Oxford launches book

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Staff Reporter

Lahore

Oxford University Press (OUP) organized the launch of its publication Islam, Ethnicity, and Power Politics: Constructing Pakistan’s National Identity by Rasul Bakhsh Rais. This book explores how the central state apparatus, social forces, ethnic groups, political elites, and religious factions have attempted to influence the construction of identity in Pakistan, and why it has become such a contested issue. The book analyzes the issue of identity in relation to power dynamics and competing ideologies, and argues that the choice and expression of a specific identity by contending political actors serves to claim, legitimize, and challenge power. The defining idea of the book is that the cultural diversity of Pakistan is not the problem that it is generally conceived to be. Conversely, it argues that diversity and pluralism in Pakistan can be managed and made to evolve into national solidarity and political cohesion through democratic, federal, and republican politics. Dr Rasul Bakhsh Rais is Professor of Political Science in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, LUMS, Lahore.