Islam and the Ideology of Pakistan

Smruti S. Pattanaik,Researcher,IDSA

The recent passage of the Shariat legislation seeking amendment of the Constitution in Pakistan has once again raised questions about religion and ideology in Pakistan. Religion plays an important role as a primodial identity in politics. In politics, difficulties arise as to what should be the boundary of such interaction and what should be the limit as well as the right blend so that religion can be attributed as a positive factor in the national integration and provide political legitimacy to the rulers. Religion has been misused rather than used in state construct of nation-building in Pakistan. Mixing religion with politics has not only induced a sense of insecurity among the minorities but very often has limited their freedom of expression. Religion in the context of a secular state has a very limited role for the state, but in the case of democracy and party politics, it plays a greater role in terms of political mobilisation. Here a question arises: has democracy sharpened religious cleavages? The answer is in the affirmative, because mass mobilisation is one of the cardinal principles of democracy. In most South Asian countries, a majority of the electorate is illiterate. Thus, it is the primodial identity which appeals to them the most. It is interesting to note that in the case of Pakistan, though over the years there has been an upsurge of Islamic revivalism, it never got transformed into votes. In the first ever general elections held in 1970, none of the religious parties was able to demonstrate its support base through votes in the elections. This essay tries to analyse the factors involved in the Islamic upsurge and its consequences on the Pakistani society.

Religious cleavages in a state founded on religion have a limited role to play in the context of mass mobilisation but slogans like "threat to the religion" are often exploited by the elites to mobilise the masses. This is true in the case of Pakistan. At various points of time in its political history, religion has been exploited to gain cheap popularity and fight political opponents. In Pakistan, religion has not only provided a political foundation to the country but has provided legitimacy to the military rulers.

Islam in Politics: Pre-Independence Era

The consolidation of a distinct Muslim identity had started even before the idea of Pakistan germinated in the minds of the intellectuals. The quest for such an identity can be identified with the Mujaheedin movement which had started under the leadership of Syed Ahmad Brelvi who wanted to purify the Muslims, mostly converts from Hinduism, from the influence of Hindu culture and religion. The madrassas in Deobandh, and the Mohammedan Educational Conference provided awareness to the Muslims as a distinct socio-cultural and religious group and led to the emergence of the pan-Indian Muslim consciousness movement.

Islam, however, became politically useful after the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. For the first time, the mutiny unified Indians against British imperialism. But the kind of emotional appeal it generated especially among the Muslims (and for that matter, also among non-Muslims) was noticed by intellectuals. Freedom from religious encroachment became a new ideology and the Muslims of the subcontinent were convinced that their religion would continue to be in danger in the British regime. The elites, as a writer points out, "managed to foster a degree of general Muslim identification with issues like lack of education, discrimination in employment, inadequate political representation, etc. Thus, while their use of Islam may have been subjectively opportunistic, it was nevertheless effective given the context."1 Initially, Syed Ahmad Khan and other Muslim Leaguers, comprising mostly Western educated elites, were not anti-British in their approach and orientation. They believed that by cooperating with the British, the Muslims would gain in political terms. Thus, no anti-British effort was encouraged. The Muslim thinking process can be deciphered from the diary of Lady Minto who wrote in 1910 regarding Aga Khan's visit. According to that source, "...he (Agha Khan) said that the only real way to appeal to the feelings of natives is by means of superstitution of their religion, and consequently he has instructed the priests in every mosque to issue a decree that any Mohammadans who incite to rebellion or go about preaching sedation will be eternally damned."2 Of course, there is no doubt that the British encouraged the Muslim Leaguers and used them as a centre of power to counter the Congress. In order to maintain and strengthen their rule, the British widened the cleavages of Hindu-Muslim differences by providing separate electorates (Indian Council Act 1909) and partitioning Bengal. Moreover, the presence of Hindu hardliners exerting a decisive say in the Congress consolidated the differences between the two communities and alienated the Muslims further. This was corroborated by the lack of political accommodative attitude displayed by the Congress leadership to include the Muslim leaders in the decision making process. The Muslims believed that they would politically benefit more by separating themselves from the Congress leadership. The creation of the Hindu Mahasabha reflected the growth of Hindu militants' influence over the hardliners in the Congress. This caused discomfiture to the Muslim leadership and the Muslim League was born more or less out of insecurity among the Muslims with the rise of radical Hindu religious groups.

The Muslim League was opposed by the traditionalists, who were anti-British. They accused the former of cooperating with a foreign power against the Islamic Caliphate and Pan-Islamism. These traditionalists had a profound influence over the Muslims in the rural areas and they were actively cooperating with the Congress. Such an association added to the secular credentials of the Congress. To demonstrate its concern for Muslim sentiments, the Congress cooperated with these traditional groups against the British in the Khilafat Movement. This, for the first time, mobilised the Muslims on the basis of religion. Though this movement was an exhibition of Hindu-Muslim unity, for the first time, it awakened the Muslims, rekindled their consciousness and made them aware of their potential to fight the British, and this politicised them. These changes were keenly observed by the educated Muslim elites which convinced them they could create a separate constituency for effective mass mobilisation on the basis of religion to acheive their goal. After the 1937 elections, when the Congress captured power in seven out of eleven constituencies, the Muslims' insecurity about a possible Hindu domination became more entrenched in their psyche. This is because the Muslims largely perceived the Congress as a Hindu party and thus believed that its ideology and political interests were more oriented towards the preservation of majority culture and political interests.

For the first time during the British rule, creation of a separate entity for the Muslims within or without the British Empire was given a territorial shape by Mohammad Iqbal in his presidential address to the annual session of the Muslim League in 1930. The League did not even have a quorum of 75 members.3 His scheme of the state, however, included only north-west India. He clearly defined this culturally contigious areas as a constituent geographical entity for the new state. However, Iqbal prescribed cultural uniqueness to be co-terminous with territoriality. He definitely argued for autonomy rather than independence; nonetheless he was first to impinge on the idea of territoriality to mobilise the Muslims, and provided a direction to the Muslim League. The Lahore Resolution adopted by the Muslim League clearly defined the territoriality of the proposed Muslim state by including the north-western and eastern zones of India to be grouped together to constitute independent states where the units would be autonomous. It is interesting to note here that the resolution did not mention anything about the state being based on Islamic ideology. About the ideological basis of the two-nation theory, Iqbal, also known for his secular credentials, was more articulate and candid when he remarked. "...Yet I love the communal group which is the source of my life and my behaviour and which has formed me as what I am by giving me its religion, its literature, its thought, its culture, and therby recreating its whole past, as a living operative factor, in my present consciousness."4 In the 1937 provincial elections, the Muslim League only won 108 seat out of the fixed quota of 484 seats for the Muslims. The idea of a Muslim state emerged in the minds of many Muslim leaders when the Congress backtracked from the agreed policies on the coalition government with the Muslim League. Finally, after a long and tedious process, Pakistan was born as a nation embodying the Muslim aspirations.

