CSS 2015 Solved Pakistan Affairs Past Papers | Was Islamization during the Zia Era a Need of the Time, or Was it Political Propaganda?
The following question of CSS Pakistan Affairs 2015 is solved by Mezaab Mushtaq under the supervision of Miss Nirmal Hasni. She learnt how to attempt 20 marks question and essay writing from Sir Syed Kazim Ali, Pakistan’s best CSS and PMS English essay and precis teacher with the highest success rate of his students. This solved past paper question is attempted on the pattern taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory and optional subjects for years, and uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.
2- Historical context of Islamization
- ✓Formation of Pakistan as an Islamic identity
- ✓Role of religious leaders and political figures in promoting Islamization
3- Why Islamization during the Zia era was considered political propaganda?
- ✓The twofold policy of Zia
- ✓To counter social disorder and disintegration
- ✓A threat from Political opponents
- ✓To revive the state’s identity
- ✓Geopolitical factors: Soviet-Afghan war
4- How Islamization had impacted the country?
- ✓Social and cultural impact
- Shift in societal norms and values; Nizam-e-Mustafa
- Influence on family and gender dynamics
- ✓Political landscape
- Role of religious parties in politics
- Balance between civil and religious authorities
- ✓International Relations and Image
- Perception of Pakistan in the global context
- Diplomatic and economic relations with other states
Answer to the Question
The regime of General Zia possessed all the characteristics of political dominance in the political setup of Pakistan to control the political crisis, social disturbance, and geopolitical factors. Moreover, to retain power, his administration applied different strategies for the application of Sharia in the country. In addition, to strengthen and legitimize the regime, Zia allied with mainstream religious parties. Similarly to the sentiments and sympathy of the people, he launched a comprehensive scheme, Islamization, in the country. The prominent military scientist Ayesha Siddiqa argued that ” Zia skillfully played an Islamization card, religious and ethnic parties to counter the influence of PPP and strengthen his power”. Over and above, his Islamization program contemplated significant reforms in the legal-constitutional, socio-economic, and educational institutions of Pakistan. The principles of zakat and ushar ordinance, Islamic hudood and penal code, Riba abandoning, Majlis Al-shura, and Federal sharia court were initiated. Furthermore, under the umbrella of Nizam e Mustafa, social reforms were introduced. He enforced the chaddar for women and banned all activities which are forbidden in Islam. However, Islamization has played a significant role in shaping Pakistan’s socio-political landscape by influencing its laws, governance, culture, and identity. However, critics considered it a tool for enhancing political powers in the country.
Historical context of Islamization
1- Creation of Pakistan as an Islamic identity:
The creation of Pakistan in 1947 was a significant event in history. It was established as a separate nation for Muslims in the Indian subcontinent, with the aim of providing them with a homeland where they could practice their religion freely. Pakistan’s Islamic identity is deeply rooted in its history and is reflected in its constitution, laws, and cultural practices. The country’s founders envisioned it as a place where Muslims could live according to Islamic principles and values. However, Pakistan is a diverse nation with various religious and ethnic communities, and the interpretation and practice of Islam can vary among its citizens.
2- Role of religious leaders and political figures in promoting Islamization
Religious leaders and political figures have played a significant role in promoting Islamization in various contexts. They have advocated for the implementation of Islamic principles and values in governance, education, and society. Their efforts have included the introduction of Islamic laws, the establishment of religious institutions, advice from people on how to behave, and the promotion of Islamic practices and customs.
Why Islamization during the Zia era was considered political propaganda?
1- The twofold policy of Zia
Zia-ul-Haq implemented a twofold policy during his time as the President of Pakistan. On the one hand, he pursued Islamization by introducing Islamic laws promoting conservative Islamic practices and countering the influence of the PPP government. On the other hand, he pursued a policy of aligning with the United States during the Cold War, which had implications for Pakistan’s foreign relations and domestic policies. This twofold policy aimed to balance both religious and political considerations during his regime.
2- To counter social disorder and disintegration
In 1973, after a failed coup planned against Bhutto, several military officers were arrested. In March 1977, the election result was denounced by the Pakistan National Alliance – a coalition of religious and secular political parties- and claimed that rigging had taken place. Mass demonstrations and agitation against the Bhutto government had started. Apparently, due to such civil unrest, Zia overthrew Bhutto’s government and imprisoned Bhutto, but Mazhar Ali argued that historically in Pakistan, such military coups happen only “to defend military’s institutional Interests”. Although the coup temporarily contained civil unrest, within a year, public agitation started against the Zia regime. He immediately announced the date of the election but did not fulfil his promise. He announced Pakistan as Islamic and theocratic, where the president is not objectionable. He used Islamic cards to defend his dictatorship, relax civil disorder and invite people to follow his Islamic orders.
