Monday, June 27, 2011

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Shadow War: The Untold Story of JIhad in Kashmir

Evolution of a war

A book scripting the evolution of Pakistan military's ambition to use civilian insurgents as an instrument of defence and foreign policy


By Nadeem Omar Tarar

Shadow War:

The Untold Story of Jihad in Kashmir

By Arif Jamal

Published by Melville House Publishing, 2009

Pages: 352 (hardcover)

Price: $26.95


The Untold Story of Jihad in Kashmir is a myth-busting and brutal exposé of Pakistan's secret war against India. It provides crucial information on the key facets of militancy including recruitment, organisational structure, ideological base, and its transnational character. The author Arif Jamal, a journalist scholar from Lahore and New York, has not only made use of his journalist acumen and scholarly skills but more importantly his personal courage and professional integrity.

Jamal prefaces the book by validating the sources of his information which, given the clandestine nature of the subject, are as important as the findings of the study. He has been successful in interviewing most of the key players in the jihad networks as well as access organisational and popular literature of jihad. His use of first hand accounts and selective use of secondary sources turns it into a highly original work.

The author is especially well placed, to write such a book. Having begun his professional career in Pakistan in 1986 as a journalist with leading national and international media organisations, Arif Jamal has written hundreds of investigative and interpretive articles in English, focusing on Pakistan army and militant Islamic organisations. He holds a Masters in International Relations and has been a fellow at distinguished institutions including Harvard University and the University College of London, UK. He is presently associated with Center for International Cooperation, New York University , USA.

The book has broken the scholarly silence on military's involvement with militant Islamic groups and Pakistan's establishment's proxy war with India as it analyses the history of the jihad in Kashmir and the role of the Pakistan Army in shaping it since 1988. Scripting the evolution of the Pakistan's military ambition to use civilian insurgents/jihadis as an instrument of defense and foreign policy against India in Kashmir, the author provides a rather useful index of the names of the 'principal characters' from the warring regions, India, Pakistan and Kashmir, who would play out the script of jihad in Kashmir, a story which can compete with the best known political thrillers of our times.

In the first two chapters, the author outlines the formative phase of the Kashmir conflict and the evolution of the policy of using cross border Islamic militancy as an instrument of foreign policy, by focusing on Pakistan's first jihad under direct military command. It led to partition of Kashmir into Pakistani and Indian occupied Kashmirs within a year of independence in 1947. Chapter 3 discusses how CIA money, destined for the Afghan mujahideen in the 80s, was funneled to Kashmiri jihadis under Zia, creating a vital nexus of power and patronage of Islamic militants by the Pakistani military. Jamat-i-Islami (JI), provided ideological strength and human resource, in addition to coordinating jihadi network with various brands of Islamic militants across the world, fuelling a more than twenty-five year insurgency. Pakistani government and ISI support for militant groups who left Afghanistan to fight Indian rule in Kashmir has been the cause of much friction with India.

Chapter 4 and 5 demystify the notion of jihad as a selfless struggle for the glory of Islam by exposing the vicious competitions among various militant organisations fighting for share in the spoils of holy war. With the ascent of secular mission of JKLF, the Kashmiri nationalist militants in the 80s, JI fought back to take a lead role in the Kashmir Jihad with the help of ISI in post-Zia period. Chapter 5 builds on the factional struggle within the jihadi network and the hegemony of Hizbul Mujihadeen and its allied organisations on the reign of terror that they unleashed in Indian held Kashmir. They looted shops, bombed cinemas, targeted unveiled Muslim women and kidnapped, tortured and murdered Hindu businessmen and officials. In the process of conflict, Kashmiri society, which largely avoided communal riots at the time of partition, was convulsed into brutal violence, rising fundamentalism and communalism, and the flight of nearly the entire Hindu population from the Valley.