Islam in Politics: Post-Independence Era

The creation of Pakistan was based on the ideology of Islam which provided legitimacy to the leadership and established a monolithic Islamic affinity transcending the political, economic and social realms. There is a great deal of difference between Jinnah's idea of Pakistan as a state and the shape it took later. Brought up in a Western environment, religious orthodoxy never appealed to Jinnah. He, therefore, confined his idea of Pakistan to an embodiment of the fundamental principles of Islam based on liberal ideology. The political elites believed that in the course of time, the introduction of liberal democracy would marginalise the fundamentalist elements represented by the Jamaat-i-Islami and other Islamic parties. However, the irony is, "...some expect it to appear as soon as religious faith is circumscribed or dropped."5 Islam proved to be a powerful instrument in the hands of politicians in the time of "uncertainty and confusion over the raison d'etre of Pakistani society and the goal it had meant to pursue."6 Feudalism and economic disparity undermined the liberal political system which the elites wanted to establish.

After the creation of Pakistan, the contour of its state structure was debated. The nature of the state, including its ideology, was discussed. Since religion had played an important role in the creation of Pakistan, the role of religion in the context of an independent Pakistan assumed significance. Jinnah, from the very inception of the state, made it clear that Pakistan was not going to be a theocratic state ruled by religious priests. Advocating equal citizenship to all communities and hinting at religious freedom which would unshackle any kind of religious identity, in his inaugural address to the Constituent Assembly, he said " the course of time, Hindus will cease to be Hindus, and Muslims will cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of the individual, but in the political sense as citizens of one nation."7 While framing the Constitution of Pakistan, a debate had ensued in the Constituent Assembly regarding the contour of the Constitution and its Islamic content. The unitary formula of the state was approved by stating that it is in consonance with Islam. Moreover, the political elites of Pakistan, comprising the Muslim bourgeoise, feudal lords and bureaucratic elites, were not in favour of as Islamic state: rather they wanted to confine the role of Islam to cultural identity. This is due to the fact that "the system of education under which they were educated made them familiar with only the Western type of democracy based on the principle of separation of religion from politics....Their position was subsequently strengthened by Pakistan's alignment and dependence on the West in economic and defence matters."8 Another interesting facet of the movement for Pakistan is that it was not supported by religious group, who went to the extent of declaring Jinnah a kafir (infidel). After the creation of Pakistan the ulema lacked credibility due to their known opposition to the creation of Pakistan. Hence, to prove their credentials and commitment to Islam, they tried to press for the Shariat to be the basis of the Constitution. The demand became more convincing because "the very ideology of Muslim nationalism, howsoever ambigiously formulated and wrapped in populist terminology, contained immanently a religious character."9

Soon after independence, serious problems to Pakistan's sovereignty and integrity were posed by the Balochis and Pathans who demanded seccession due to historical and ethnic factors. Realising the potential of such challenges to national integration, the political elites tried to reorient Islam in order to neutralise sub-national identities. Thus, the Islamic identity was displayed overzealously and people were urged to be sensitive to the Islamic ethos and culture as their only identity which is co-terminous with their Pakistani identity (a state based on religion). What is significant in the case of Pakistan is that the necessary binding force of religion became redundant inside Pakistan and could not be manipulated to consolidate the Pakistanis' separate identity. Notwithstanding the obsoleteness of Muslim identity inside Pakistan, Islam was projected as a kind of national identity. The elites assumed that such common identity would relegate the importance of sub-national identities and make them virtually ineffective. But in the process, they forgot that consolidating a spectrum of identities into a broad single identity can be effectively converted into a unified political force and mobilised to build a strong nation only when confronted with a separate contesting identity as was the case in British India i.e. Hindu vs Muslim identity. The Islamic principles as incorporated in the 1956 Constitution required that the head of the state should be a Muslim. No laws could be enacted by the legislature which were "repugnant to the injunctions of Islam." The judiciary could not intervene in case the National Assembly enacted a law according to the Islamic prescription. Thus, while incorporating some Islamic symbols and ideas, the elites were conscious of the contours and knew the limitations of such manipulations.

After the creation of Pakistan, the local leadership tried to snatch power from the refugee leadership who had spearheaded the movement for Pakistan. The simmering tussle for power by various groups inside Pakistan sharpened the regional ethnic identity. Thus, discrimination ceased to have any religious connotation—rather it was converted into power struggle having regional and sub-national implications. Antagonism between the ruler and the ruled was built on the basis of various socio-cultural and linguistic identities.

It seems that apart from political reasons causing a delay in the framing of the Pakistani Constitution, another reason for its postponement as late as 1956 was that Jinnah was not willing to allow religion to have pre-eminence in the Constitution. Thus, immediately after his death, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan formed a committee of the ulema to decide the Islamic guidelines for Pakistan's Constitution. However, the Objectives Resolution which was adopted by the Constituent Assembly in March 1949, was criticised by Hindu members for obvious reasons and the radical Islamists also rejected it by describing it as far short of Islamic ideals.10 Liaquat Ali Khan would not have allowed it to be abrasively Islamic because he understood the implications it could later have for the minorities. The ruling elites while mobilising the Muslims of British India were not unaware of the fact that the movement for Pakistan focussing solely on Islam would make them vulnerable to pressures from religious fundamentalists after the creation of Pakistan. The views of the ulema were accommodated to a large extent in the 1956 Constitution by endorsing certain Islamic principles and declaring Pakistan as an Islamic Republic. However, Islam was not declared the state religion. The Jamaat-i-Islami led by Manlana Mohammad Maudoodi and other religious parties played an important role in giving an Islamic orientation to the Pakistani polity11 through the Objectives Resolution.

