Journal of Social and Political


ISSN 2615-3718 (Online)

ISSN 2621-5675 (Print)

Published: 25 April 2019

Transnational Ideologies, Violent Conflict, and Pashtun Social Identity

Asif Iqbal Dawar

University of Lisbon, Portugal

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Pages: 276-284

Keywords: Al-Qaida, Militants, Conflict, Transnational Ideologies, Pashtunwali


The Pashtun borderland has assumed enormous international political significance in the wake of 9/11. However, the Pashtun inhabitants of the area continue to be profoundly impacted by the on-going conflict in the region. The conflict has reconfigured the whole fabric of the socio-cultural life of its inhabitants. While some scholastic attempts have been made to address the socio-dynamics of the conflict, detailed accounts of the impacts of the conflict on Pashtun social identity ‘Pashtunwali’ remain scarce. This study aims to investigate how the violent conflict in the region has changed the Pashtun socio-cultural system of “Pashtunwali” including, for example, Jirga, Melmastia and Hujra. This socio-cultural system has, in the past, played a crucial role in conflict resolution and sustaining peace in society. Field data was gathered in Pakistan's tribal areas and in selected urban areas through semi-structured interviews and participant observation with local and key respondents. The study finds that under the influence of transnational ideologies, militants incorporated religiosity into the secular culture of Pashtunwali which, in turn, has significantly impacted the socio-cultural life of the tribal people.


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