Chapter 6 outlines the military adventure of President Musharraf, the infamous Kargil war, as a logical corollary to Pakistan's policy of using jihadis as a strategic tool in the war against India. As Musharraf claimed it in his biography, it was waged to internationalise the Kashmir issue. On the contrary, it ended up isolating Pakistan internationally and for which Pakistan bore an enormous human cost. The financial cost of the war, met through Pakistani taxpayer's money, excluding the compensation rose to $700 million. Jamal analyses how the role of jihadis was overstated by the military and the sacrifices of Northern Light Infantry (NLI) drawn from Gilgit Baltistan/Norther Areas were ignored by the media.

Musharraf wore Kargil as a badge of honour despite repeated criticism of professional failures even from his very own military quarters. Claiming a degree of success in highlighting the Kashmir issue through Kargil, Musharraf went on to initiate peace process with India, epitomised by Agra Summit in 2001.

Jamal argues in chapter 7 that the failure of Agra Summit to lead to a peaceful resolution of conflicts between India and Pakistan rejoiced Islamic militants. Acquiring another lease of life, they attacked Red Fort and later that year on the Indian parliament, the very symbol of Indian sovereignty. In post 9/11 world, when Arab Islamic militancy under al-Qaeda came under an US-led international scrutiny, ISI tried to protect its jihadi networks in Pakistan and Kashmir by asking them to keep a low profile and camouflaging their organisational nomenclature. They were advised to drop names that smack of al-Qaeda -- Laskar, Jaish, and Sepah -- thereby allowing them to survive despite Musharraf's pronounced commitments to be a close American ally in international war on terror.

Extending the discussion of jihadi network further, the last chapter provides a substantiative account of ISI's official involvement in forming All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) in 1993 in a bid to give a political face to jihad. Tracking its career over a decade Jamal, with profound penetration, analyses its impact on aggravating the Kashmir conflict, while counting its failure to live up to its original mandate.

A net result of shadow war with Kashmir has meant that Pakistani military has trained nearly half a million insurgents as a matter of defence policy, who now pose a grave threat to the peace and security of Pakistan. The nexus of power and patronage that was built up over Kashmir jihad fuels the militancy on Pakistani soil and abroad.

Coupled with threats of increasing "Talibinization" that mar the democratic future of Pakistan, the infrastructure of Jihad factory can not be effectively dismantled without finding solutions to Kashmir conflict. Despite numerous attempts in continuing formal peace talks between India and Pakistan in the last five years, militant attacks continue to hinder progress towards a sustainable solution on Kashmir. Talks are effectively put on hold since 2008 after India accused the ISI and Pakistani authorities of being complicit in the Mumbai Attacks.

Through a thick description of jihadi network, Arif Jamal underscores the global implications of a regional conflict. He argues that global jihad is an off-shoot of Kashmir conflict. Without peaceful resolution of Kashmir conflict, the international terror networks cannot be uprooted. In the light of Jamal's book, Barack Obama's singular focus on battling Taliban in Afghanistan and their sympathisers in Pakistan inherited from Bush administration can prove to be disastrous policy oversight for Pakistan as well as the international community.


Sunday, July 12, 2009


Published in The News on Sunday, Political Economy, 12 July, 2009

Culture and development are intimately linked together in an increasingly globalised world, where development or its lack, is seen both as cause and solution of domestic social and cultural problems of global proportions. The strategic deployment of development and reconstruction plans in the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, to break the fundamentalist's hold on cultural productions and regional economy, offers one of more dramatic illustrations of this relationship.

A textbook example of relationship between culture and development is the relative success of Aga Khan Rural Support Program, a non-sectarian development project in Northern Pakistan, especially in Ismaili dominated regions, attributed largely to a mutual fit between development agenda and the cultural and religious organisations.

Irrespective of the geo politics of development, common to both cases is the emphasis placed on culture as a means of human growth and empowerment and the recognition that in order to achieve sustainable development, and international peace, economic, financial and social reforms have to be addressed from a cultural perspective.