The orthodox religious groups could not have the desired influence in the Constitution making process. Being extremely enthusiastic about the new state of Pakistan, the elites wanted to build Pakistan as an idealistic state, keeping in mind the inspirations of the freedom struggle and commensurate with their Western education. All these had prevented them from allying with orthodox religious groups. The orthodox religious views, for the first time in Pakistan's history, found political expression when their demand to expel the Ahmadiyas (viewed as heretical by most Muslims due to their rejection of the finality of Mohammad's prophethood) surfaced in 1953 in the province of Punjab. The inadequacy and vulnerability of the Western educated elites were displayed blatantly when they imposed martial law for the first time in Pakistani history to bring the situation under control. As Rashid Ahmed has observed, "From being concerned exclusively with the defence of Pakistan's geographical frontiers, the army had taken its first step towards becoming an artibiter in the realm of ideology."12 However, for the first time, this also demonstrated the effectiveness of Islam as a political force in the hands of the Opposition which consequently disarmed the politicians ideologically. Though many of the ruling elites were convinced about the misuse of Islam and its future implications, they lacked the strength to say so openly in an Islamic country without being criticised by fundamentalist or religious groups who had strengthened their hold on certain sections of the masses.

One of the significant factors in Pakistani politics is that various interpretations of Islam have made it difficult to evolve a common bond of allegiance. Thus, the government could not find a single binding link to evolve Islamic ideology. The Enquiry Commission that was appointed to look into the anti-Ahmediya riots highlighted the internal incongruencies and contradictions in the ideas of orthodox religious bodies who are presumed to be authorities on matters of religion and ideology. The Commission recommended, "Nothing but a bold reorientation of Islam to separate the vital from the lifeless can preserve it as a world idea and convert the Mussalman into a citizen of the present and future world from the archiac incongruity that he is today."13 In the cause of its enquiry, the Commission interviewed leaders from other sects. The ulema themselves were not unanimous in their definition of Islam. This deficiency is reported in Chief Justice Mohammad Munir's report which reads "...keeping in view the several definitions given by the ulema, need we make any comment except that no two learned divines are agreed on this fundamental. If we attempt our own definition as each learned divine has done and that definition differs from that given by all others, we unanimously go out of the fold of Islam. And if we adopt the definition given by one of the ulema, we remain Muslims according to the view of that alim (scholar) but kafirs (infidels) according to the definition of everyone else."14 Almost all the political elites have sought the blessings of orthodox groups in political matters to consolidate their rule, legitimise their regime or simply, achieve political objectives.

In comparision to the previous Presidential incumbents, the 1962 Constitution, framed by the Ayub government removed the label of Islamic Republic by rationalising that the state could not be theocratic because there was no priesthood in Islam, and as such, it is "theocratic only to the extent that real sovereignty belongs to God."15 Important changes were also made in the Preamble i.e. from the paragraph which use to read "...the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits as prescribed by Him (Allah) is a sacred trust," the words "within the limits prescribed by Him" were removed. In the first Constitutional Amendment Act, however, Ayub reinstated the phrase Islamic Republic of Pakistan under pressure from religious parties. His secular credentials were confirmed when he implemented the recommendation of the 1955 Commission in the shape of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance of 1961. Manzur Qadir, Ayub's Foreign Minister, was candid in his observation when he said that the greatest obstacle in the way of framing an Islamic Constitution is the existence of 72 sects among the Muslims and their different interpretations of the Quran and Sunnah. However, Ayub Khan did not hesitate to use Islam for his confirmation in power. During the 1965 elections, he took the help of orthodox religious groups to issue a fatwa to delegitimise the contesting of Fatima Jinnah, Jinnah's sister, for presidentship of Pakistan on religious grounds that a women cannot become the head of an Islamic state. It is well known that he cultivated Pirs and Mashaiks to seek political legitimacy. During Yahya Khan's rule, in 1971, the ulema also supported the government for the Army action in East Pakistan because they considered the Bengalis to be less Islamic. Thus, it was not only the political leadership who gained from the partnership with these groups but the orthodox groups also consolidated themselves politically and became well entrenched in the system. Till Ayub Khan's period, the policies pursued were in conformity with liberal Islam and religion was considered largely a private matter. However, during Ayub Khan's period, under pressure, the liberals quickly yielded to the Islamist lobby for reasons of expediency and convenience. More often than not, such efforts lacked credibility, stemming from an opportunistic and often cynical use of religion by these who were seen as liberal and secular in outlook.16

In the 1970 elections, the Pakistan's Peoples Party (PPP) fought the election on the plank of anti-Indianism (nationalism?) and economic issues rather on any religious issue. Z.A. Bhutto declared that the question of Islam in the political context of Pakistan is irrelevant because both the exploiters and the exploited are Muslims. Bhutto slowly dithered from socialism due to domestic compulsions and pursued Islamic idioms. Being unable to fulfill its poll commitments, his party, the PPP gave in to cheap populism. Moreover, relegating Islamic fervour to the background was not appreciated by his political opponents like the Muslim League or the Jamaat-i-Islami. Thus he used the term "Islamic socialism" to gain political legitimacy. Bhutto emphasised on strengthening Pakistan's ties with the Muslim states of the Middle East and stressed Islamic unity. This heightened the sense of Islamic identity in Pakistan. The orthodox parties taking advantage of Bhutto's failure to conform to their brand of Islam, demanded Nizam-i-Mustafa (Golden Age of Mohammad's rule). To please these groups, he passed a law approving minority status for the Ahmediyas, and also allowed enough leverage to the orthodox parties in the educational institutions to satisfy the radical groups. In April 1977, Bhutto announced a set of Shariat laws banning horse racing and drinking of alchohol, and declared Friday as the official holiday in conformity with Islamic ideology on July 1, 1977.

Due to corruption and his failure to bring about economic changes, nine Opposition parties formed an alliance under the umbrella of Pakistan National Alliance (PNA). The PPP in its election manifesto used the word Musawat-i-Mohammad which means equality of Mohammad and Islami Musawat (Islamic equality). Other things which were promised included the teaching of the Holy Quran, an integral part and a centre of community life, establishing a federal ulema academy and other institutions and a variety of concessions to Islam.17 In spite of this limited experimentation with the tenets of Islam, the election was rigged to ensure the victory of the PPP and, hence, the PNA boycotted the elections. Thus, Islamisation adopted during Bhutto's period can be characterised as a strategy of regime survival.

