Demand for Nizam-i-Mustafa: In the elections in 1970, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party had emerged as the single largest party in West Pakistan. Bhutto had denounced the Tashkent Agreement (January 1966) entered into between India and Pakistan, to end the Indo-Pak war, and had resigned from his Foreign Minister’s job in Ayub Khan’s cabinet. Bhutto had vowed several times during his election campaigns to fight for a thousand years with India. His anti-Indianism and his social slogan of Roti, Kapda and Makan’ (bread, clothing and shelter) were the secret of his success in the elections.
After his assumption of power in the residual Pakistan (December 1971), Bhutto’s hold on power started slipping away as the people’s disenchantment started growing over his failure to redeem his promises of economic progress and social uplift and his preference for personalised rule over development of durable institutions. The religious groups mounted an assault on him and his governance, calling for the introduction of ‘Nizam-i-Mustafa’, (administration of the Prophet). Though not Islamic by temperament, Bhutto sought to buy peace with the orthodox groups through concessions. Qadianis were finally declared non-Muslims by law. Friday was made into a weekly holiday. Orthodox groups were allowed to get a foothold in the educational system.
Under the 1981 directives from the University Grants Commission for the rewriting of history books, the students were to be educated to accept without reservation, Pakistan as an Islamised state and Islam as its ideology.
General Zia-ul-Haq’s military coup of 1977 ended the socialist experiment of Bhutto and introduced an era during which the political philosophy of Islamic orthodoxy was to make momentous advances. In seeking legitimacy for his rule, Zia leaned more and more towards values and interpretation of Islamic tenets. Religious groups, particularly the JI, saw this as an opportunity to penetrate into the power structure of the state through which they could influence the polity even more. Each served the most intense need of the other and together they brought more obscurantism into Pakistan than had ever existed before. Growth of obscurantism of course, ensured that the two-nation theory would remain in place and relations with India could not change for the better. Their collaboration distanced modernity from Pakistan and. led to an environment, which hampered the return of democracy to Pakistan post Zia.
Rewriting of History
Zia started with a missionary zeal and left no one in doubt that he considered Islamisation of Pakistan society as his paramount duty. Objectives of education were fundamentally altered and the history of Pakistan rewritten so that new doctrines could be imbibed from a tender age and the citizen grew with a proper ideological identity. Secular and liberal values were to be eliminated and substituted with Islamic ones. Under the 1981 directives from the University Grants Commission for the rewriting of history books, the students were to be educated to accept without reservation, Pakistan as an Islamised state and Islam as its ideology.
The Hindu was described as forever conspiring to seek domination. The interests of both the religious orthodox and the military were served by suitably linking such images with India.
The themes of the rewritten history textbooks were then generally the following:
- The ‘ideology of Pakistan’ both as a historical force which motivated the movement for Pakistan as well as its raisonde-etre.
- The depiction of Jinnah as a man of orthodox religious views who sought the creation of a thepcratic state.
- A move to establish the Ullema as the genuine heroes of the Pakistan Movement.
- An emphasis on ritualistic Islam, together with a rejection of liberal interpretations of the religion and generation of communal antagonism.”9
The ‘ideology of Pakistan’, still without a definition in any official document, thus came to be invested with the status of national dogma. Jinnah had never used this phrase. The words had been used for the first time in 1951 in the manifesto of JI, which had also clarified that efforts to include secularism or any other foreign ideology as tantamount to hitting at the roots of Pakistan. Recognition of the phrase was not merely an index of the influence of the JI with the establishment; it also signified to what extent Islam was considered essential for the preservation of the prevailing state order.
The new history textbooks describe the two-nation theory as the original parent of ideology of Pakistan and the latter as the inheritor of the mantle of the former. The two-nation theory, therefore, still remains a basic element in the thinking processes of the establishment. The emphasis in the textbooks on the ritualistic observances of Islam enabled them to underplay the social and egalitarian aspects of Islam.
Emphasis on Islam exacerbated feelings against non-Muslims such as the Hindus and the Qadianis. Lectures from the pulpits were often laced with propaganda of communal hatred. The Hindu was described as forever conspiring to seek domination.
If the minority view was correct according to Islamic injunctions he wanted it to prevail over the majority view
The interests of both the religious orthodox and the military were served by suitably linking such images with India.
On seizing power (July 1977) Zia had announced that elections would be held within three months but his priorities soon changed to Islamising Pakistan. Many of his pronouncements in this context would have done Maulana Maudoodi proud. He categorically stated that Islamisation of Pakistani society had become his top priority and elections could not be held until this objective had been secured. He even challenged the concept of elections on adult suffrage and questioned the principle of the rule by majority if it failed to arrive at correct Islamic decisions.
If the minority view was correct according to Islamic injunctions he wanted it to prevail over the majority view. In this way, by indicating that Koran and Sunnah would be his guides, he sought a divine right to rule, unmindful of the temporal requirements of contemporary political thought and domestic needs.
Zia took his Islamic zeal to defining a new role for the Armed Forces. He called them protectors of the ideological frontiers as well, not just territorial frontiers, since Pakistan was created on the basis of the two-nation theory and its ideology made them soldiers of Islam.10
Zia’s programme added great substance to the Islamisation process, but only in specified fields, which largely interested the orthodox elements. Shariat benches were set up in each provincial High Court with an appellate bench in the Supreme Court in 1979 but the provincial benches were replaced by a Federal Shariat Court in 1980.
A compulsory tax of Zakat was made applicable to certain investments.
