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Nelson, Matthew (2020) 'Constitutional Migration and the Meaning of Religious Freedom: From Ireland to India to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.' Journal of Asian Studies, 79 (1). pp. 129-154.

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Building on current research regarding constitutional migration, this article shows how constitutional provisions protecting religious freedom (“subject to public order”) arrived in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, not via colonial British or traditional Islamic sources—both explicitly rejected—but via deliberate constitutional borrowing from “anti-colonial” precursors in Ireland and, especially, India. Drawing on Ernesto Laclau's notion of “empty signifiers,” the article highlights the shifting political circumstances that transformed the meaning of Pakistan's borrowed constitutional provisions. Even as core texts guaranteeing an individual's right to peaceful religious practice were imported, political, legal, and conceptual modulations ensured that specific forms of peaceful religious practice were refashioned as a source of religious provocation and, therein, public disorder. Far from protecting religious freedom, this repurposing of imported constitutional clauses tied to “the politics of public order” underpinned the formal legal restriction of an otherwise explicit right.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
ISSN: 00219118
Copyright Statement: © The Association for Asian Studies 2019 This article has been published in a revised form in Journal of Asian Studies This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 01 May 2020 14:41

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