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This article argues that the discourse of viability of civil society in postcolonial polities is theoretically ungrounded, and helps to further marginalize subordinated sections of these societies. These failings result from the imprisonment of dominant social theories in Eurocentric unilinear evolutionism, an imprisonment that blinds one from the particularities of supposedly universal categories that issue from Europe's experience of modernity. Furthermore, enthusiasm for civil society ignores the truncated colonial career of modernity and the nature of the postcolonial state. In order to substantiate these propositions, the paper traces the genealogy of the concept of civil society, examines the colonial career of modernity, and analyses the nature of the postcolonial state using Pakistan as an example.