Frontier of Faith: A History of Religious Mobilisation in the Pakistan Tribal Areas C. 1890-1950

Sana Haroon
Oxford University Press Karachi
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Frontier of Faith examines the history of Islam-especially that of local mullas, or Muslim clerics-in the North-West Frontier (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa). A largely autonomous zone straddling the boundary of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Tribal Areas was established as a strategic buffer zone for British India, and the resulting autonomy allowed local mullas to assume roles of tremendous power. After Partition in 1947, the Tribal Areas maintained its status as an autonomous region, and for the next fifty years the mullas supported armed mobilizations in exchange for protection of their vested interests in regional freedom. Consequently, the Frontier has become the hinterland of successive, contradictory jihads in support of Pashtun ethnicism, anti-colonial nationalism, Pakistani territorialism, religious revivalism, Afghan anti-Soviet resistance, and anti-Americanism. Considering this territory is said to be the current hideout of Osama bin Laden, there couldn't be a better time for a sourcebook detailing the intricacies of the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands today and the function of the mullas and their allies.