During General Zia's period, Islam18 was used to consolidate his hold on power, legitimise his rule and exclude any threat to his government. Zia declared himself a practising Muslim to portray himself as a pious Muslim eligible to rule an Islamic state. After taking over, Zia praised the spirit of Islam that had characterised the anti-Bhutto movement. In his address to the nation on July 5, 1977, he said, "It proves that Pakistan which was created in the name of Islam, will continue to survive only if it sticks to Islam. That is why I consider the introduction of the Islamic system as an essential prerequisite for the country."19 Unlike Bhutto, Zia lacked mass support, so political legitimisation through Islam was the only viable option available to him. The support for his kind of Islamisation was provided by the Jamaat-i-Islami. Its inflence can be envisaged from the fact that it joined the military government, and by 1979, many of its members had accepted federal ministership. However, the Jamaat-i-Islami, not convinced of Islamisation by a military dictator, accepted Zia only for short-term political goals.

In 1979, Zia banned all forms of political activities. Moreover, he did not hold the proposed elections but tried his best to consolidate his rule with the help of fundamentalist groups. So Pakistan moved in the direction of dictatorship in the garb of Islamisation rather than democracy. On December1, 1984, Zia announced elections to be held on a non-party basis. The main issue or theme of this farcical election was that people would be asked to vote on a single question: "whether they supported the process initiated by the government for Islamisation of all laws in accordance with the Holy Quran and Sunnah and whether they supported the Islamic ideology of Pakistan." He further said that a affirmative vote would not only usher in an era of Islamic values but would also serve as a vote of confidence by electing him as the President of Pakistan for the next five years. To increase the appeal to the illiterate masses and make his election a symbolic representation of Islam, it was reported that the "Yes" column was printed in green. To avoid any kind of opposition to, or boycott of, his proposed election, which could complicate his hold on power, Zia announced boycott to be a criminal offence, punishable by three years in prison. The Council of Islamic Ideology, constituted by Zia, announced that elections on the basis of political parties are un-Islamic and unlawful according to the teaching of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah.

Zia further proposed that all the laws passed by the Majlis-i-Shoora, which was established by him, would be reviewed by the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) established in 1980 in order to ensure that they were not "repugnant to Islam," and conform to the dictates of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah as interpreted by the Council of Islamic Ideology.20 There was a Shariat bench in each provincial High Court. Appeals against the judgements of the FSC were heard by the Shariat Appellate bench of the Supreme Court. Out of eight judges, three were ulema. In February 1979, General Zia announced a series of reforms. Nizam-i-Islam was aimed at bringing all laws into conformity with Islamic tenets and values that had been established by Prophet Mohammad during his decade-long reign over Medina (AD 622-632).21 In all these, the Jamaat-i-Islami played the role of junior partner, though Zia had banned student organisations in 1983 to eliminate a threat and to exert control over the Jamaat since most of these unions were managed by this party. Article 14 of the Provincial Constitutional Order passed by him stated that with the exception of Jaamat-i-Islami, all other political parties were required to seek written permission of the Chief Election Commission (appointed by the President) in order to function. During this period, the universalistic and humanist values of Islam as potrayed by Sufi tradition were reduced to a minimum but the birthdays of sufi saints were celebrated with much pomp by the regime.

In 1980, compulsory collection of zakat (alms) and ushr was introduced. This required 2.5 per cent deduction of taxes from the banks and other financial assests of the Muslims and Muslim majority owned commercial enterprises. The government created zakat committees to distribute this money to the needy and to various religious organisations. This founded the sectarian difference which otherwise had remained dormant in the post-British colonnial rule phase. Shias vehemently criticised the state's role in collecting zakat which according to them is integrally related to the issue of legitimacy. According to the Shia doctrine, only those governments considered to be legitimate successors to the Prophet can claim this legitimacy. Zia, through Ordinance No. 18 of 1980, made zakat compulsory replaced the word compulsory collection with contribution. But due to violent demonstrations, he later exempted the Shias from paying zakat. Thus, the Sunnis started demanding the application of Hanifi law to all the Muslims in Pakistan. A substantial amount of funds generated by zakat was distributed through the madrassas largely belonging to the Sunni sects of Deoband, the Ahl-e-Hadith and Barelvi. This funding led to an increase in the madrassas.22 Moreover, during his period, through an ordinance, Zia made the inscription of Quranic verse (Kalima) on Ahmediya places of worship as crime.

The most controversial among Zia's Islamisation programmes was the introduction of Hudood Ordinances imposing Islamic penalties for certain offences. The sectarian divide took place under Zia's regime with the introduction of Hanifi Fiqh. It should be noted here that the Shias are the second largest Muslim school of jurisprudence (mazhab) in Pakistan. The chief differences between the Shias and Sunnis may be identified in two broad categories: doctrinal difference in belief and jurisprudential difference in the interpretation of Quran and the Sunnah.23 In 1979, the Tehrik-e-Nafaz-e-Fiqh-e-Jafaria (TNFJ) was born and it put forward a six-point demand to the government for the first time on the basis of belief which included a demand for fiqh-e-Jafari for the Shias24 as they believed that Pakistan was becoming Sunni, even Hanifi (a sub-sect among the Sunnis). Simultaneously, the Anjuman Sipah-e-Sahaba (ASS), a close associate of the Jamaat-i-ulema-e-Islam (JUI) representing the Deobandi school came into existence. The Jamaat-e-ulema-Pakistan (JUP) represented the Barelvi school.

Zia had established a Council of Islamic Ideology whose task was to formulate a plan of governance based on Islamic principles, consistant with the Holy Quran and Sunnah. On August 27, 1983, the Council announced that a Presidential form of government was in the interest of Islam and recommended the formation of a Majlis-i-Aata for Islamic Affairs (highest council), a Majlis-i-Shoora, a representative Majlis for minorities from among non-Muslims. The President was to be "the Head of State, a true Muslim, at least 40 years of age, physically and mentally fit and knowledgeable in Islamic matters."25 All these imply that the recommendations were tailor-made for Zia.

