Identity has become the most important factor to ensure survival in the contemporary world. From state to the level of individual, it bears significance for survival of the fittest in this dangerous world. Identity is attained through religion for individuals and state’s recognition for a state. But the notion of nation-state or nationalism has superseded by religion for ensuring peaceful co-existence with the people belonging to different religion and race. Because, nationalism does not recognise religions, races, etc., but commonality of ideology, culture and customs. The nation-state concept came about in 1648 in the wake of the treaty of Westphalia. European states exponentially came into being after that. Likewise, the expansion of colonial powers was curtailed to a permanent squeeze following decolonisation after the two world wars. Thus, the world got transformed into emergence of multiple states which have risen to 193 in number, according to the members of UNO.

Pakistan was established after the end of World War II following confiscation of power from its colonial power; Britain. Britain fell into economic recession which paved the way for dismemberment of the sub-continent. Over the continent, the two major communities Muslims and Hindus had proven to be distinct at all aspects. Muslims strove to get a separate homeland for revive religious practices prohibited under Anglo-Indian power. Similarly the religion, Islam, became a pressing force of Muslims behind to seek a separate identity. Hence, Pakistan was created in 1947 on the religious ground with the bedrock of Islamic Republic.

This had gone to Hindus as tremors who never wanted Muslims to be having an independent state. In a reaction, the Indians got firmly decided to take back Pakistani territory by promoting subversive activities to threaten its sovereignty. In 1971, the east part of Pakistan got dismembered owing to covert Indian coercive activities which later turned into an independent state namely Bangladesh. By this point, India declared that religion could not have a ground for creating independent state.

Pakistan was dragged into a plethora of crises since the time of its independence. Out of all, identity crisis remained to be a challenge which is still being debated extra-ordinary among the renowned historians. The people of Pakistan, where 96% Muslims and the rest is minority, have been confused about the fact that either they being Muslim first or Pakistani first. If they are reckoned with Muslims then what the minority would be referred if not Pakistanis first? Thus, identity crisis remained a vital concern for Pakistanis.

However, some scholars argue that being Muslims is limited in scope but being Pakistani is holistic. Because being Pakistani encompasses all the communities. After all, the meaning of Pakistan is the basic belief of Muslims.

Moreover, Pakistan is comprised of regional identities: Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, Pakhtoon, etc. Each identity is subsequently spread in tribes, races and clans. So they continue to be recognised with Pakistani first and identity second. Each identity supports its people at various levels of socio-political and economic grounds. This has led to feeble national integration. Likewise, on the other hand, Muslims are divided into various sects and creeds despite the same religion Islam. Each sect tends to support its bigots at a certain level and also possesses unfriendly sense against others due to the indoctrination. This paved the way for emergence of sectarianism and extremism in Pakistan. In its wake, the denial of minority rights and engagement of Muslims with different sects and identities, thereby the significance of nationalism got weakened on the horizon of Pakistani society.

Islam is all encompassing term of a socio-cultural-politico-economic system. It has a great connection with politics which is always overlooked. Islam maintains a religious state with the principles of social justice, equality and inclusiveness, good-governance, consultation, accountability and transparency. More than that, Islam states that there must not be any segregation between majority and minorities. Everybody is liable to be provided with similar rights. Likewise, Islam protects the rights of minorities and women more than other religions. Also, Islam holds everyone accountable for duties to Allah as well as duties to mankind in the world hereafter.

On the other hand, democracy is also the form of government notably compatible with Islam, and it makes sure of provision of basic necessities or amenities to the inhabitant regardless of being in majority and minority. However, democracy does not recognise any religious factor but the essentiality of nationalism which is the amalgam of pluralistic society. It is argued that if democracy is not implemented in letter and spirit then it is the worst form of government one can ever deal with.

Pakistan’s democracy is still young. There are historical traces pertaining to military interventions which curbed the evolution of democracy in the country. It is also argued that democracy is a self-correcting system provided if it is given space and time. However in Pakistan, prevalence of dynastic politics, apartheid of economic resources, dearth of provision of democratic rights, apathy of minorities, impassive judiciary, leaks in public revenues, socio-economic degradation so on and so forth, have been the common phenomena. Under such a situation, the sense of patriotism significantly declined.

One the other side, Pakistan is struggling from the colossal allocation of budget to defense and debt servicing. Under lack of implementation of direct taxation to cope with the indispensable allocations necessary for socio-economic amelioration, the country has been rigorously trying to maintain sufficient capacity to deal with internal and external challenges.

Furthermore, due to insufficient budgetary allocation to education, the children of our down-trodden society are compelled to get enrolled into seminaries where modern education is not taught comprehensively. This gives birth to the closed mind-set and orthodoxy which has become a cause of religious bigotry and extremist insight against other sects. Reportedly, there are around 2.5 million children are out-of-school. The clergy class is reportedly found radical and opposed to the concept of nation-state akin to that of proscribed militant outfits. They are badly misled by their misinterpretation of the religious injunctions which has led Pakistan to the state of quandary of identity crisis. Hence, the dilemma of identity crisis remains outstanding varying between the identity of Muslim or Pakistani either.

In addition, the rise and spread of the western propaganda of Islamophobia has also created an identity crisis in the Muslim world. Usually, Muslims are being recognised by the religion Islam despite the fact that they have dissolved into the western society with the possession of nationality. Moreover, the denial of human rights to Muslims by France and Germany by prohibiting the use of the Burkini and obligating the hand-shake for Muslim women shows that their democracy is losing its strength and has fallen prone to defects and deficiencies.

Similarly, identity crisis is the creation of religious insinuations, western-infested Islamophobia and self-imposed perception. This is not a debate as long as democratic legalities are implemented in letter and spirit. Pakistan is certainly a religious state where minorities need to respect the religious culture and norms of Muslims, but Muslims should also respect the minority’s religious culture in reciprocity.

Last but not least, the role of military has become tangibly professional. The successful transitions of civilian regime uninterrupted are the harbinger of thriving democracy. Nothing can be mended by itself altogether. There is dire need on the part of the government to ensure good governance, democratic norms and flourishing leadership from the grass-route level. The system of accountability and transparency should also be made alongside implementing Vision 2025. Most notably, the legacy of this vision will surely bring about reforms in judiciary and all other civilian institutions. In so doing, the issue of our identity crisis can be tackled with holistic approach.