The Impact of Violent Religious Extremism on Various Cultural Components of Pakistani Society


  • Syed Sibtain Hussain Shah Department of International Relations, National University of Modern Languages (NUML) H.9, 44000, Islamabad, Pakistan



violent religious extremism, cultural components, Pakistani society


Aim. The aim of this research paper is to investigate threats of religious extremism to the various cultural components of Pakistani society. Religious extremism has rapidly increased in Pakistan since the 1970s, but this study is particularly focused on its impact on cultural elements of the country in the post 9/11 and post-Arab Spring eras.

Methods. The author applied the process tracing method of qualitative approach for examining chains of the events related to the question of the impact of religious extremism on the various cultural components of Pakistani society. The situational analysis also explored the various situations connected with threats of extremism to Pakistani culture.

Results. The study identified the threats of religious extremism to a number of cultural aspects of Pakistani society, such as schooling (education), traditional literature (Sufi poetry), customary art and folk music, social cultural networking, and sports in the tribal areas and other regions in the country.

Conclusion. The cultural life of a state encompasses various traits of the cultural aspect of national security. In the case of Pakistan, initially two important developments; Islamization of the country and Afghan Jihad in the 1970s both severely affected the society. Then, the eras of post 9/11 and post Arab Spring further witnessed the fast emergence of threats by religious extremists to the cultural elements in various parts of the country, including its tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, and these trends also impacted other regions of the country.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

  • Syed Sibtain Hussain Shah, Department of International Relations, National University of Modern Languages (NUML) H.9, 44000, Islamabad, Pakistan

    Currently working as Assistant Professor at Department of International Relations, National University of Modern Languages (NUML) Islamabad, Pakistan. 

    He completed his doctoral studies (Ph.D) in Political Science and Public Administration from University of Warsaw, Poland in July 2020.

    His areas of academic interest are political science, international relations, security studies, religio-political studies, education, culture and society.

    He previously worked as journalist for more than 30 years in Pakistan and other countries.

    He believes in consistently working, learning more and further self-development in teaching/research in Social Sciences including Political Science and International Relations.


Afzal, M. (2018). Malala is building more schools in Pakistan. more-schools-in-pakistan-thats-not-likely-to-reduce-support-for-extremism/.

Ahmer, M. (2011). The impact of the war against terror on Pakistan. Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, 35(1), 63–79.

Ali, A. (2013). Peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban: Challenges and prospects. Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses, 5(4), 11-13.

Boone, J. (2014, January 15). The saints go marching out as the face of Islam hardens in Pakistan. The Guardian.

BBC. (2018, October 6). Traditional musicians in Pakistan leaving their professions considering it as forbidden practice.

Bilandžić, M. (2018). Culture and national security: Contribution to critical security studies' discussions. Studia Ethnologica Croatica, 30(1), 227-251.

Chaudhry, H. (2017, March 3). 8 years ago today: Attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team. Dawn.

Chughtai, A. (2017, February 19). Attack on shrines in Pakistan since 2005. Aljazeera.

Elahi, N. (2015). Militancy conflicts and displacement in Swat valley of Pakistan: Analysis of transformation of social and cultural network. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 5(3), 226-236.

Express Tribune. (2013, January 2). New doctrine: Army identifies home-grown militancy as biggest threat.

Ewing, K. (1983). The Politics of Sufism: Redefining the Saints of Pakistan. The Journal of Asian Studies, 42(2), 251–268.

Freemuse. (2014). Challenges and effects of terror on arts and culture. OHCHR.

Human Rights Watch. (2017, March 27). Pakistan: Attacks on schools devastate education.

Intrac. (2017). Process tracing. content/uploads/2017/01/Process-tracing.pdf.

Krane, A. (n.d.). Understanding the cultural effect of identity politics on national security. EU.EOT.SU.

Khan, A. U. (2005). The Terrorist threat and the policy response in Pakistan. SIPRI Policy Paper, 11.

Khan, M. M. (2015). Countering violent extremism in Pakistan: An appraisal of Pakistan’s CVE Initiatives. Journal of Strategic Studies, 35(4), 23-44. https://

Kalenda, J. (2016). Situational analysis as a framework for interdisciplinary research in the social sciences. De Gruyter.

Lantis, J. S. (2002). Strategic culture and national security policy. International Studies Review, 4(3), 87–113.

Masood, S. (2016, August 28). 3 Suspects in 2009 attack on Sri Lankan cricket team are killed in Pakistan. New York Times.

Ministry of Finance. (2018). Impact of war in Afghanistan and ensuing terrorism on Pakistan’s economy. Pakistan Economic Survey 2017-2018.

Ministry of Information Eritrea. (2019). Culture and national security.

MITOCW. (n.d.). Handout in class: HCW Tylor’s definition of culture Session 2.

Parvez, T. (2016, September). The Islamic State in Pakistan. United State Institute of Peace.

Qadeem, M. (2020, January 31). Beyond violence: The impact of extremism on communities. Institute Global Policy.

Rana, M. (2015, January). The impact of the Islamic State on Pakistan. Norwegian Peace Building Resource Centre (NOREF).

Ronaq, S. (2014, March 25). 11 Key traits of Pakistani culture. Sharnoff Global Views.

Santos, J. L. (2015, April 20). Social construction theory. Wiley Online Library.

Science Direct. (2001). Social constructivism.

Shah, S. S. (2019). Comparative study of post-9/11 and post-Arab spring rise of violent religious extremism in Pakistan. In S. Gardocki, R. Ożarowski, & R. Ulatowski (Eds.), Islamic World in International Relations (pp. 27-39). Peter Lange.

Shams, S. (2016, August 17). Pakistan's Islamization - before and after dictator Zia-ul Haq. DW.

Sharb, C. (n.d.). Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K). Center for Strategic and International Studies. backgrounders/islamic-state-khorasan.

Sial, S. M. (n.d.). Sufism and the society of Subcontinent.

Suleman, M. (2018). Insitutionalisation of Sufi Islam after 9/11 and the rise of Barelvi extremism in Pakistan. Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses, 10(2), 6–10.

Taj, F. (n.d.). Analysis: Kamal Mehsud. Valley Swat.

Tanzeem, A. (2021, September 17). New Zealand cricket team cancels Pakistan tour over security concerns. VOA.,September%2017%2C%202021&text=A%20Police%20Elite%20Force%20member,17%2C%202021.

Texas A&M University. (n.d.). Culture.

Tsioulcas, A. (2016, June 26). Why was a prominent Muslim musician gunned down in Pakistan. NPR.

University of Norte Dame Australia. (n.d.). Cultural security.,unique%20cultural%2020and%20differences.

Wibisono, S., Louis, W.R., & Jetten. J. (2019). A multidimensional analysis of religious extremism. https://

Weinbaum, M. G. (2014). Militancy and extremism in Pakistan: A US perspective. In M. Yusuf (Ed.), Pakistan’s counterterrorism challenge (pp. 47–62). Georgetown University Press.

Wilson, J. (1984). Art, culture, and identity. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 18(2), 89-97. doi:10.2307/3332502.

Yusuf, M. (2014). Introduction. In M. Yusuf (Ed.), Pakistan’s counterterrorism challenge (pp. 1–14). Georgetown University Press.

Zada, A. (n.d.). Religious extremism and girls’ right to education in Pakistan. https://




How to Cite

Shah, S. S. H. (2022). The Impact of Violent Religious Extremism on Various Cultural Components of Pakistani Society . Journal of Education Culture and Society, 13(2), 107-118.