In 1985, Gen Zia decided to make the Objectives Resolution which is the Preamble, an operative part of the Constitution, through the 8th Amendment. This also amended Article 270-A which reads "All other laws made in between the 5th of July, 1977 and the date on which this article came into force...shall not be called into question in any court on any ground whatsoever." From the sentence in the Preamble which reads, "wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities (freely) to profess and practise their religion and develop their culture,"26 Zia removed the term "freely." The same provision has been continued by the successive governments. Zia introduced separate electorates in 1985, alienating the minorities. All these measures widended the gulf between different sects and communities and radicalised the society. Thus, there is no doubt that "during the decade 1978-88, probably more houses of worship of non-Muslims and among Muslims, Shia Imam Baras were attacked and destroyed than ever before in Pakistan's history."27

Reading of the Quran was introduced at the matriculation level in school. Maktab schools were elevated to the status of regular schools and their certificates were considered equivalent to a Master's degree. An Islamic university was established in Islamabad, funded largely by Saudi Arabia, with that country retaining a say regarding the choice of faculty.28 In selecting teachers at all levels, knowledge of Islam became essential.. In 1981, Pakistan Studies was introduced as a compulsory subject for all degree students. The textbook authors were given directives to guide students towards "the ultimate goal of Pakistan—the creation of a completely Islamised state." Modern textbooks emphasised the formal or ritualistic aspect of Islam and defined the ultimate goal of Pakistan as the creation of a completely Islamised state. The mushrooming of religious school, and accordance of state patronage to these can be linked directly to the growth of conservative Islamic thought which found expression through cultural dikats. The was evident from the madrassas which at the time of partition numbered 137; by 1971, the number had grown to an estimated 893, with a total of 3,186 teachers and 32,384 students.29 The following table reflects the steady growth of religious schools in comparison with primary schools during the Fifth to Seventh Plan periods.

Category 5th Plan 6th Plan % Increased 7th Plan % Increased

(5th-6th) (6th-7th)


School 8,200 17,193 109.67 20,000 16.32


School 18,106 18,158 0.28 34,613 90.62

Source: Seventh Plan, Government of Pakistan (Planning Commission, Islamabad), p. 332

With the induction of M.K. Junejo as the Prime Minister, the Islamisation process slowed down but was not completely abandoned. In 1988, a Shariat Ordinance was passed, in tune with Zia's obsession with Islamisation. After Zia's sudden demise, there was no let up in the Islamisation tendency of the ruling elites to gain legitimacy.

Thus, the PPP government under Benazir Bhutto could not completely abandon Zia's Islamisation legacy with General Ishaque Khan, formerly a key adviser to Zia, as the President of Pakistan, and the Senate hostile to any move to reverse Zia's Islamisation process. Thus, in 1989, a modified version of the 1985 Shariat Bill was passed but it lapsed when the Assemblies were dissolved in 1990. Due to her political vulnerability, Benazir even put the anti-women Hudood laws onto the backburner rather than attempting to repeal them.

In 1990, Nawaz Sharif, a protege of Zia and a favourite with the establishment, raked up the Shariat Bill issue to gain legitimacy since the fairness of the 1990 elections was questioned. Moreover, the Jamaat-i-Islami was a coalition partner of Sharif's Islami Jamhoori Ittehad. His government passed the Shariat Bill which was vague in content.30 However, certain provisions were in consonance with the democratic principles. By enforcing the Shariat Act in 1991, the ruling elites of Pakistan put the principle of democratic election outside the jurisdiction of clerics and also saved interest related laws which had become extremely controversial.

In the 1993 elections, the Pakistani Islamic Front, Islamic Jamhoori Mahaz and Mutahida Deeni Mahaz shared a vote of 6.7 per cent in the nationwide voting figure (1.3 million votes).31 The electoral arithmetic made both the PPP and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N) cater to the politico-religious ambition of these religious parties. Thus, the PPP's government, known for its relative secular stance on the issue of Islamisation, did not hesitate to appoint the Secretary General of the JUI-F, closely linked with the Anjuman Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, as the head of the Parliamentary Committe for Foreign Affairs; he was sent to Geneva to plead the case of Kashmir on the eve of the Human Right Commission meeting in 1994.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also has not lagged behind. His effort at Islamisation was epitomised through the appointment of Mohammad Tarar who is a well known conservative, as the President of Pakistan. The recent introduction of Islamisation according to the Shariat, through the 15th Amendment, clearly demonstrates its political contour. It is no surprise since Islam has always been a source of legitimacy in Pakistan. After the nuclear tests, freezing of foreign currency accounts, the stock market crash and the frustration that has crept in due to the failure to internationalise the Kashmir issue satisfactorily, have eroded Sharif's credibility. Moreover, the economic crisis due to the sanctions has placed Sharif's government in a tight corner. The US missile attacks on the terrorist bases in Afghanistan, which killed a few people in Pakistan, gave rise to anti-US sentiments and invited strong reactions from the right wing fundamentalist parties. What questioned Sharif's credibility further was that Sharif was reported to have prior information of America's missile strike. At this juncture, Islamisation became more relevant for securing legitimacy. Moreover, the 14th Amendment Act, which forbids any political dissension to be expressed publicly will eliminate opposition in the rank and file of the PML(N) to the Islamisation Bill. Opposition political parties are of the opinion that there is enough provision in the Constitution to endorse Islamic reforms. They doubt Sharif's intention and the timing of this Bill does not put his efforts beyond doubt. Moreover, the Islamisation process can be directly linked to the signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) since there is no consensus on this issue. Islamisation will not only strengthen Sharif politically but will make the judiciary, and the Constitution redundant.

Blasphemy Law

Blasphemy laws have remained a black chapter in the history of religious freedom in Pakistan—they have ended the culture of tolerance of the freedom of expression, especially by the minority community. The agitation for enacting blasphemy laws started in the 1980s. It was felt that the Penal Code chapter on offences relating to religion did not provide for penalising insults to the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him- PBUH). The matters related to hurting religious sentiments were incorporated through Sections 295,296,297 and 298 of the Penal Code of 1860, and later in 1927, a new section was added (295-A) which deals with "deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religious beliefs." However, enthused by the Islamisation under Gen. Zia, the orthodox reactionary clerics pressed for more radical blasphemy laws. Thus, a new section (295-C), prescribing the death penalty for blasphemy against the Prophet (PBUH)32 was added after 1985 in spite of opposition. The Bill was challenged in the Federal Shariat Court. The court upheld the death penalty clause after the criminal intent is established and called for an addition to Section 295-C to make blasphemous utterances/gestures against other prophets liable to the same punishment as provided for insulting the Prophet of Islam. The government is reluctant to repeal the law. In May 1994, Benazir Bhutto's Cabinet gave approval to two amendments in the blasphemy law 295-C to prevent its misuse. The courage to introduce the amendment, however, was born out of an incident which is worth mentioning Sajjid Farooq, who is a Hafiz-e-Quran (knows the Quran by rote) was stoned to death by a mob after being accused of burning a copy of the Holy Quran. According to the amendment, the police could only register a case under this law after a competent court had ascertained and confirmed that there was enough evidence to warrant such registration. Secondly, anyone making false allegations would be liable to severe punishment of a ten-year prison term. The recent cases which drew international attention include that of Salamat Masih and the suicide of a Bishop, while protesting against the law. Such laws have made the minorities vulnerable to exploitation—minor quarrels involving lands are falsely potrayed as blasphemy and an effort is made to implicate people to settle scores. All this elucidates the fact that with the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, such laws are misused because the law itself is vague in its content by not defining exactly what constitutes blasphemy.

