Zunaira Inam Khan

Ms Zunaira Inam Khan is a Research Analyst at the Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad.

DOI: http://DOI Number

Keywords: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Islam, state power, Islamization, popular Islam, purist Islam, religious intolerance, extremism, political legitimacy, ideology, nationalism


The histories of Pakistan and Bangladesh are rife with the misuse of religion to bolster political power and gain legitimacy. Although it managed to confer temporary legitimacy that kept these regimes propped up, in the long run, the use of religion has only managed to weaken state power if defined in terms of the robustness of state institutions. While large scale Islamisation has been attempted in Pakistan, its history in Bangladesh has been largely tampered because of cultural constraints which give competing definitions of nationalism and state ideology. Even though religion has been used in myriad ways to confer legitimacy upon regimes and to prop them, it has not led to greater power of the state. The use of religion in this way, especially by dictatorial and authoritarian regimes, has only masked the tensions and problems that exist within the state apparatus and society while not doing much to strengthen democratic state institutions.

First Published

December 25, 2021

How to Cite

Zunaira Inam Khan, “Role of Religion in Bolstering State Power: Political Importance of Islam in Pakistan and Bangladesh,” Regional Studies 39, no.4 (Winter 2021): 3-13, https://regionalstudies.com.pk/wp/article/role-of-religion-in-bolstering-state-power-political-importance-of-islam-in-pakistan-and-bangladesh/


Volume 39, Issue 4