state power. One such critic is the historian Ayesha Jalal, who in her article “Conjuring Pakistan:
History as Official Imagining” criticizes the state’s distortion of history, whilst analyzing the
consequences of this ‘history-making’ for Pakistani society and highlights the problems this
approach has bred. The Pakistani state’s reimagining of history has led to a confrontational,
bigoted nationalism (based on “us vs. them”), the inability to determine any single, acceptable
origin for Pakistan, using claims of sacrifice as rights to passage, and contradictory
representation of the views/stances of its most important political figures.
To instill a singular nationalist identity in students, the state attempts to bundle up
Pakistan’s populace under the umbrella term “us”, whereby Pakistani patriotism becomes
synonymous with adhering to the state’s version of religion whilst facing against un-Islamic
opponents who have been separated into the alien classification of “them”. The narrative of “us
vs them” is frequently seen in historical textbooks which nationalize Pakistan’s past by
reimagining it as a simplified conflict of Muslims contending against sustained Hindu hostility.