The consensus on the cultural dimensions of development in the international development sector has been slow to emerge, largely out of experience of administering development in the Third World as well as with interactions between development practitioners and academicians in the field of anthropology, economics and sociology. Central to the culture in development approach is the emphasis placed on culture as a means of human growth and empowerment and the recognition that in order to achieve a sustainable development, and international peace, economic, financial and social reforms have to be addressed from a cultural perspective.

Culture and development are linked in a number of different ways, and the connections relate both to the ends and the means of development. In the current global policy thinking, culture is not merely a means of promoting material progress but constitutes as the very basis of human development. Understood, as comprising of norms, tradition and values of a society, culture plays a critical role in economic performance and business behavior. Weberian analysis of the role of values in the emergence of capitalism is of considerable interest in the contemporary world, particularly in the light of the recent success of market economies in non-Protestant and even non-Christian societies.

While culture is regarded as the means and instrument of development, the notion of development, following Amrata Sen, is based on substantive expansion of freedom. It is not only the growth of GNP, but the enhancement of freedom and well being of people in a broad, holistic sense to include universal, physical, mental and social growth.

Appended to this approach is the idea that fostering respect for diversity and cultural pluralism is of crucial importance in the context of global and national culture, as the rapid spread of mass culture and its hegemonic tendencies are threatening the survival of traditional values and the interests of minorities. The need for respect for all cultures is particularly urgent at a time in which the uneasy acceptance of global culture and reactions against the alienating effects of large-scale modern technologies are reflected in the fast spread of religious fundamentalism and social intolerance.

Although the connections between cultural values and economic performance have been made in cultural theory as well as development economics, it remains debatable which set of values would work under what conditions. As in case of countries like Japan, China and India with fast economic growth, the relative merits of Confucian, Buddhist and Hindu values in shaping economic behavior are being debated.

Unfortunately, we lack informed debates on mainstreaming culture in development programmes and investments in the government and the non-government sector in Pakistan. The development sector in Pakistan is fairly cognizant of the importance of culture in development planning, yet the awareness of linkages remains at a level of project intervention in select areas rather than providing an overarching framework to restructure the development discourses. Organisation like UNESCO, which have from its very inception stressed the connection between culture and development have invested only in limited range of cultural arenas such as cultural tourism in Pakistan where as much more needs to be done to make cultural factors the focal point of all strategies for development.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Published in The News on Sunday, Political Economy, 28th June, 2009

The census scheduled for 2008 has been postponed. The federal government, which is responsible for census operations, cannot foot the bill and is seeking international donor support and private sector investments to fund an exercise in which 150,000 armed forces' personnel would be required to provide security to civilian census staff, especially in Balochistan and the NWFP.

This is not the first time that the government has failed to conduct on time this national data gathering exercise, which can be the only informed basis of allocating resources and rights to the citizens. The demographic profile is a key indicator to rank wealth and power of a nation and its constituent entities. Its data determines social power and political rights. That is why for many it is the hallmark of what constitutes a nation.

The fifth census scheduled for 1991 was delayed by seven years, and was conducted in 1998. It is strange that we have been devising policies and programmes in the absence of an updated demographic profile like the census since that year. Pakistan conducted its first census in 1951. Since then, four more decennial population and housing censuses have been conducted -- in 1961, 1972, 1981 and 1998 -- with frequent lapses. The failure to hold regular census points to weakening writ of the state. It also reflects division within the nation, and the contested nature of rights and resources administered on the basis of census.

Is the delayed census a tragic reminder of a divided nation, which, if required, should be united through the use of armed forces? Or is there something about the census that does not neatly translate into indicators of equitable development and sustainable growth for all the members of a nation? A bit of history will help us answer this question.

Census as a tool of state craft was originated in the Western Europe in the early nineteenth century. After the first British census was conducted on March 10, 1801, and every 10 years thereafter, the practice of decennial census became a universal norm. The ability to conduct census also represented the power of the state over the nation. In the Indian subcontinent, the British colonial census drew on the long indigenous history of numeracy and information gathering institutions. This also included the Indian caste system, which provided the British with a relatively stable scheme to classify the Indian population according to indigenous criteria. Similarly, religion also appeared to the British a natural distinction to divide the population.

