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Pathways to Jihad in Pakistan

26/08/2008

On 26 August 2008 ICSR had the pleasure of inviting one of its own Research Fellows to speak. Laila Bokhari, ICSR Fellow and researcher at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, shared the results of her first-hand research into radicalisation pathways in Pakistan between 2005-2008. Using her extensive interviews with dozens of Pakistani militants and former militants, Laila presented a narrative of Pakistan as a land shaped by several distinct ‘Jihads’ over recent decades. Her research suggests that the concept of Jihad has transcended many specific grievances and geographically limited conflicts to become a common cultural practice all its own. She offered a thought-provoking suggestion that Jihad has become ingrained in Pakistani youth culture as a right of passage, and is less beholden to one specific grievance than to a ritualised sense of adventure and manhood.