3- A threat from Political opponents
General Zia was aware of the charismatic characteristics of Bhutto. On the first day of the coup, 5 July 1977- Bhutto and his cabinet members were arrested, but on 29 July, he was released from prison. Zia announced that he would hold an election within 90 days, but later he changed his decision. Bhutto travelled around the country, spoke to the public and led thousands of people to rally. The military junta was worried by Bhutto’s mobilizations and made a plot against him, and Bhutto was rearrested and sentenced to death. Zia formed a new coalition of political parties called “Islami Jamhoori Itehad” to contain the influence of the PPP and their mass agitation against the regime. Religious parties like Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (P) and other small groups joined the government and supported Zia’s Islamization program. However, Zia often failed attempts to use Islamic cards against his political opponents to exclude and isolate them from the political scene of Pakistan. However, his steps did not minimize the significant role of the Pakistan People’s Party in country politics.
4- To revive the state’s identity
The ideology of Pakistan was the basis of an Islamic state, but from the early days of independence, this nation faced an identity crisis. Jinnah portrayed his vision about the future of Pakistan, which ‘will be a homeland for the Muslim and democratic state where Hindus will have the same rights as Muslims. The Jinnah’s vision undermined the national identity of Pakistan and brought many debates about the future of statecraft and identity, which delayed the formation of the constitution till 1956. The secession of East Pakistan – Bangladesh- in 1971 had a psychologically disconcerting effect on the citizens of the country. Serious doubts arose about the Two Nation Theory, the Ideology of Pakistan and the Statehood and National Identity of the State. A new quest for national identity tended to reaffirm Islam as a national source of salvation in the 1970s and 1980s. Then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi claimed that the independence of Bangladesh killed Jinnah’s Two Nations Theory. So, to avoid the crisis of national identity, General Zia launched an Islamization to revive the Ideology of Pakistan.
5- Geopolitical factors: Soviet-Afghan war
During Zia-ul-Haq’s regime, there was a significant amount of political propaganda due to the geopolitical factors surrounding the Soviet-Afghan war. The war had a profound impact on Pakistan’s internal politics and external relations, leading to the promotion of certain narratives and ideologies to support the anti-Soviet efforts. This included the portrayal of Pakistan as a front-line state in the fight against communism and the use of religious rhetoric to mobilize public support. The geopolitical dynamics of the time influenced the political propaganda during Zia’s regime.
How Islamization had impacted the country?
1- Social and Cultural Impact
- Change in How People Act and Believe:
Islamization has caused people to adjust how they behave and what they believe. It’s like a shift in how everyone acts and thinks in society.
- Impact on Families and How Men and Women Interact:
Families and how men and women interact with each other have also been affected. Islamic teachings have influenced roles and behaviours within families and between genders. Islamization has led to changes in how people live and interact with each other. It’s influenced beliefs, family dynamics, and the way men and women relate to each other in society.
2- Political Landscape
- Religious Parties in Politics:
With Islamization, religious parties have become more important in politics. They have a say in how the country is run and what laws are made.
- Balancing Religious and Civil Leaders:
Islamization has also brought up discussions about how much influence religious leaders should have in government. People are thinking about how to keep a balance between leaders who come from religious backgrounds and those who don’t. Islamization has changed how politics works, with religious parties becoming more influential. There are talks about finding the right balance between leaders with religious knowledge and those with a civil background.
3- International Relations and Image
- How the World Sees Pakistan:
Islamization has made other countries think differently about Pakistan. It has changed how Pakistan looks to the rest of the world.
- Effects on Making Friends and Trading:
The way Pakistan interacts with other countries and does business has been influenced by Islamization. It has affected friendships and how goods are exchanged between nations. Islamization has had an impact on how Pakistan is viewed globally and has also influenced how the country deals with other nations and trades with them.
All in all, Islamization during the Zia era was political propaganda to stabilize the military rule in the country. He brought many legal reforms in the socio-economic and political sectors by using the agenda of Islamization. Moreover, Zia used the twofold policies, such as introducing Islamic laws and culture, to gain the sympathy of religious and ethnic parties and masses. The other ultimate aim of Islamization was to demolish the influence of the PPP government. Further, he made an alliance with the US in the Cold War and portrayed Pakistan as a front-line ally against the Soviet Union to support the Afghan mujahideen. Many critics argued that Zia had played religion cards to keep himself in power. Although Islamization was political propaganda, it brought positive impacts on Pakistan as well, including religious education, the formation of Sharia courts to provide justice according to Islamic principles, and banning all non-Islamic practices in the country.
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