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Islamic Revivalism and Politics in Contemporary Pakistan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date09/2010
JournalJournal of Developing Societies
Journal number3
Volume26
Number of pages25
Pages329-353
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The article tries to examine the rise of Islamism in Pakistan and argues that much of Islamic revivalism in Muslim countries like Pakistan is strongly related to power politics and personal gains of politicians and how political leaders use religion to suit their own needs to consolidate their own power base, especially when it lacks political legitimacy. The more democratic the regime, the less politicians feel the need to incorporate Islamist groups in their own power base and vice versa. We see this process of using Islamist groups to further one’s own needs happening since the creation of Pakistan and it reaches a peak during the times of General Zia-ul-Haque in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The article is especially interested in the role of the Jamaat-i-Islami and its interactions with different political leaders from independence till Musharraf. Although the article acknowledges that Islamism is multidimensional and that there are many factors associated with its rise but because much of it is inextricably linked with power politics and personal gains of both political and religious leaders and both groups benefiting from this symbiotic relationship, the problem of Islamism could be solved to some degree by making the government more accountable to the people by responding to demands coming from below and the need for stronger democratizing tendencies. The article makes use of a range of both primary and secondary sources to substantiate its key arguments.