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Re envisioning a nation- media politics and publics in pakistan


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This honors thesis was written in 2007 while I was still a student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. …

This honors thesis was written in 2007 while I was still a student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Briefly this thesis broadly seeks to illuminate the complex relationship between religion and politics in contemporary Pakistan, by particularly explaining its most recent manifestation- Enlightened Moderation in light of its political project to fashion a new religiopolitical identity, that of the moderate Muslim. This thesis argues that structural and discursive changes brought about by Enlightened Moderation have opened up new spaces for re-negotiated identity formation and for the multitude to define its own parameters of moderate Islam through avenues of new media, thereby creating a new kind of public engagement. This thesis articulates a more political relationship between the State, media and civil and political institutions. By showing the power of the media and public reason this thesis helps provide alternatives ways of understanding politics in Pakistan and Muslim politics in general.

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  • 1. Re-Envisioning a Nation: Media, Politics and Publics in Pakistan A Capstone Experience Manuscript Presented by Sabah Baxamoosa Completion Date: May 2007 Approved By: Professor Paula Chakravartty, Communications University of Massachusetts/Amherst Professor Vivek Bhandari, Social Sciences Hampshire College
  • 2. ABSTRACTTitle: Re-Envisioning a Nation: Media, Politics and Publics in Pakistan.Author: Sabah Baxamoosa, STPECApproved By: Paula Chakravartty, CommunicationsApproved By: Vivek Bhandari, SSCE Type: Honors ThesisGeneral Pervez Musharraf took power in Pakistan in October 1999 and articulated a statevision of Enlightened Moderation in the wake of 9/11, which was subsequently used tolegitimize his non parliamentarian take over. Enlightened Moderation is a relatively newphenomenon that has re-politicized Islam within Pakistan. This thesis broadly seeks toilluminate the complex relationship between religion and politics in contemporary Pakistan,by particularly explaining its most recent manifestation- Enlightened Moderation in light ofits political project to fashion a new religiopolitical identity, that of the moderate Muslim.The Enlightened Moderation paradigm encompasses important elements of Pakistanipolitics such as Islam, the Army and negotiable foreign interests. Focusing closely on therhetoric, this thesis argues that it was formulated as foreign policy which was then co-optedas national policy. This thesis argues that the ideology of this paradigm fits perfectly in thepre-established civil military relations in Pakistan; however the subsequent civil and politicalengagement is novel to its socio-political context. This thesis examines how EnlightenedModeration played out in the local context, focusing particularly on discursive andinstitutional shifts and argues that the greatest impact was felt in the expanding medialandscape, in particular private broadcast television. Analyzing developments inprogramming trends, this thesis argues that the private television industry- which stands as adistinct bourgeois public- supports the ideology of Enlightened Moderation and participatesin promoting the new moderate Muslim. Conceptualizing the national polity as a multitude,this thesis argues that structural and discursive changes brought about by EnlightenedModeration have opened up new spaces for re-negotiated identity formation and for themultitude to define its own parameters of moderate Islam through avenues of new media,thereby creating a new kind of public engagement. This thesis articulates a more politicalrelationship between the State, media and civil and political institutions. By showing thepower of the media and public reason this thesis helps provide alternatives ways ofunderstanding politics in Pakistan and Muslim politics in general.
  • 3. Contents Acknowledgements/ ii INTRODUCTION 1/ Political Islam in the Context of the New Cold War/ 1 PART ONE 2/ “Moderate” Enlightenment/ 15 3/ Ideological Dreams & Political Realities/ 35 PART TWO4/ The Mediated Public Imaginary: Creation of the Moderate Muslim/ 50 5/ Managing Religion on Television/ 71 PART THREE 6/ The Mediated Multitude Finally Speaks/ 77 CONCLUSION 7/ Post- Script/ 93 BIBLIOGRAPHY 8/ 99 APPENDIX 9/ In Pictures/ 103
  • 4. Acknowledgements This thesis is a culmination of a year long effort with a lot that has transpired inbetween- a wedding, the celebration of my final year at college and the loss of two personallaptops who are dearly missed. I can distinctly remember that my interest in the history andpolitics of Pakistan began with stories my grandfather told me about ranging from the daysof a united India to when he first landed in Karachi. I would like to dedicate this thesis to mylate grandfather Taher M. Shaikh Ali and my parents Yasmeen and Shabbir Baxamoosa fortheir unconditional love, relentless support and belief in me. This thesis could not have been possible without a number of people that I wouldlike to acknowledge here. I want to begin by showing immense gratitude for my committeemembers, Paula Chakravartty and Vivek Bhandari who pushed me to strive beyond myintellectual limits, taught me to think through a concept using multiple lenses, mulling overits complexities and deriving joy from every new insight gained. I can’t thank them enoughfor their support and guidance and seeing this project from its inception to its end. Theymade the writing of this thesis - that seemed like an extremely daunting task at first into anexciting challenge - and I can’t thank them enough for their patience and friendship. I wouldalso like to thank my advisors Katherine Mallory, Sarah B. and Delsey Thomas whoseexcitement and interest in my project made it that much more exciting to write.
