This paper analyzes how newspaper readers conceptualize militancy, militants, and terrorism in Pakistan. This paper argues that he way a particular discourse conceptualizes a terrorist also, by implication, suggests a particular way of dealing with them. Some discourses may imply a military solution and others may require a political solution depending upon how the terrorists are discursively constructed. Analysis of these discourses about terrorists draws our attention to the hegemonic and counter-hegemonic discourses and their relation to power. Study of these discourses allows us to view the print media as a site of contestation where individuals exercise their agency by discursively challenging and resisting hegemonic discourses. We have used Gramsci’s theory of hegemony as discussed by Boggs (1984), Ives (2004), and Mouffe (1979) to identify hegemonic discourses that construct reality in a particular way to perpetuate unequal power relations. This paper concludes writers become conduits through which the state transmits its ruling ideas and establishes its regressive hegemony by making people consent to their exploitative conditions in which they suffer violence and oppression without questioning the role of the state.
Keywords: Pakistan, Terrorism, Militancy, Gramsci, Laclau, Mouffe.