Four Hudood Ordinances were issued prescribing Koranic punishments like amputation, stoning to death, etc. for offences like theft and adultery. Higher representation was given to the Ullema in the Council of Islamic ideology. Prayer breaks were officially introduced in government offices. An Islamic university was brought into existence in Islamabad. The educational system was reorganised, as already mentioned. Women were subjected to a dress code and discouraged from participation in sports, stage activities, etc. A compulsory tax of Zakat was made applicable to certain investments. The Ahmedias, already declared non-Muslims by Bhutto’s regime, were now prohibited from calling their religious places as Masjids or using Koranic verses or Islamic symbols. In June 1988, a Sharia ordinance was issued declaring Sharia to be the supreme source of laws and ‘the grand norm for guidance for policy making’.
The Ahmedias, already declared non-Muslims by Bhuttos regime, were now prohibited from calling their religious places as Masjids or using Koranic verses or Islamic symbols.
The Objectives Resolution had envisaged two classes of citizens for Pakistan, Muslims and non-Muslims, not with identical rights. Zia’s policy of Islamisation which eventually converted into one of Shariatisation divided Muslims also, leading to sectarianism and large scale sectarian violence, apart from the targeting of the non-Muslims. The Sunnis and the Shias established their own militant organisations, Sipahe-Sahiban and Sipah-e-Mohammed to fight each other.
Now the Sunnis are demanding declaration of Shias as nonMuslims. The Zakat funding of Madrassas in Punjab increased from Rs. 9.4 million in 1980-81 to Rs. 68.96 million in 1986-87, their number going up from 636 to 2084 in the same period. A student of 5th class, apart from knowledge of Koran was expected to state clearly the differences between a Muslim and a Hindu.
The pictorial aid for teaching alphabets at the primary level had ‘kaf and ‘zoye’ standing for Kafir and Zalim respectively, with illustrative pictures of a Hindu Pandit and turbaned Sikh respectively. The virus of hatred was not only kept flourishing, but its scope was also being extenaed. The Blasphemy Law against religious minorities was another benchmark in this murky exercise.
The presence in neighbouring Afghanistan of the Taliban who accept no moderation and who have spawned a new form of Islamic extremism constitute a danger to all countries in the region. The Taliban believe that their Jehad brought down to its knees one super power
Zia’s policies have made the orthodox groups an integral part of the political parameters of the country even though their public support has not grown. The civilian governments that followed Zia’s regime have had to go along with the Shariatised polity. During her second stint as Prime Minister (1993 October to 1996 November) Benazir Bhutto had tried to amend the Blasphemy Law but the effort had to be abandoned following intense opposition.
General Parvez Musharraf who seized power through a coup on October 12, 1999 twice had to bow down to pressures from the religious groups, first when he withdrew the amendments to this very law, and second, when he amended the Provincial Constitution Order 2000, by restoring all the Islamic features of the 1973 Constitution that had been dropped after his coup. His directives to the Madrassas to fill up a questionnaire seeking statistical data have been treated with contempt, suggesting that Islamic might is now stronger than the might of the Armed Forces in Pakistan.
The presence in neighbouring Afghanistan of the Taliban who accept no moderation and who have spawned a new form of Islamic extremism constitute a danger to all countries in the region. The Taliban believe that their Jehad brought down to its knees one super power, the Soviet Union. They have strong links with fundamentalist organisations in Pakistan and together they dream of creating a new Ummah across the world, much in the image of what the Muslims achieved in the 7th and 8th centuries. In 1988, the Taliban Supremo Mullah Omar had declared support for Jehad in Kashmir.
General Musharraf has echoed the same thought later, converting Jehad over Kashmir into state policy. Volunteers for Jehad are training at several centres, the most notable of which are Darool-ul-uloom, Haqqania of Maulana Samiul Huq and Muridke, head quarters of Lashkar-e-Toiba. Samiul Huq would like to lay his hands on a nuclear bomb if he can get it, no doubt to carry forward his aim of a Muslim International through an Islamic bomb. The animus, nurtured by the two-nation theory, has been taken to monumental heights by its succeeding Avatar, the Ideology of Pakistan.
- Fatahyab Ali Khan: 'Objective of Pakistan Movement', Islamabad Daily, Muslim, May 4, 1984, as quoted by Saroosh Irfani, 'The Progressive Islamic Movement', ed. Asghar Khan, p. 62.
- From a broadcast to USA, recorded in Feb 1948, quoted in F Ali Khan, 'Objective'.
- K Bahadur: 'The Jamait-I-Islami' of Pakistan, Lahore, Progressive Books, 1978, p. 50, as quoted by Abbas Rashid, 'Pakistan, The Ideological Dimension, p. 83, ed. Asghar Khan.
- Ardeshir Cowasji: Frontier Post, July 4-5, 2000, as quoted in Pot of August 1, 2000, p. 3160.
- Feroze Ahmed: 'Pakistan's Problems of National Integration', p. 229, ed. Asghar Khan.
- Percival Spear: 'A History of India' p. 235, as quoted by Blinkenberg, p.44.
- Sisir Gupta: op cit, p. 45, as quoted by Blinkenberg p. 52.
- Azhar Hamid: et al 'Mutalliyah-I-Pakistan', (Islamabad, Allama Iqbal Open University, 1983), p. 32, as quoted in 'Islam, Politics and State', ed. Asghar Khan, p. 175.
- Parvez Amir Ali Hoodbhoy and Abdul Hamid Nayyar: 'Rewriting History of Pakistan', p. 165, Asghar Khan et aL
- Hasan"Askari Rizvi: 'Military, State and Society Pakistan', Macmillan Press Ltd. 2000, p. 181.