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Paracha believes that there’s a concerted attempt in Pakistan to ‘discover’ its Sufi links that will help counter its pariah image without giving in to any secular narrative, writes Utpal Kumar
Daily News
Nadeem Farooq Paracha’s book, Soul Rivals: State, Militant and Pop Sufism in Pakistan, begins with an interesting anecdote: of an academic paper, published in 2014, making a strong case for “branding” Pakistan a “Sufi country”. Authored, interestingly, by a Pakistani and a Chinese national, the paper sought to resolve Pakistan’s “image problem” through an intense PR exercise undertaken with the support of the state and the government. The entire endeavour was aimed at “discovering” Pakistan’s Sufism connection to counter its pariah image without compromising to any secular narrative. As the author writes, “The paper was searching for a middle-ground between religious extremism and overt secularism by proposing a contemporary reworking of one of Islam’s most ‘moderate’ and esoteric strands: Sufism.”

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