Poetry, power, protest: Reimagining Muslim nationhood in Northern Pakistan

Document Type



Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


This article examines the role of poetry in illuminating and challenging the meaning of citizenship in the border region of Gilgit-Baltistan, which is located in the north of Pakistan and is internationally considered as forming part of Pakistani Kashmir. Ali discusses how poetic performances constitute a critical public arena for protesting political dispossession and for nurturing a postsectarian, religious harmony in the region. The article also complicates our understanding of the state, as several of the poets in Gilgit work for the local government. From this overlapping position as local inhabitants and state officials, they seek to create spaces of poetic reflection that can help reshape the state as well as society in Gilgit-Baltistan.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East