Ideology and State

Ideology and State

Policy Perspectives, Volume7 , Number2, July – December 2010


[An ideology is a set of ideas and ideals; it is the ultimate result of a process of thinking in which a comprehensive vision is applied to various aspects of life to determine one’s conduct. A state is the association of many individuals with shared ideology who form a government to organize the collective affairs of their society. States based on different ideologies represent fairly different characteristics. What determines the ideological underpinnings in a state is a common man’s perception to life. The evolution of the concept of state in the West is driven towards the Utopian concept of Plato’s Republic. However the ideological contents of an Islamic State are: sovereignty belongs to Allah, every citizen is a vicegerent of Allah, the state has a representative character, and state is responsible for the welfare of man. There are de-ideologization efforts in Pakistan encompassing the attempts from denying the ideology altogether to projecting Jinnah as a secular leader, besides highlighting nationalities. Foreign intervention is at play, evidently. Nonetheless, it needs to be realized that Pakistani unity, stability, strength and prosperity are inseparable from ideology. – Eds.]


It is widely acknowledged that Pakistan is an ideological country, carved through the struggle of Indian Muslims who desired a state where they would be free to mold their collective life in accordance with their faith. However, this view has always had detractors, who frequently claim that a state based on an ideology is non-viable and a fallacy. The discussion about whether or not Pakistan is and should be an ideological state has gained fresh currency in present times, as the country traverses a chapter of profound political turmoil and grave security threats. The way the origins and goals of Pakistan are perceived today will determine the fundamental approach of the state towards the numerous internal and external challenges Pakistan faces, and the future direction of the Pakistani nation. It is therefore critical that the country’s true ideology be clearly known and understood.


This article outlines the general role of ideology in the life of a state, and the pre- and post-Independence developments that formed the ideological foundations of Pakistan. The ways in which vested interests are attempting to erode the country’s ideology are then outlined, followed by suggestions for reversing this insidious trend.

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