  • 5. This thesis while I am proud to call my own is a result of the musings of manyminds. I would like to extend my gratitude to all my friends who said a kind word every timethey saw me vigorously typing away in the library and to those who sat with me while Ithought through every idea with them providing insight that I would have lost had this beena solo project. This project while invigorating has been extremely stressful and nervewrenching. I would like to thank Astha, Naved, Divij, Nishi and Shaina for patiently listeningto me whine when my stress levels would sky rocket. I thank Inder for saving my life and mydrafts on multiple occasions when my thesis would randomly disappear from the computer. Finally I want to thank my sister Sanaa and my brother Hasnain, who have readcountless finished, unfinished drafts and parts of this thesis whose meticulous editingabilities have been an invaluable asset to me. I thank you both for taking this project, makingit your own and helping my words sound better. Lastly, I would like to thank the lovelyladies of 79, my family at Hampshire College without whose loving home, brilliant mindsand persistent support this thesis could not have been completed.
  • 6. POLITICAL ISLAM IN THE CONTEXT OF THE NEW COLD WAR The end of the Cold War brought about a demise of the bipolar structure of theinternational political system. Since then many observers, particularly on the left haveasserted that the West, in particular the United States has been on the lookout for asubstitute ogre. Islamic fundamentalism seemed to have all the right qualifications. In orderto ensure unity and cohesion, the West needed to identify a new enemy and the clash ofIslam fit the mould perfectly. Mark Juergensmeyer recognizes that only the end of the ColdWar could have opened the way for this “New Cold War.” In his view, “[t]he new worldorder that is replacing the bipolar powers of the old Cold War is characterized… also by theresurgence of parochial identities based on ethnic and religious alliance”.1 With recentinternational political events such as the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11 and theLondon bombings on 07/07 perpetrated by individuals identified as Muslim terrorists, it isincreasingly difficult to ignore or overlook the salience of religion in public and political life. Political Islam is a very complex phenomenon. Contemporary debates situate it inthe encounter of Islamic civilizations with modernity. Islamic modernism attempts to seek asynthesis between cultural and institutional modernity and Islam, without rethinking thetraditional Islamic theocentric worldview. The leaders who spearheaded the movement foran independent and sovereign Pakistan such as Mohammad Ali Jinnah and poet-philosopherMohammad Iqbal can be seen as belonging to this school of thought. These leaders areextremely revered in Pakistan and General Pervez Musharraf2, the present day President ofPakistan aspires to be counted amongst them. He took over Pakistan through a non-1 Juergensmeyer, Mark. pp 1. The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State.Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1993.2 I use General Musharraf and Musharraf interchangeably.
  • 7. parliamentarian bloodless military coup on October, 12th 1999 and has been in control of itsexecutive ever since. It is important to clarify here that these men were Western educated secular liberalswho used religion for political purposes. They created political identities that used religiousidioms through direct engagement with modern forms of power.3 Mamdani further articulates: In their preoccupation with political identity and political power, Islamist intellectuals were like other intellectuals, whether religious or not. Islamist intellectuals crafted their ideologies through encounters not only with the ulema but also with these secular intellectuals who ignored the Islamic tradition and drew on other intellectual sources, such as Marxism or Western liberalism. Through this double encounter, they developed political Islam in multiple directions, both emancipatory and authoritarian.4 It is important to point out that the modernity these statesmen are trying toconstruct has to be seen in the specific historical context where liberal-secularism had notbeen established as the political norm. Therefore, while these men affected the subjectivepersonhood of the nation, they also allowed the space to create new conceptions ofmodernity. This pre-occupation with creating modernity and seemingly modern identitieshas carried on long after independence in postcolonial nations. For example, in Egypt thismodernity can be seen in an increasing hegemony of an assertive religious identity in which“piety has been made into the characteristic of self”5 and religious and political identities arecoming together. Seen in this light and situated specifically within the contemporary socio-political context of Pakistan, this thesis broadly seeks to illuminate the complex relationshipbetween religion and politics in contemporary Pakistan, by particularly explaining its most3 Mamdani, Mahmood. pp 39. Good Muslims, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War and the Roots ofTerror. Random House, Inc. 2004.4 Ibid. 595 Mahmood, Saba. pp 131. Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject. Princeton, NJ:Princeton University Press, 2005.