Measures to Check Sectarian Violence: Anti-Terrorist Act

After Nawaz Sharif assumed power, he established Anti-Terrorist Courts (ATCs) in Punjab to curb sectarian terrorism. This has not been able to take off as expected due to persistent threats to the lives of the judges. Thus, dispensing of justice in such cases has been rendered difficult with the resignation of 13 special ATC judges within six months.

The Anti-Terrorist Act was presented in the National Assembly on August 13, 1997, and is often referred to as a draconian law due to certain provisions like arrest without warrant and shoot-at-sight order to kill alleged terrorists. The law does not allow bail and the trial and conviction period is limited to 21 days. Till date, out of 168 cases of sectarian violence, the accused were convicted only in 90 cases. From among these, 52 accused were sentenced to death while 38 others were awarded life sentences or rigorous imprisonment. The ATCs have decided just 13 of 130 sectarian cases during the last six months. Eight accused criminals have so far been acquitted in these 13 sectarian cases, which represent two-thirds of the suspects arrested in such cases.33 Delivery of justice in these cases has been hindered by threats from sectarian outfits, including political pressure. The interference of the police in the dispention of justice is corroborated by the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Abid Minto, who was candid in his opinion that delay in the decision of cases in general, which holds true in cases of sectarian conflicts also, is largely "due to the inefficiency of the law enforcement agencies. He maintained that the police spoils cases from the start, due to corruption, sifarish (recommendation) and the play of political influence. "Delays in presenting challans of cases, destroying evidence or substituting weak evidence, are common tricks in their book."34 The judges do not want to risk their own and their families lives by convicting these highly connected terrorists. Thus, the whole exercise has become futile. Much to the embarrassment of Sharif, in 1997, the Supreme Court held that the ATC which is functioning under the ATA, is illegal as it is functioning as a paralell court without the purview of judicial review.

Islamic Revivalism

Islam took a radical turn in the early Seventies. The revolution in Iran against the Shah's regime and the Arab-Israeli War romanticised Islam as an ideology to fight political corruption and imperial power. The significant objective for Islamisation in Pakistan was concurrent with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The battlelines were drawn between Communism and Islam for the Pakistanis. The Soviet invasion was portrayed as "Islam is in danger," providing a religious impetus to the ideological conflict between the superpowers. Thus, the interests of Pakistan and the US converged. Arms started flowing into the hands of the Mujahideen to fight the jihad in Afghanistan. However, the arms which were sent to fight the war in Afghanistan were diverted to create terror elsewhere, including Kashmir. The Iranian revolution also added to the concept of jihad. Open support through money and material to the Mujahideen strengthened the religious groups in Pakistan. The religious madrassas were functioning as training centres and were patrons of anti-Soviet Union activities in Pakistan. Later these institutes played a significant role in propping up the Taliban, though Pakistan officially denies this fact. They not only benefitted from the Western aid but recruited large numbers of unemployed people. This led to militarisation of the civil society in Pakistan and widened the gulf between various groups since they competed with each other for material benefit. The religious hatred later found expression in violent sectarian killings.

Though Pakistani society has been radicalised over the years, the Islamic parties have never been able to encash their support in political terms. They have never touched basic socio-economic issues to endear themselves to the masses. Especially in the case of the Jamaat, its cooperation with the military government in the past has eroded its credibility. The extremist sectarian politics after the emergence of militant organisations like the Sipah-e-Sahaba and Tehrik-e-Jafaria have rendered sectarian conflicts violent and bloody. Instead of moving towards liberal Islam, Pakistan is moving towards obscurant religious fundamentalism. Groups like the Tablighi Jamaat has been propagating a "return to the faith with a message which is simple but encapsulates the Islamic fervour." This task is defined as reviving the Muslim from within. Its members are involved in proselytising which is confined to teaching fellow Muslims the correct Islamic practices. The potential of this group which is not limited to nationality but to religious belief, can be estimated from the their annual ijtema (gathering) in November when around 1.5-2 million people gather, making it the second largest gathering after the Hajj.35 Other than preaching, the members of this organisation are well established in their respective professions. The present President of Pakistan, Mohammad Tarar is a well known Tabligh activists. However, such Islamic revival movements are the beginnings of further radicalisation of Pakistani society. In this context, the sectarian divide is cutting deeper and deeper into the social fabric, threatening religious harmony. The Tablighi Jamaat movement, "based on the Deobandhi or Wahabi movement, a Sunni orthodox belief system, implicitly excludes Shi'ites and Sufis, as well as other groups like the Ahmadis."36

The recent spate of sectarian killings attest to the fact that the anti-terrorist laws and courts are not sufficient to deter such violence. The government, instead, should check the activities of deeni madrassas which are proliferating throughout the country after these became recruitment centres for the Taliban and other mercenaries orchestrating jihad in various parts of the world. Effective methods to curb such activities of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and Tehrik-e-Jafaria (along with their offshoots, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Mohammad) should be adopted. Another significant development is criminalisation of some of these militant movements due to lack of funding, or disillusionment amongst members who then indulge in "freelance" activities; this has led to their involvement in armed robberies and bank holdups. A significant recent development is that the sectarian groups have started targetting high-profile members of the two communities—lawyers, doctors and businessmen. By targetting these groups, they want to broaden their influence by planting sectarian feelings amongst these professionals who till date have remained immune to their propaganda.

