Islamization Under Zia Ul Haq

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ZIA-UL-HAQ AND ISLAMIZATION
When General Zia-ul-Haq took over as the Chief Martial Law Administrator on July 5, 1997, Islamization was given a new boost. General Zia-ul-Haq was a practicing Muslim who raised the slogan of Islam. The Islamic sentiment has always been fully alive in Pakistan. Various governments have used this to their benefit. There are people who doubt Zia’s reasons for raising the Islamic Slogan; whether it was for political purposes to counter balance Bhutto’s appeal or was it to enforce Islam in its true sense. In his first address to the nation, he declared that Islamic laws would be enforced and that earnest attention would be devoted towards establishing the Islamic society for which Pakistan has been created. General Zia wanted to bring the legal, social, economic and political institutions of the country in conformity with the Islamic principles, values and traditions in the light of Quran and Sunnah, to enable the people of Pakistan to lead their lives in accordance to Islam. On December 2, 1978, General Zia-ul-Haq delivered a nationwide address on the occasion of the first day of theHijra calendar. He did this in order to usher in an Islamic system to Pakistan. In the speech, he accused politicians of exploiting the name of Islam, saying that “many a ruler did what they pleased in the name of Islam.” After assuming power and arresting former leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto on charges of murder, the task that the government was facing was how to gain legitimacy. Since the Islamist parties were already against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, they had the most influence on Zia-ul-Haq’s government. It was announced the government would enforce Nizam-e-Mustafa (Islamic System), a 180 degree turn from Pakistan’s predominantly parliamentary law, as a preliminary measure to counter what he saw as a lack of true Islam in Pakistan. Sharing the ideology of the Wahabi sect, Zia advocated purging Islam of what he considered to be impurities and innovations. He wanted to create a hard line Sunni Islamist state. His reforms were popular with Hanafi and Shia sects who faced widespread discrimination and human rights abuses during his rule. Significant and systematic changes aimed at Islamizing the legal system were initiated in 1979 and carried out under General Zia-ul-Haq. This process not only introduced religious and gender biases in Pakistan’s laws but also brought about far-reaching institutional changes in the country’s judicial system. Zia’s Islamization drive was ardently supported by religious parties, particularly the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), which emerged as one of his regimes key coalition partners.  JI’s founder, Maulana Abul Ala Maududi, endorsed Zia’s Islamization efforts and described them “as the renewal of the covenant between the government of Pakistan and Islam” (Haqqani, 2005, p.139). In turn, Zia’s support and patronage of the JI allowed the party to gain a foothold in the government so much so that crucial ministries, such as the Ministry of Information, were allocated to JI nominees. However, state sponsored Islamization intensified sectarian divisions between the Sunnis and the Shias 1 who opposed the application of the Hanafi fiqh in areas such as Zakat (Islamic tax) rather than Ja’fari fiqh, which they follow. The Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Fiqh-e- Jafari (INJF-Movement for the Establishment of the Shia Fiqh) was formed in 1979 and led Shia opposition to some of the measures instituted by Zia (Talbot, 2005). The Islamic conservatism and the Islamic state became Zia’s primary policy of his military government. Intensified Islamic Policies to radicalize the country had the West worried. The secular socialist orientation and socialist economics process was an attempt to upset to Pakistan’s order of operation on a routine life, as Zia maintained. General Zia rejected Bhutto’s philosophy and was reported to highly hostile of Bhutto’s philosophical rationale, “Food, Clothing, and Shelter.” General Zia defended his...
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