  • 8. recent manifestation- Enlightened Moderation in light of its political project to fashion thenew moderate Muslim. I argue that Musharraf’s Enlightened Moderation paradigm can beviewed as an initiative participating in the discourse of moderate political Islam. In particularit can be seen as an effort to negotiate modernity with the increasing prominence of Islam inpublic life within Pakistan by fashioning a new religiopolitical identity- the moderate Muslim. Musharraf defines the moderate Muslim against a more radical Islam that is membersof the traditional ulema, religious clerics, others involved with madrassahs (schools of religiousinstruction), and those employing terrorism and violence for religious and political gains. Hisrhetoric is comparable to that of the Bush administration post 9/11- “good” and “bad”Muslims, the driving force behind American foreign policy.6 In the wake of 9/11, MahmoodMamdani wrote a book in order to analyze and unpack this rhetoric. Developing his centralthesis, Mamdani asserts: Good Muslims are modern, secular, and westernized, but bad Muslims are doctrinal, anti-modern, and virulent. Islam must be quarantined and the devil exorcised from it by a Muslim civil war. Rather than wait for “good” Muslims to triumph over “bad” Muslims… the Bush administration is determined to hasten such a civil war. If necessary, as in Iraq, it is prepared to invade and bring about a regime change intended to liberate “good” Muslims from the political yoke of “bad” ones.7Situating Enlightened Moderation and Musharraf’s regime policies more generally, it is clearthat his state politics reflect a close association with the Bush administration. Apparently,Musharraf is not an Islamist and would rather consolidate his power through the support ofWashington, rather than by delivering a Friday sermon at the mosque. Since the War onTerrorism started Musharraf has taken strict action against Radical Islam: banning severalreligious militant parties preventing them from participating in insurgencies in Afghanistanand Kashmir; reforming the madrassah curriculum; and assisting in capturing Al Qaeda6 Ibid. pp 237 Ibid. pp 24
  • 9. operatives in Pakistan. Musharraf made claims that those opposing him were only a minoritywho represented no more than 10 to 15% of the population and he wasn’t worried about anIslamic backlash. There might be some truth to his optimism as throughout Pakistan’shistory, no religious leader has been able to translate the possibility of a mass based Islamicrevolution into a reality, although many have tried. Religious parties have not been able towield enough political power through the ballot or through normative democratic processes.However for the first time in 2002, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, a conglomerate of religiouspolitical parties made their strongest showing in a general election in Pakistan, securing11.1% of the popular vote, and 20% of the seats in the lower house of Parliament. Sincethen, they have pressed for Taliban style Islamization in the North West Frontier Province(NWFP). Before, 9/11 they had never been able to make their way to Parliament. Scholarsattribute the success of the Islamists to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan8, which advancedIslamist rhetoric that the West is bent on destroying all shreds of Islamic culture. Eventhough religious parties have seldom been successful in elections, their political clout shouldnot be undermined as they possess immense symbolic and militant power. A few religious parties and organizations are worth mentioning right from the onset.The Jamaat-e-Ulama-e-Islam (JUI) is in the Pukhtoon areas of Balochistan and NWFP wherethe party has control of a large number of madrassahs. It is a grassroots party that not onlypromotes Islam but also campaigns against social injustices. Its support base is from therural masses and the party is led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman prominently known for his anti-American stance. Conversely, the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI)’s headquarter is in the cities and it gainsmost of its support from the urban middle classes. It is an ideological party that advocatesfor an Islamic revolution to create a Nizam-e-Islami (world of Islam). It was founded by8 Aslam, Madeeha. The Process and Impact of Ideologization of Islam in Pakistan.