The first census of Punjab province, which forms a large part of present day Pakistan, was conducted in 1855 with Richard Temple as the chief census commissioner. It divided the population on the basis of two religious categories, the Hindus and the Muslims, creating the idea of numerical strength that was to serve as the basis of political representation and communal quotas later. The first decennial census was conducted by Denzil Ibbetson, who later became the governor of Punjab, in 1883. It extended the purview of census to the enumeration and ranking of castes in Punjab. The famous colonial anthropological text, The Punjab Castes, which is still in popular demand and is widely cited as the most authoritative account of castes and tribes of the province, was based on the report of this census.

The basis of Hindu-Muslim conflict can be traced back to the beginning of census operations in India. Communal boundaries between the Hindus and the Muslims were murky at the time of the first colonial census. Overlapping cultural codes and shared histories of dwelling rendered the communal identities as fluid. Therefore, the tabulation of information on population in distinct religious categories led to a heightened sense of religious identity. The census linked the elite political representation and communal quotas in education and employment with numerical strength of religious communities. In fact, state gazetteers and the census institutionalised the religious and cultural differences in mutually exclusive categories, sowing the seeds for inter-communal violence leading to partition and fuelling intra-state communal conflicts in the region.

Even the term 'Hindu' was largely a British invention. The British colonisers used it to demarcate a community distinct from the Muslims. Sikhs, untouchables and tribals were categorised as Hindus in the first census of Punjab. In 1868, the Sikhs were re-classified as distinct from the Hindus. Hindu nationalist saw this as a blow to their numerical strength and political representation. Every act of numeration sparked controversies and mobilised communities for effective self representation in census figures.

The colonial census computation of conversion rates of Hindus to Christianity and Islam precipitated the Hindu proselytising movement Arya Samaj in Punjab. For Muslims, on the other hand, early census returns brought home the realisation that they were a numerical minority in the Indian subcontinent, thus they sought education and jobs in the government service to bolster their demographic profile. The Muslim educational movement, such as Syed Ahmad Khan's Aligarh University, was engendered by similar fears of losing out on the religio-political front.

A quick reference to the censuses in Britain since the nineteenth century reveals how colonial census was used as a tool of imperialism in India. The census in Britain remained largely a secular institution as regards the collection and presentation of data. The census exercise exhibited either disinterest in religion or extreme reluctance to explore this field. In several censuses, there was no question on religion; and wherever any question on religion was included, it was done with extreme care. Not only this, the results were published separately from the census reports. No British census in the last two centuries has asked questions on ethnicity or religion. The question on ethnicity was for the first time introduced in 1991 Census and there was pressure to include religion in the 2001 Census of the Great Britain. The American census also specifically prevents collection of data on religion.

On the other hand, census in the colonial India had a different purpose altogether. Driven by the colonialist need to know the land and population it controlled, the census served the imperative of control and domination. In colonial census of India, the question on religion, caste and race was introduced since its beginning in the 1850s. Religion was used as a fundamental category in census tabulations and data on this was published without any restraint. It seems that the projection of cleavages within the colonial society was essential for sustaining the British rule. In fact, the British used a variety of texts, forms and methods to continue and perpetuate their rule at the cost of strained communal relationships in India.

Since a foreign and colonial government initiated both gazetteers and census, no public opinion or the representative institutions existed to limit the subjects investigated in the two documents. A comparative view of census enables us to see how modern census has played a different role in the social and political life of people in Britain and its colonies. The policies, procedures and institutions in Pakistan are very much framed along the lines marked by colonial census in the British India.

