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A Historian

Nov 15

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

SDPI, Islamabad

Note: You may also watch live streaming of the
event at 

(Concept Note)

In the recent discourses on sectarian
bloodshed in Pakistan, the historical dimension has been almost completely
overlooked. Without this dimension, the explanations effectively become
essentialist—namely that there exists something in the very essence of
sectarian doctrines or in the very nature of perpetrators that explains this
ruthless series of murderous acts. In other words, either the sunni and shi’I
creeds are inherently such that they are bound to clash, or some intrinsically
evil communities have sprung from Pakistani soil, communities that feed on
sheer mayhem.

The speaker laments that such essentialist
discourses close up any real explanation of contemporary sectarian violence,
preventing us from seeking real solutions, and that this explanation lies
rather in historical contingencies. Here something has gone awry, he claims,
and the point is to discover what that something is. Pointing out that
historically there is much sunni contribution to the South Asian shi’i ‘Ashura
practices, and a wide ranging sunni role in the consolidation of the Karbala’
narrative and the majlis tradition, he concludes that to grasp the issue we
must go outside the realm of ideas—in international relations, world economy,
distributive justice, repressions, government policies as well as in human

The Speaker:  Dr. Syed Nomanul
Haq, a former Scholar-in-Residence at the American Institute of Pakistan Studies,
is a professor at LUMS. He has recently been appointed as Executive Advisor at
Oxford University Press, and is a fellow at SDPI.

[ Imager Source : ]

Chair: Dr Muhammad Khalid Masud, Director General, Islamic Research Institute (IRI), International Islamic University, Islamabad


Syed Nomanul Haq, Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences, LUMS and
Executive Advisor, Oxford University Press


Mr Harris Khalique,
Writer and Poet