Pakistan has been a victim of religious extremism orchestrated through the self_x0002_centred religious misinterpretations by the distinct stakeholders (religious groups), subservient to their vested interests. These religious interpretations and their subsequent discursive manifestation in extremist narratives have always been a challenge for the governments in Pakistan’s religiopolitical history. This article critically analyses the significance of Paigham-e_x0002_Pakistan (meaning literally as ‘message of Pakistan’) issued by the government of Pakistan in the shape of a ‘fatwa’ (fatwa is referred as an authoritative legal opinion by a competent religious scholar in Islamic Legal Jurisprudence) as a counter-narrative to defeat extremist ideologies. This article explains how a fatwa (speech act) plays its instrumental role in neutralizing the religiously sacralized extremist narratives by the anti-state groups. Critical discourse analysis methodology charts three-level analysis (1) Actor Description Analysis, (2) Action Attribution and (3) Socio-cognitive Imprints to analyse Paigham-e-Pakistan in detail that unfolds the discursive formulation of distinct metaphors (i.e. infidel) and their use and abuse while interpreting religious commandments to attain desired indoctrinations. It is learned that these discursive notions infused by metaphorical representations are instrumental to the construction of in-group and out-group identities, us (positive) and them (negative) postures, humanization (dehumanization) and socio-cognitive imprinting for future conditioning of the events by an individual. Paigham-e-Pakistan has attempted to counter extremist narratives in its capacity and needs to widen its scope while the state must restrict extremists through further policy guidelines, checking their ingress to the public sphere.
Critical Discourse Analysis, Paigham-e-Pakistan, Counter-Narrative, Religious extremism, Fatwa, Pakistan.