  • 10. Maulana Abul Al Maududi who opposed the movement for Pakistan’s independence in1947. The Jamaat-e-Islami is mostly known for its immense street power and massiveprotests. They took to the streets protesting the War on Terrorism in support of theirAfghan and Iraqi Muslim brethren. The JI is probably the most dangerous insofar as itopenly makes claims to vie for political power. The most traditional of religious parties is theJamaat-e-Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP) that has won little to no political power and has been reducedto a pressure group.9 Another significant Islamic force is the Tablighi Jamaat. They are agroup of religious scholars and students who believe in spreading the message of Islamthrough the pen rather than the sword. They are extremely active in recruiting membersfrom the army which is reflected in the increasingly Islamic outlook of its cadets. It isimportant to note here that all the political parties mentioned here subscribe to Sunni Islam.Islam has a hybrid character in Islam. However, the above political parties promote aWahabbi10 interpretation of Islam, and therefore do not reflect the true nature of Islam inPakistan.11 The Domestic Context: Mixing Religion with Politics Pakistan is one of the most complex nations of the twenty first century. It is a myriadof contradictions: it is a client state of the United States, yet its citizens are deeply resentfulof US intervention; its northwest frontier has been a training ground for movements such asthe Mujahideen and Al Qaeda, yet at the same time it is a key ally of the US in the war againstterrorism; its political and economic elite are strongly tied to the interests of the military, yet9 Jones, B, Owen. pp. 5-7. Pakistan: Eye of the Storm. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 200210 Wahabbism is the school of thought that encourages a more literal interpretation of the tenets of the HolyQuran and the deeds of the Prophet. It is widely believed to be the most conservative version of Islam.11 Islam in Pakistan is quite a complex phenomenon, with myriad sects and variations ranging from themore mystical Sufis to the hardlined Sunnis and Shias. However, I will not be able to elaborate further asthat discussion lies beyond the scope of this thesis. I will engage with Islam as a popular religion.,collapsing all its nuances into a single category.
  • 11. they are kept in check by an fiercely resistant, free press and media; it has volatile relationswith neighboring India and Afghanistan and it is a declared nuclear power; it is a successfulsecessionist movement of the 20th century, and one of the few countries founded on thebasis of religion. In an age of “freedom and democracy”, it is the only nation which has amilitary dictator at the head of the state and an active army running the government,particularly in the South Asian context. Pakistan begs scholarship because of its complicatedgovernance strategies and its eminence in the US’ war against terror making it one of themost strategically important nations in the international order today. Pakistan was created on the premise that the oppressed Muslims of India needed aseparate homeland to live in peacefully. The two-nation theory- the foundation for theinception of Pakistan- put forth by the poet philosopher Iqbal posited that Hindus andMuslims are two separate nations that have different cultural values, ways of living withdistinct ancient roots, and most importantly religions. Therefore they cannot co-exist underone state without potential for conflict. Consequently Pakistan came into being as the“promised land” for Indian Muslims; however its founding ideology was never clearlydefined. The Father of the Nation Mohammad Ali Jinnah passed away in1948 a year afterthe country’s birth and state institutions and ideologies could not be consolidated thereafter. The complicated position Pakistan finds itself in today stems from a peculiar andcomplex birth, a lack of leadership and two other main reasons. The first involves Indo-Pakrelations and geo-politics of the region. Pakistan was born out of the great anti-colonialmovement- independence from British India. However, at the same time its founders alsointended to free it from another threat- that of Hindu India. Its antagonistic relationshipwith its twin neighbor has formed the basis for its foreign policy. The authorities in Pakistanare always working to protect it from the threat of an Indian invasion. Their anxiety is not
  • 12. far-fetched as there have already been four armed conflicts in 1948, 1956, 1971 and 1999between these two nations. A second cause for the peculiar nature of Pakistan was the new state’s relations withIslam and with the ummah, the community of the faithful. Religious movements like theJamaat-e-Islami which subscribed to the universalistic logic of Islam were strictly opposed tothe partition of the Indian subcontinent. Nevertheless, these groups eventually supportedthe creation of Pakistan accepting Iqbal’s claim that as a state willed into existence, Pakistanshould be open to the development of an Islamic solidarity. However “still to be resolvedwas the contradiction between a nationalist concept of the state and the universalizing idealof a Muslim civil society.”12 In other words, there remained the crucial question that hasplagued Pakistan’s existence from its very inception whether it was to be a moderndemocratic nation which was a homeland for Indian Muslims or a truly Islamic stateeconomically, politically and socially. From a geo-political perspective the utopian notion of a universal, united Muslimummah deliberately overlooked the very real religious differences and power plays betweenMuslim nations. The Middle East wanted to take control of the Muslim world due to itsestablished and ancient roots in Islamic history; Pakistan however was hoping to play acrucial role due to the sheer number of Muslims that inhabited it; while the Arab nationalistmovements understood India’s anti colonial struggle better than Pakistan’s secession. 13Therefore, Pakistan’ relationship with Islam was ambiguous within the state and without. It becomes evident then that Pakistan’s foreign policy revolves around three mainentities: its love-hate relationship with India; shifts with changing personalities in power inthe two countries and the great powers of the West, in particular the US; its position in the12 Christophe Jaffrelot, pp 98. Ed. A History of Pakistan and its Origins. Anthem Press, 2004.13 Ibid.