No attempt has ever been made to revisit the colonial categories and frame new one to unite, rather than divide, the society. From seats in the parliament to the allocation of jobs in government service, to the provision of education, health and civic services, all national resources are tied with numerical strength, irrespective of the needs of the marginalised segments of society. Every single census in Pakistan was conducted amid the storms of protests from the disenfranchised ethnic and religious groups, but without eliciting any changes in the census schedule. As a result, the struggle for power among various social and religious groups in the society draws on the imbalance between census figures and the situation on the ground.

Although the institutions gathering information on various aspects of population have diversified, along with the number of subjects under tabulation, the fundamental postulates of modern census as a measure of a nation's wealth and ranking have not changed. The politicisation of census in Pakistan has jeopardised the national planning process, because without reliable census figures, macroeconomic management is bound to fail and so is the electoral process based on doctored figures. The mirage of electoral democracy that holds the country together is in jeopardy, if the plans for decennial census are abandoned again. A fraction of media hype and public attention that is routinely showered on electoral process will relocate the issue of census and place it at the heart of the debate on national sovereignty and democratic struggle, to where it must belong.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Published in The News on Sunday, March, 2009

Every art exhibition, which goes up in the city, leads to an afresh round of skirmishes between artists and critics. Much of it is fueled by the disagreement over how does art communicate. Some critics expect art to communicate to us instantly and directly, in a manner an essay or a newspaper article does. They assume it to be an act of communication comparable to an act of speech or writing. These expectation and assumptions reflect a conflation of two communication activities, which are anything but different. The point of the article is to identify the different nature of communication process at work: in words and in images. 

Lets take written/verbal communication first. Every non-visual communication act, be it verbal or non-verbal, involves a mediumthrough which it carries a message and delivers it to areceiver in time and space. An act of writing or speech contains an argument. An argument carries a messageand delivers it to a receiver in a certain amount of time, through the medium of writing or speech. (A dense argument may take more time to deliver). Two things should happen, if a message is to be delivered effectively. The message should lose its utility once it has reached the receiver (otherwise it may involve the risk of non-communication). Second, different receivers should get the same message, if a proper communication is to occur.  The present article, for instance, is an act of communication. It contains an argument (a message), expressed through writing (a medium) to be delivered to the readers (receiver) in a certain amount of time. Ideally speaking, in order for an effective communication to take place, the argument should be understood by all readers equally well, without leaving any room for conflicting interpretation. Moreover, once it has reached to the readers, this argument should run out its utility and may lead to another argument or counter argument. This is how we communication through words in daily lives. 

An essential feature of an effective verbal or written communication is linearity. Ideally, a speech or writing act is linear and unfold over time in a straight line. It starts from a point A and moves along a unilinear progression (of ideas and concepts) to conclude at a point Z in time. It is because of the linear nature of intellectual activity that even an entire book of 1000 pages can be described in a series of schematic statements. The structure and character of written or speech communication act can now be contrasted with art or visual communication. 

The prevailing confusion about what the art objects says lies precisely in the fact that it is not comparable to a speech or written act of communication. If we try to understand or read a work of art as an act of writing containing a specific message, we will end up in frustration. The reason lies less the fact that aesthetic communication leaves the sphere of rational discourse and enters into the realm of untheorised experience and feelings. The fabric of art is the province of subjective feelings, which lends itself to formulation through images. The art or aesthetic communication is an on-going process. It does not start or stop at definite points. It neither contains an essentialmessage intended by the artist, to be communicated to the spectator nor the message will be finished once the communication act is over. The great works of art never finish to communicate to the viewer. Theoretically speaking, a masterpiece should let you discover new meanings and message, every time you look at it. It is mainly because of the open-ended nature of the aesthetic communication that generation after generations can live off the aesthetic experiences of great works of arts, without losing their capacity to generate new messages. 

