DOI: 10.12924/johs2020.16020055 |Publication Date: 12 August 2020

The Narrative of Militancy: A Case Study of Swat, Pakistan

Qasim Ali Shah 1 , Bahadar Nawab 1, * , Ingrid Nyborg 2 and Noor Elahi 1
1 Department of Development Studies, COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI), Abbottabad Campus, Pakistan
2 Department of International Environment and Development Studies-Noragric, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Norway
* Corresponding author
Abstract: Unlike other faith-based conflicts, the militancy in Swat seems unique, as militants used religion for promoting their agenda and giving voices to the grievances of the poor people through a popular narrative likely without knowing narratology. Using narratives and narratology as a theoretical framework, this qualitative study is an effort to understand the essence of militants' narrative in Swat and the mechanism through which they steered it up until the time it gained verisimilitude. Conducting 73 semi-structured interviews, the study finds that it was a planned strategy of the militants that popularized them in Swat, while they later lost this support due to their atrocities against general populace. The militants used the socially and culturally constructed narrative through FM radio and motivated the masses to follow their ideology and brand of Islamic Sharia. The study concludes that the formulation and popularization of social narratives play vital roles in social movements and conflicts to muster popular support for promoting vested interests that can be used against the state and general public.

Keywords: hermeneutics; human security; militancy; narrative; Pakistan; Swat

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2012 - 2020 by the authors; licensee Librello, Switzerland. This open access article was published under a Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).