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Ethnic Issues and National Integration:

Understanding ethno-linguistic conflicts:

 Conflicts on the basis of ethnicity, racial origins and differences
 They pose existential threat to many states so it’s important to understand its
underlying and proximate causes.
 Cause of massive death toll and inflicting wars on others in contemporary times
 Most common source of warfare, insecurity and loss of lives.
Modern Nation-State and Emergence of Ethnic conflicts:
 Peace of Westphalia put an end to one and half century of long wars, devastations
and conflicts in the name of religion( sectarianism in Christianity)
 Modern nation state system proposed that the states had to be created on the basis
of common history, language, racial background and culture.
 This system enforced that other minority ethnic groups had to be accommodated in
the state.
 No perfect ethno-linguistic or cultural community possible, hence ethnic conflicts
 80% of world states are multi-ethnic and no particular ethnic group has total claim
over entire state territories
Pakistan and the dynamics of ethnic conflicts:
 Every state need some national narrative, euphemism for propaganda, to survive,
 Pak created on the name of religion and had to accommodate several diverse
 National narrative and nation-building require squashing the ethnic and cultural
identities and it results in ethno-linguistic conflicts
 Several ethnic based conflicts in Pakistan witnessed i;e dismemberment of east
Pakistan, sindhi-muhajir conflicts and current resurgent of Baluchistan conflict
 Ownership and control of natural resources is causing conflicts
 Tribalism factored in to make things worse
 Use of term nationalism for ethnic parties has serious repercussions for Pakistan
Identity politics and Ethnic conflicts:
 121 major ethnic conflicts occurred in total 283 major world ethnic groups between
1945 and 2006 and 40% of these conflicts occurred after 1990 majorly due to
identity politics in post-cold war era
 Almost 20 million people killed, 14 million internationally-recognized refugees and
17 million internally-displaced people due to these conflicts after 1995
 Ever increasing population and depleting resources briskly is another cause

Objectives of ethno-linguistic conflicts:
 Mostly political in orientation
 Demand for self-governance, autonomy, better access to resources, power, respect
for particular identity and culture
 Two or more ethnic groups fight for the same goal
 Political goal of ethnic mobilisation is ‘self—determination’

Causes of Ethno-linguistic conflicts:

1) Exploitative political and social system:
 No forum for peaceful expression of difference and redressing grievances
 Inequality and grievances caused by exploitative political structure
2) Ethnic identity:
 Goals defined in ethnic terms and causes/remedies perceived along ethnic
 For example: establish separate state for aggrieved ethnic group and provide
share in power and state resources
 Conflicts about political, economic, social, cultural and territorial interests
3) Grievances and polarizing leadership:
 Sweeping political, social and economic changes
 It lead to mobilisation, political action, violent acts like terrorism, armed
uprisings, guerrillas and civil wars
4) Underlying causes :
 Structural factors, political factors, economic and social factors, cultural and
perceptual factors.
5) Proximate causes:
 Internal mass-level factors (bad domestic problems)
 External mass-level factors (bad neighborhoods)
 External elite-level factors (bad neighbors)
 Internal elite-level factors (bad leaders)
 Ethnic groups located near border or with ethnic kin in adjacent state then
more chances for ethnic conflict
 High mobilisation and group cohesion with shared territory base for political
6) Inadequate representation in system:
 In government, social, judicial and political system
 If system is pluralistic, individualism, inclusive, political debate and near
consensus then less uprisings are likely
7) Exclusionary national ideologies :
 Nationalism and citizenship on the lines of ethnicity is dangerous since it
flourish political uncertainty and economic collapse
 Religious fundamentalism, fascists expressions, supremacists i;e MQM-
8) Competition for limited natural resources:
9) Refugee crisis :
 They bring violence and turmoil from neighboring countries
 Example: Descent of million Afghan of refugees and evolution of ‘culture of