In Pakistan Project: A Feminist Perspective on Nation and Identity, Pakistan’s multiple, contradictory, fractured and fragile national identity relies on specific notions of masculinity and femininity, reinforced through an ideology of militarism and religious fundamentalism. The dissemination of this identity through state institutions, educational curricula, madrassas and through parts of civil society calls into question the very basis of a national identity predicated on religion and the subordination of women.
Saigol’s Pakistan Project: A Feminist Perspective on Nation and Identity critically examines the unstable genealogy of this idea of Pakistan from Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and M.A Jinnah to Zia ul-Haq, through a gendered lens thus exposing its many, often contradictory, premises and assumptions. She then discusses the complex layering of this idea as it has evolved over the last sixty years, whether insidiously through textbooks and laws, violently through the construction and persecution of enemies of state or explicitly through the military’s claims of safeguarding national security. Saigol interrogates the successive mythical ideas of Pakistan that have been deployed by the state, vested interests, civilian and military ruling elites and religious institutions in order to subvert democratic development, especially gender equality.