Madiha Afzal, nonresident fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings, discusses her new book, “Pakistan Under Siege: Extremism, Society, and the State,” with the director of the Brookings Institution Press, Bill Finan. Afzal explains Pakistanis’ own views on terrorist groups, jihad, and America, the relationship between Islam and the Pakistani state, and how the country could redefine its sense of nationalism without what she calls “the crutch of religion.”
Also in this episode, Bill Frey discusses the demographics of millennials, now America’s the largest generation, and what implications their diversity could have on the country.
Thanks to audio producer Gaston Reboredo with assistance from Mark Hoelscher, and to producers Brennan Hoban and Chris McKenna. Additional support comes from Jessica Pavone, Eric Abalahin, Rebecca Viser, our intern Steven Lee, and from David Nassar.
The Brookings Cafeteria is a part of the Brookings Podcast Network.
Pakistan’s main extremist challenge in 2019 and beyond is no longer a violent insurgency waged by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, as it was a few years ago. Indeed, Pakistan’s new extremists are hardliners who do not (yet) engage in mass-casualty terrorist attacks, but in massive, disruptive protests over the issue of blasphemy. Over the last few years, they have been emboldened by the state’s lack of enforcement against them and the failure to publicly provide a credible counter-narrative.The fight against these extremists, more than any other, will define whether Pakistan changes course for the better.