A commentator from South Asia who has tried to understand the psyche and motivations of Pakistan with some success may be utterly unfamiliar with the wider Islamic world, but ISIS will not be unfamiliar because ISIS speaks a radical form of the same language one hears from hyper-nationalists. The difference is that Pakistani hyper-nationalists are less daring, less bold, more fearful in their interpretation of the doctrine that motivates ISIS. They are limited in thinking to the geographical region that Pakistan occupies on the globe and to the people who inhabit this region. They are concerned with the continuity and success of the state of Pakistan within the Muslim narrative, for they haven’t the courage to take upon themselves the responsibility for the larger purpose that they are well aware of, something that Islamist militant organizations have stepped up to do.

The Two Nation Theory is South Asia specific subset of the Islamist ideology. Pakistan, in fact, came into being as an ‘Islamic State’ – the Islamic State of Not-India.

India is a madly diverse population. The number of communities that are identified by their religion, language, ethnicity, geographic location, class, caste, economic status, trade, traditions, is so mind-bendingly large that virtually anything that can be specifically ascribed as “Indian” immediately falls apart as the opposite example pop up. For the people of India, the people of Pakistan are little different from the people encountered daily within India. Pakistanis bristle at such a suggestion, but it is simply indisputable that the essential difference between India and Pakistan is that of religion and its relationship with the state.  India is Hindu majority but secular and pluralistic while Pakistan is Muslim, both as a population and as a state.

For Pakistani nationalists who subscribe to the Two Nation Theory, this difference is everything. And that’s what makes Pakistan an early precursor of ISIS.

After all, what is the basis of Pakistan and its relationship with India? It is the simple and uncompromising notion that Muslims and Non-Muslims cannot co-exist. Then there is the radical jihadist narrative that the state adopted, which extolled the war against non-Muslims on behalf of the Ummah. Muslims who disrupt the purpose of this Islamic State such as those of Bengal or Balochistan are enemies to be dealt with harshly.

In accordance with this vision, jihad is waged in Kashmir, Muslims in India are sought to be organized into an internal resistance and genocide was/is conducted in Bengal and Balochistan for the people there having ambitions that obstruct the holy mission. The Taliban is fostered and organizations of war against India are fostered, with a range of names that all speak of Islamic jihad, from the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Harkat-ul-Ansar to the Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.

The ideology of Pakistan, its founding fathers’ legacies and the ambitions thrust upon the state are marred with the same delusion of the Islamic state, which motivates Islamist terrorist organizations today.

The big difference of course is that Pakistan founding fathers did not dare to dream of being the leaders and drivers of a global jihad to bring about the Armageddon and the final battle between the Muslims and Non-Muslims. Their dreams were much smaller, content to only contribute their little piece of South Asia towards the greater prophecy. The shortage of fervor was created by a concern for the population of Pakistan to flower and prosper, while the likes of ISIS care nothing for such things.

That moderation of the fanaticism that restrained Pakistan, a concern with the sensible, practical wellbeing of its citizens, is not seen in Al Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS, or the various factions that have savaged Afghanistan. This moderation is very much rooted in the Indus Valley Civilization, and is found in most other Muslim countries that have a long standing civilization that contributes a sense of historical continuity and hopes for the future.

Pakistanis therefore ought to consider the path that their country is on. The path of conflict with India and of the use of jihad to drive agendas that are drawn from the ISIS playbook fundamentally contradict the long term, prosperous, dignified future of the people of Pakistan. And yet the story of Pakistan is that of a jihadist military engaged in eternal war in its Ghazwa-e-Hind, pumping out religious fanatics in the form of mujahedeen, all shielded by nuclear weapons, perpetually threatening Armageddon.

The time may not be far off when the advances and expansion of ISIS reach Pakistan and force the country to choose between a final surrender to the ideology, or to finally turn away from this madness and adopt the model of pluralist, democratic co-existence that prevails in all the hopeful nations of the world.