country’s institutional development as a reflection of the role of key players, their interests and strategies and the distribution of power amongst them. It factors in ideas of critical junctures, historical causation and increasing returns, to help to foment a deeper understanding of praetorianism and its evolving association with Islamism over time. Finally, it examines the constraints placed by Islamists, a combination of religiopolitical parties and militant groups, on the military’s expanding practical and political influence within the state. By bringing to light the historical role accorded to religious ideology within the Pakistani polity, it analyses the codification of a pervasive Islamist discourse within domestic and foreign policy. It reveals how powerful military regimes adopted and intensified the recourse to Islamism to augment their strategic and institutional ambitions, but in doing so were handicapped by this very dependence. Taken together the insights gleaned from this approach sets the thesis apart from the bulk of scholarship on civil-military relations in Pakistan, which has to date focused upon the overarching idea of military as a colossus or hegemon with few limitations on its power. This thesis advances two key arguments. First, it argues that the rise and entrenchment of praetorianism in Pakistan was based essentially upon the pathdependent trajectory of civil-military relations, incorporating Islamism as a selfreinforcing feature, to meet political, administrative and strategic needs. Second, it posits that this dependence in the long run served to limit the military’s power and influence over the state. By essentially re-contextualising the understanding of civil-military relations in Pakistan and situating the issue of Islamist militancy within this framework therefore, this thesis provides fresh insights on the contentious relationship between the Pakistani military and Islamist militancy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: JQ Political institutions Asia