  • 13. Muslim world and the religious dimension of its national identity, reaffirmed by the namegiven to its new capital in 1967: Islamabad.14 Many governments since 1948 have tried tonegotiate a settlement between these competing forces that affect foreign policy and hencethe state of Pakistan. Field Marshall Ayub Khan and General Yahya Khan concentrated theirefforts on the question of India; Zulfikar Ali Bhutto focused on Islam in order to winpopular support; General Zia ul Haq intensified this effort and aimed at creating a truly“Islamic” state. Many previous government have articulated national state visions forPakistan, however no one has addressed all three factors at once- except for General PervezMusharraf in his Enlightened Moderation archetype. General Musharraf’s authoritarian government is an absolutely pivotal stage inPakistani politics. Plenty of changes have been made to Pakistan’s foreign policy: Pakistanhas stopped supporting the Taliban, made its presence felt on the international politicalscene, consolidated its position in the Muslim world and proved itself to be a faithful ally ofthe West. All these events took place under Musharraf’s rule which led to the proposition ofEnlightened Moderation. The birth of Enlightened Moderation took place in tenuouscircumstances which make it an absolutely fascinating subject. However, there is noliterature or scholarly work published at the moment on it, although articles, online webposts and news reports are printed about it with every passing day. This thesis attempts tolessen that gap and start scholarship on Musharraf’s vision for Pakistan and in his view theworld. While General Musharraf is making grand plans for a Renaissance in Pakistan, thereality speaks of something different. Pakistan has experienced major political instability insixty years of its existence. In less than sixty years, Pakistan has had four cycles of military14 Ibid, pp 97
  • 14. rule and three democratically elected civilian leaders who have been forced out of officebefore completing their term. Civilian politics have been tarnished by corruption andinefficiency, and military intervention has rendered the people to lose hope in the politicalprocess. However in recent times, the largely fragmented multitude, the citizens of Pakistanare claiming their space through active participation in public life facilitated by the massmedia- in particular the private television industry. In this thesis I examine the complex relationship between religion and politics incontemporary Pakistan, by particularly looking at the politics of the Enlightened Moderationin light of its political project to fashion the new moderate Muslim. Moreover, I will showhow the bourgeois public and the mediated masses are engaging with this State attempt tocreate a new religiopolitical identity. Enlightened Moderation is a relatively new phenomenon in the politics of Pakistanand I did not find any secondary literature or published material on it, except for theoccasional personal blog. I therefore turned to General Musharraf’s official personal websitewhere I found government reports and transcripts of speeches articulating his program. Ialso read his autobiography in order to gain a better understanding of who Musharraf is bylooking at his political and personal history. In order to situate Enlightened Moderation within a specific context, I began to lookat books and scholarly journals to form an understanding of the political landscape ofPakistan. I began this project by wanting to focus on voting patterns and electoralparticipation. However, as I continued to read on civil military relations, political institutions,the civil bureaucracy, I began to notice that Pakistani governments are not responsible totheir electorates. Instead, the Army has the power to veto the electorate’s choices throughdirect intervention. I realized that it would therefore be ineffective to embark upon a project
  • 15. that simply looks at parliamentary democracy and electoral participation in Pakistan as that isan inconsequential component of politics in Pakistan. My background reading began to inform my understanding of politics withinPakistan and I began to see the complexities involved in domestic politics. I also sawemerging trends in Pakistani politics and recognized that the Enlightened Moderationparadigm and Musharraf encompassed them all- Islam, the Army and negotiable foreigninterests. I therefore focus very closely on the way Musharraf articulates his scheme andbegan looking at his interviews, television appearances and articles. I found that Pakistanissupported him immensely and believed in his words, and therefore I chose not to dismissthe articulation of Enlightened Moderation as state rhetoric. Instead, I analyzed it to arguethat it was formulated as foreign policy which was then co-opted as national policy. I thenbegan to look at the circumstances in which the