08-Issues of Ethnic Diversity and Just Development in Pakistan with a Special Focus on the Seraiki Ethnic Group

Abstract

Ethnicity implies the sense of belonging together as the cultural group in a given society. It is a complex combination of racial, cultural and historical characteristics by which people differentiate themselves from other groups. This research envisages the genesis and the evolution of ethnicity as a political concept, the problems of ethnicity in a heterogeneous, multicultural state and the phenomenon of ethno-nationalism in its historical and analytical perspective in the federation of Pakistan with special reference to the status of Seraiki ethnic group. In fact ethnic expressions exist in all multicultural states and distinct ethnic groups evaluate themselves through communal prism. The less privileged groups develop abhorrence against the over – privileged groups due to the persistence of socioeconomic injustices. Factors like the gap between core and periphery, asymmetrical modernization and authoritarian trends lead towards ethnic disruption. Same is the case with Pakistan, a multilingual, multiracial and multiethnic state with federating units reflecting various diversities. The analysis of ethno-nationalism in Pakistan highlights factors, like regional cultural identity, relative deprivation among regions, centralized state structure, denial of accepting regional language as national language, and the absence of democratic values as being the root causes of the Bengali separatism. The assimilationist policies of the government do not acknowledge the regional/ethnic aspirations. Denial of pluralistic approach has been thwarting the demand for provincial autonomy. The nature of ethnic consciousness in the Seraiki belt, analyzed in this article, is found to be nurtured by the perceived socio-economic injustice at intra-provincial level—between the regions of South Punjab and Central and Northern Punjab put together.

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