The sectarian violence has encapsulated even the Shia belts of the Frontier Province which includes the lone Shia belt stretching from Hangu to Parachinar and parts of the adjoining Orakzai Agency. It was reported that even in Orakzai Agency, the Shias were attacked by trained Afghan fighters associated with the Taliban.37

North of Lahore, an organisation, called the Markaz Dawa wal Irshad (Centre for Preaching) works to propagate an austere, "purified" version of Islam, and has set up schools across the country for this purpose. Its militant wing, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (army of the pure), is an organisation of highly trained militants who are willing to go to war wherever and whenever the Amir (commander) orders.38 Initially, the Ahl-e-Hadith, organisation expounding the austere Saudi Arabian brand of Islam, received donations from Saudi Arabia, establishing foreign connections. The organisation runs 30 schools in which nearly 5,000 students are enrolled and is clearly geared towards producing Mujahideen, or holy warriors, ready to wage jihad. Laskhar-e-Taiba, the militant wing of this organisation, trains the new recruits in two different courses. The first is a 21-day standard course is called Daura-e-Aama and the second one is Daura-e-Khasa which is geared towards guerilla warfare and teaches the use of small arms, survival and ambush techniques. Most of them are recruited in Kashmir.39 This organisation propagates its ideas through a news magazine titled Majla and their only target till date is the Tehrik-e-Minhaj-ul-Quran, a Barelvi Sunni group, as their brand of Quran is influenced by Hinduism, thus, not considered pure by them. It even consider mysticism which is a part of the Sufi tradition as deviation from the path of the Prophet.40 Though till now Lashkar's activity is confined to jihad outside the boundary of Pakistan but the way militarisation is going on through such organisations, the day is not very far when other groups inside Pakistan will be targetted and the most powerful group will define Islamic and un-Islamic codes of conduct and dispense justice through arms.

Pakistan's known stand on Afghanistan and Kashmir has radicalised Pakistan's society further. Jihad is glorified and provides impetus to more and more people to join this group. The Kashmir propaganda machine has provided new recruits to the various organisations involved in terrorism in Kashmir. Misled youth are the prime targets. It has provided them with a meaning to their lives. They have joined the ranks of merceneries and are accorded hero status. This glorification has made their lives meaningful and provided them with a mission. However, Pakistan is yet to realise the negative effect of this. By encouraging fundamentalist parties in their religious pursuit, the Pakistani society is getting radicalised day by day. Pakistan's northern area which is referred to as heaven on the earth and is Asnashiri by persuasion, has not remained immune to this rabid fundamentalism. Scores of local clergymen from these areas have been trained in Iran and now it is common to see these religious zealots sporting Khomeini's apparel and ideology.

Such religious zealots are a threat to Pakistani society, and the universalisation of the concept of jihad to fight against anybody presumed to be threatening the Muslim interest, provides dangerous signals. It can deprive Pakistan of foreign investment. Recently, four American officials were killed, and the killing of Iranian cadets has deteroriated inter-state relations. One should not forget to mention the issue of Kashmir which has resulted in three wars with India. The politically vulnerable bilateral relations have made the trade and economic relations hostage to the Kashmir issue. Involvement of Pakistani religious organisations, with overt and covert support to the fundamentalist terrorist groups, has led to the loss of Pakistan's credibility in the international arena. In their holy war, the West and especially the Americans, are the prime targets of these religious zealots. This is demonstrated by the recent bombing of the US Embassy in Kenya—the culprit was arrested from Pakistan revealing the international linkages of such groups which can have far-reaching consequences for international peace.

In a survey carried out by Ashir Associates for Newsline, a sample survey of 1,000 people revealed some interesting statistics. It was found that 56.6 per cent of the respondents supported the Shariat but did not approve of religious parties.41 The support for Islamic parties comes from the rural folks. Moreover, for the elite Pakistani women, attending dars ranked 35th in the 100 things they do. "Although not everyone who attended one of these dars has become an adherent to the path they espouse, several of the young girls who did, are seriously reassessing their value system as a result."42 Even teenagers are learning the religious teachings with great zeal and interest. People openly espouse religious hatred though they deplore the sectarian killings. People do not hesitate to pass comments such as "Shias are as kafir as Ahmedis. They should be excommunicated."43 All this indicates radicalisation even among the educated segments of the society.

Controlling the activities of the religious organisations will be a challenging task for the ruling elites of Pakistan. With sophisticated arms and ammunition, these groups are going to emerge as a formidable challenge to the internal peace and stability of Pakistan. It is true that during Gen. Zia's period, these groups received impetus for their activities. But successive governments after Zia's demise have not taken up the issue. The Afghan conflict has militarised Pakistani society. Moreover, Pakistan has been serving as a breeding ground for Islamic jihad groups. The continuation of civil war in Afghanistan has made Pakistan more vulnerable to such challenges. Pakistan has emerged as a major conduit of arms and ammunition to the warring groups in Afghanistan. Moreover, the issue of Kashmir has been potrayed as a Hindu-Muslim conflict. The merceneries who infiltrate the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir are trained in Pakistan and their minds are manipulated towards terrorism through religious preaching. Moreover, the material gain that accrues from such activities is enormous. Unemployed youths have been a potential source for new recruits to such activities. The new reality is that Pakistan is slowly losing control over these groups which is demonstrated by the sectarian violence of recent months. It remains to be seen when these enforcers of religious codes and groups involved in jihad will reverse their guns towards Pakistanis and dictate to them to their version of Islam. The main problem of Pakistani elites is seeking political legitimacy through Islam. Since democracy is a recent phenomenon, after years of military rule, it will take some time for popular participation to be well entrenched and ingrained in the Pakistani psyche. Political parties play an important role in ushering in a new era of democracy. In order to build a strong nation, it is crucial for the political parties as well as the elites to define their political roles and beware of playing into the hands of orthodox religious groups. According to Iqbal Ahmed, the process of Islamisation is not going to strengthen Pakistani society. If history is any lesson for the contemporary politicians, they should remember that Aurangzeb had inherited a strong empire but left behind a weak nation due his obsession with Islam. Religion may be the populist and easiest method to gain instant support, but treading carefully is what a prudent statesman should learn.



1. Abbas Rashid, "Pakistan: The Ideological Dimension" in Asghar Khan ed., Islam, Politics and the State: The Pakistan Experience (London: Zed ,1985), p.75

2. K.B Sayeed, Pakistan: The Formative Phase (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1970), p.25, as cited in Khan, Ibid., p.75

3. By 1944, the League membership had grown to two million. Ishtiaq Ahmed, The Concept of an Islamic State in Pakistan (Lahore: Vanguard, 1991), p.76.

4. A.M. Zaidi, ed., Evolution of Muslim Political Thought in India, vol.1, (New Delhi: Michiko and Panjathan, n.d.), p.66.