Given these contrasting features of aesthetic communication and non-aesthetic communication, one can begin to understand the conflicting views held by artists and critics. The former tends to see their work, as a part of on-going aesthetic experience and later see it as a product of finished intellectual message. A ’structure of intelligent dialogue’ between critic and artist, can only be established, if the fundamental differences between the two communication acts are placed in their respective contexts. Other social explanations, including curbs on critical thinking in our society, of course, reinforce and split this divide further.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Idea of Civil Society: Reviewing Gellner



Conditions of


Civil Society

and its Rivals

By Ernest Gellner

Published by Hamish Hamilton, 1994

Republished by Penguin Books, 1996

Pages: 225



By Nadeem Omar Tarar


Ernest Gellner, who died on 5 November 1995, was one of the great polymaths of the century. Many of his twenty books were concerned with philosophy, sociology and anthropology. Yet, at the core of his work was an historical question. In the backdrop of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Gellner wrote essays on the origins of civil society which later provided substance for his book Conditions of Liberty which synthesised and extended the thought of a lifetime. In the wake of judicial crisis in the country, a large scale mobilisation of diverse groups across society have taken place, providing a renewed currency and valency to the term 'civil society' in Pakistan. Gellner's works can help initiate the debate on the role of civil society in the country.

Civil society is understood as a set of diverse, non-governmental institutions which are strong enough to counterbalance the state. Without preventing the state from fulfilling its role of peace-keeping and arbitration between major interests, the civil society can, nevertheless, prevent it from dominating and atomising the rest of the society. Underlying the concept of civil society is the notion of institutional and ideological pluralism that prevents the monopoly of power and counterbalances those central institutions which, through necessity might, otherwise acquire such monopoly.

The phrase civil society was used in the philosophies of Locke and Hegel that kept the philosophers busy for some time to come. But the recent emergence of the idea of civil society as a shining emblem for a democratic society, is linked with the developments in the recent political history of the world. The political developments in Eastern Europe, as a result of disintegration of the former USSR, led to an upsurge in the idea of civil society which was found lacking in those societies. It can also be seen, as philosopher-sociologist Ernst Gellner argues, as a backlash to the suppression of ideal and practices of civil society by Marxist regimes in USSR and elsewhere. They firmly declared their central intuition that civil society is a fraud: being handmaiden to the dominating state, it is a facade to hide its oppression. The support for civil society is a bid to hide the complicity of civil society with state, which should go. The withering away of state will pave the way, it was argued, for a just social and moral order, that can take care of itself, without requiring a state or additional institutions to counter balance the central agency. Therefore, the active suppression of the idea of civil society by Marxist regimes and their consequent failure to live up to their own socialist vision, led to the renewed interests in the idea and the yearning for the creation of civil society.

The growing expectation of the people to build up a civil society is not restricted to communist failure alone. In South Asia, it has its own independent roots. Among others, the most important is the hegemonic, over expanded state structures, that has started to crumble under its own weight, creating massive corruption and causing severe problems in the governance of the South Asian countries. The yearning for civil society in former Marxist countries and elsewhere in Asia makes one significant point. That is to say, civil society is not something that is given, it has to be groomed. It's not something that can be cherished as an idea and then imposed on a society by legal frameworks or governmental regulations. It is beyond the reach of an individual efforts or the well wishes of a group. Ernest Gellner outlines the institutional preconditions for the growth of civil society through a historical study of three societies namely Muslim, Marxist and Capitalist west.

Gellner analyses the emergence of distinct cultural forms, over the centuries in the aforementioned diverse societies. He is careful to distinguish between the forms of liberties. He doesn't generalise the conditions of civil society as a token of universal human condition.

Marxism was the first secular belief system to become a world religion, as well as a state ideology. It instituted a social and moral order with its own socio-metaphysics. It was not only moral, but also promised freedom from economic inequality and political oppression. Marxism promised a total salvation, not for an individual but to the total humanity which is reflected in its failure to create life cycles rituals in USSR. Gellner argues: "the great weakness of Marxism may not be so much its formal elimination of the transcendent from religion, but its over-sacralization of the immanent."

