RELIGIOUS POPULISM IN PAKISTAN: A CASE STUDY OF TAHREEK-E-LABBAIK PAKISTAN
This paper explores the drivers of religious populism in Pakistan. The first part of the study discusses the emergence of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) based on a religious populist appeal that discursively constructs them ‘Pure People’ against the ‘Corrupt Elite’. In the second part, drawing upon the Social Movement Theory (SMT), this study explains how TLP attracts people into their fold by subjectively representing the reality – the unfolding of politics in Pakistan and how it securitizes the Hurmat-e-Rasool (honor of the Prophet) and Khatam-e-Nabuwwat (finality of the Prophet) by using certain frames for agitational politics. Furthermore, it also analyses how TLP uses the leadership cult – woven around a guardian of the Prophet’s honour – to construct a persuasive narrative around the Khatam-eNabuwwat for their political support base. Finally, this study concludes how the extreme politicization of Hurmat-e-Rasool and Khatam-e-Nabuwwat by TLP leads to the radicalization of society in Pakistan.