5. W.C.Smith, Islam in Modern History (London: Oxford University Press, 1957), p.208.

6. Rashid, n.1, p.84.

7. See Khaled Ahmed "The Fractured Image of Muhammad Ali Jinnah," Himal, vol.11, no.2, February 1998, p.25

8. M.Rafique Afzal "Pakistan: Struggle for An Islamic State, 1947-71" in Waheed-ul-Zaman and M. Saleem Akhtar eds., Islam in South Asia (Islamabad: National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research, 1993), p.512

9. Ahmed, n.3, p.79.

10. The indirectly elected Constituent Assembly of Pakistan consisted of 79 members. The PML controlled about 60 seats and the Pakistan National Congress comprising Hindu representatives from East Pakistan had 11 seats. The Hindu members of the Constituent Assembly who were advocating for the separation of religion from politics tried to block the passage of the resolution unsucessfully.

11. At the various stages of Constitution making the fundamentalist parties like the JUI, JUP, Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan (JIP) and a section of the PML had played important roles. In 1951, a conference of 31 ulema, representing significant schools of thought came out with a consensus on "twenty-two principles of an Islamic state." The Basic Principle Commitee incorporated as many Islamic principles as possible in the Objectives Resolution of the Constitution. For details regarding the role of Islamic parties in the Constitution making process of Pakistan, refer, Afzal, n.8, pp.503-14.

12. Rashid, n.1, p.85.

13. Syed, Pakistan: Islam, Politics and National Solidarity, p.78 as cited in Rashid, n.1, p.85

14. Andrew Wilder, "Islam and Political Legitimacy in Pakistan" in Muhammad Aslam Syed ed., Islam and Democracy in Pakistan (Islamabad: National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research, 1995), p.43.

15. Report of the Constitution Commission, Pakistan 1961, (Karachi: Government of Pakistan Press, 1961), pp72-76, as cited in "Ethnicity, National Identity and Praetorianism: The Case of Pakistan," Asian Survey, vol.16, no.10, October 1976, p. 924. It is interesting to note that Ayub Khan's Foreign Minister in a "reaction assesment" tour of the country, observed that the greatest obstacle in the way of framing an Islamic Constitution was the existence of 72 sects among the Muslims and their different interpretations of the Quran and Sunnah. As cited in Afzal, n.9, p.525.

16. Abbas Rashid, "Pakistan: The Politics of Fundamentalism" in Kumar Rupasinghe and Khawar Mumtaz eds., Internal Conflicts in South Asia (London: Sage Publications, 1996), pp. 63-64.

17. "PPP Manifesto: Text of Third Chapter," Dawn, January 26, 1977 as cited in William L. Richter, "The Political Dynamics of Islamic Resurgence in Pakistan," Asian Survey, vol.19, no.6, June 1979, pp.551-552

18. The real purpose of this political process of Islamisation was to develop a capitalist or bourgeois Islam in line with the principles of international monopoly capitalism. Islam as implemented by the ruling class was more in conformity with the feudal/medieval form of fiqhi Islam which suited the interest of the ruling class. The Islamic economics introduced by the ruling class comprise old fiqhi treaties of the 9th century such as the Kitab al-Kharaj of Abu Yusuf, knowledge of Arabic language and modern econometrics and a selected collection of commentaries on Quranic verses and Prophetic traditions....non-secular...loaded with metaphysical axioms and postulates.... See Ziaul Haque "Islamisation of Society in Pakistan" in Khan ed., n.1, pp.122-23.

19. Pakistan Times, July 7, 1977, as cited in Richter, n. 17, p.555.

20. Ibid., p.590.

21. Four aspects of secular life were stated to undergo Islamisation: The economy through the establishment of zakat (tax) and ushr (alms giving mandated in the Quran) programmes and the abolition of riba (interest), including the subsequent adoption of an interest-free banking programme based on the Saudi Arabia model, judicial reforms including the formation of the Federal Shariat Court and lower Qazi courts (provincial and district level Islamic courts) as well as the inclusion of a Federal Mohatasib (ombudsman) to address complaints about the courts; implementation of the Islamic penal code; and a new educational policy. Religious scholars were appointed as Qazis. As cited in Anita M. Weiss, "Women's Position in Pakistan: Sociocultural Effects of Islamisation," Asian Survey, vol.25, no.8, August 1985, pp.868-69.

22. Rashid, n.16, p.67

23. Afak Hyder "The Politicisation of the Shias and the Development of the Tehrik-e-Nafaz-e-Fiqh-e-Jafaria in Pakistan" in Charles Kennedy ed., Pakistan 1992 (Oxford: Westview Press, 1993), p.75

24. For details of the demand, see Ibid., p.79

25. Henry Kenson and Michelle Maskiell, "Islamisation and Social Policy in Pakistan: The Constitutional Crisis and the Status of Women," Asian Survey, vol.25, no.6, June 1985, pp. 592-93.

26. Ahmed, n. 7, p.12-14.

27. Rashid, n.16, p.68.

28. Ibid., p.67.

29. Fazal-ur-Rahman, Islam and Modernity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982) as cited in Rashid, n.16, p.67.

30. Clause 8 directed the state to take steps for "Islamisation of economy." Clause 7 stated effective steps to Islamise education. Clause 18 and 19 of the Act specifically exempt Pakistan's international financial dealings from the constraint of the Shariat Bill. Clause 20 protected the rights of women as guaranteed by the Constitution. Shariat was made the supreme law of Pakistan restraining the judiciary and confining the judges to the interpretation of law within the limits of "exposition and opinions" of recognised jurists of Islam technically superseding the Constitution. However, this interpretation has to conform to the Article 227 clause of the Constitution (introduced in 1980 in the form of an explanation) which reads "All existing laws shall be brought in conformity with the injuctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah...and no law shall be enacted which is repugnant to such injunctions." In the explanation it has been spelt out that in the application of the clause to the personal law of any Muslim sect, the expression Quran and Sunnah as interpreted by that sect.

31. Rashid, n.16, p.75.

32. "295-C, Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet: Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine." See I.A.Rehman "The Flaw of the Law," Newsline, June 1998, pp.73-74.

33. Amir Mir, "The Law of Fear," Newsline, vol.9, no.10, April 1998, p.37.

34. Ibid., p.38.

35. Aassia Haroon, "Prophetic Times," Newsline, Ibid, p.29.

36. Ibid., p.35.

37. For details regarding sectarian conflict in this Tribal Agency, refer to Rizwan Qureshi "The Road to Destruction," The Herald, vol.29, no.4, April 1998, pp.57-58.

38. Zaigham Khan "Allah's Army," The Herald, Ibid., p.124.

39. Ibid., pp.125-26.

40. Ibid., pp.128-29.

41. Sairah Irshad Khan, "Among the Believers," Newsline, vol.9, no.8, February 1998, p.22.

42. Ibid., p.24.

43. Ibid.