The sacralization of social and economic life leaves out the option of retreating into profanity in the times of diminished zeal. With the sacralization of work, the failure in economy is likely to diminish the faith on the sacred. By a strong contrast, the success or the failure of economic activity (since its neutral), doesn't contaminate or effect the faith in Islam. The religious Umma or community of believers, was able to retain its control over its followers, by keeping up the distinction between sacred and profane and thereby, separating economic from religious. Whereas in Marxist societies, with the sacralization of economy and society, the distinction between sacred and profane was collapsed. As a result political economic and ideological hierarchies were united into a single pyramid of bureaucracy. This not only effected the economic performance, but also proved catastrophic for the social soul.

"When the nomenklatura killed each other and accompanied the murderous rampage with blatantly mendacious political theatre, belief survived; but when the nomenklatura switched from shooting to bribing each other, faith evaporated." This observation has serious implication for the civil society. Gellner seems to be asserting that for Marxist regimes, civil society was considered a fraud, not only because of its assumed complicity with state but also due to sacralization of social and economic life. As a result no popular will, expressed through civil society, could be considered legitimate. In the same vein, but due to opposite reasons, in Islamic societies, state was considered as the implementer but not the creator of divine law. As long as it doesn't violate it, the need for an additional institution, expressing the popular will, and holding state accountable for other than divine will, was not considered legitimate. In both cases, there are no grounds for the existence of civil society.

According to Gellner, civil society cannot be imposed from above. Rather, it takes its roots with the gradual evolution of institutional preconditions like the centralisation of authority for maintaining political order and decentralised economic and ideological control. For instance, in Europe, the French centralising monarchy, with its respect for property, prepared grounds for the civil society which modern democracy completed.

Economic decentralism is also considered essential precondition of civil society mainly because of two reasons. In an industrial society, it is not possible for sub units (like a county) to claim the loyalties of all of its members. The possibility of pluralism of politically autonomous, coercive units is rather too remote [unlike in a segmentary society composed of clans, baradaris]. Liberty, on the other hand, as a condition of balance of power of autonomous units, demands such pluralist arrangement. Since the pluralistic structure can not be political, therefore, it has to be economic. Secondly, the existence of genuinely independent productive and property controlling units is also necessary for the economic efficiency and growth.

In this economic pluralist arrangement, however, Gellner doesn't discard the role of state. In contrast, he argues that modern technological innovations and the welfare system can not be managed alone by market, through the enlightened self interests of the individuals. It requires a loose state control. The assigned role of state becomes all the more necessary, when the "pure-market-cum-minimalist-state" model cannot be relied upon. Viewing large scale and irreversible consequences of modern technological innovations on social order, the production process cannot be left in the 'invisible hand' of forces of market. There must be a regulatory body that monitors and effectively checks the productive units without depriving them of their autonomy. In this loose state-economy arrangements, it will be economic growth and ideological pluralism that balances the centralising trends of state. Ideological pluralism or "double think" is also necessary, because these are the cognitive mechanism underlying the technological-economic growth of societies.

One of the adverse consequence of ideological and economic centralism, observable in Marxist societies, is the sacralization of social order. Communist system was a moral order where faith and social order was fused, but in a civil society it is reversed. The circle between faith, power and society is broken up. In a civil society, social order is not sacralized. With the desacralization of social order, the social cooperation, loyalty and solidarity do not require a shared faith, instead they require a shared doubt. In contrast to Durkhemian sociology, where man has a organic relationship with society marked by religion and ritual, Gellner makes a strong case for social modularity of modern man, as a essential precondition for civil society. Social modularity makes people capable of combing effective innovations and institutions without these being stranded. The formation of specific purpose, ad-hoc and limited organisation signifies a shift from status to contract form of social relationships. The transition from a moral order to a functional, pragmatic compromise is aided by economic prosperity and growth. Increase in economic growth facilities this delicate balance of power between desacralized, autonomous, economic units, under lose political control and keeps this strategic balance of forces in play, ensuring civil liberties in modern societies.