The history of industrial capitalism and its modes of domination is intimately linked to that of violent entrepreneurs deploying their coercive resources at the service of workplace discipline, the extraction of surplus value and the securitization of the accumulation cycle. The relationship between capital and coercion is always fraught with tensions, though, and sustains new vulnerabilities among security-consuming elites. The manufacturing economy of Karachi is a particularly fertile ground for studying this endogenous production of insecurity by security devices. The relations between Karachi’s factory owners and their guards have generated their own economy of suspicion. Various attempts to conjure this shaky domination have generated new uncertainties, calling for new methods of control to keep the guards themselves under watch.

With a population exceeding twenty million, Karachi is already one of the largest cities in the world. It could even become the world’s largest city by 2030. Karachi is also the most violent of these megacities. Since the mid-1980s, it has endured endemic political conflict and criminal violence, which revolve around control of the city and its resources. These struggles for the city have become ethnicised. Karachi, often referred to as a “Pakistan in miniature”, has become increasingly fragmented, socially as well as territorially. Notwithstanding this chronic state of urban political warfare, Karachi is the cornerstone of the economy of Pakistan. Despite what journalistic accounts describing the city as chaotic and anarchic tend to suggest, there is indeed order of a kind in the city’s permanent civil war. Far from being entropic, Karachi’s polity is predicated upon relatively stable patterns of domination, rituals of interaction and forms of arbitration, which have made violence “manageable” for its populations – even if this does not exclude a chronic state of fear, which results from the continuous transformation of violence in the course of its updating. Whether such “ordered disorder” is viable in the long term remains to be seen, but for now Karachi works despite—and sometimes through—violence.

Pakistan was created in 1947 by leaders of the Muslim minority of the British Raj in order to give them a separate
state. Islam was defined by its founder, Jinnah, in the frame of his “two-nation theory,” as an identity marker
(cultural and territorial). His ideology, therefore, contributed to an original form of secularization, a form that is
not taken into account by Charles Taylor in his theory of secularization – that the present text intends to test and
supplement. This trajectory of secularization went on a par with a certain form of secularism which, this time,
complies with Taylor’s definition. As a result, the first two Constitutions of Pakistan did not define Islam as an
official religion and recognized important rights to the minorities. However, Jinnah’s approach was not shared
by the Ulema and the fundamentalist leaders, who were in favor of an islamization policy. The pressures they
exerted on the political system made an impact in the 1970s, when Z.A. Bhutto was instrumentalizing Islam. Zia’s
islamization policy made an even bigger impact on the education system, the judicial system and the fiscal system,
at the expense of the minority rights. But Zia pursued a strategy of statization of Islam that had been initiated
by Jinnah and Ayub Khan on behalf of different ideologies, which is one more illustration of the existence of an
additional form of secularization that has been neglected by Taylor.