military entered politics in Pakistan andfound a trend. Enlightened Moderation fit perfectly in the pre-established civil-militaryrelations in Pakistan. Moreover, I found that foreign policy was very closely tied to domesticpolicy and almost always influenced it. I therefore turned my attention to the effects ofEnlightened Moderation within Pakistan and found that it was articulated very differently ina local context. Within Pakistan, it took on a life of its own bringing about institutional anddiscursive changes. In part two, I look at the institutional shifts, particularly in the television industry.Institutionally Pakistan began to do very well registering unprecedented economic growth.However, my interest was quickly captured by the evolving media scene- changes inprogramming trends on television. I saw that the private television industry was boomingand creating more socially responsible news and current affairs programming. I looked forscholarship on media in Pakistan but found little. The literature on media and politics is
  • 16. extremely limited and descriptive in nature. I read whatever secondary literature I could findranging from independent journalist group reports to interviews of media personalities. Mythesis adds to this body of literature as I articulate a more complex, political relationshipbetween the media and political institutions in Pakistan. Most of the information for this section comes from how I perceive the institutionalshifts in media programming to be. In line with recent studies on media, politics and modernnationalisms in India and Egypt, I also examine the state’s relationship with the mediahistorically. I was very influenced by the work of Abu Lughod and Rajagopal and they haveinformed my analysis of the relationship between media and politics. Like them, I alsochoose to engage with television as the central medium of communication. Television is akey institution in modern nation states for the production and sustenance of a nationalculture and identity. It is a mass medium with unprecedented appeal that transcends allboundaries of temporal space and time. In his study of the influence of media, in particulartelevision, on the career of Hindu nationalism in India, Rajagopal shows the power oftelevision rests in two central characteristics: the medium itself and in the act of viewingtelevision. He posits that television compresses different temporalities into one, such that itbrings about freedom from everyday life where the view feels his/her autonomy andindividualness provides the critical distance that makes it possible to “reflect on society as anexternal object of thought independent of their place in it”.15 At the same time television 16“establishes a shared feeling of community, closeness and reciprocity” which helps toimagine and construct a united national polity. Television and other new media set upcircuits of communication across the realms of politics, economics and culture and reshape15 Rajagopal Arvind. pp 6 Politics After Television: Religious Nationalism and the Reshaping of the PublicIn India. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001).16 Ibid. pp 5
  • 17. the “context in which politics is conceived, enacted, and understood”.17 Television bridgesthe divide between the elite and the masses because in the act of viewing televisioneverybody exists in a homogenous time and space. Simultaneously, however it emphasizesthe differences by making clear distinctions between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’.Television sits in the homes of the people as a part of their private lives at the same timeconnecting them to the world outside through news about local, national and internationalissues and politics. The characteristics of television largely blur the strict margins of thepublic and private spheres which affect the conception of a modern democratic polity. The blurring of private/public spheres led me to engage with Habermasian theoryand its critiques. It is important to re-think the public sphere due to increasing newinformational networks that allow access to and engagement with more than just rationalcritical debate. The strict separation of state and civil society does not exist any more.Instead I found Partha Chatterjee’s articulation of political society more adequate inexpressing the complex procedures of politics in post colonial contexts. He points out thatwith the emergence of mass democracies, while the theoretical modern nation state had toconstantly reaffirm the unity of its citizens, there was in reality no one massive public.Instead there were multiple publics, “always a multiplicity of population groups that were theobjects of governmentality- multiple targets with multiple characteristics requiring multipletechniques of administration.”18 However, Chatterjee’s “political society” is based on class and caste interests anddistinguishes very strongly between different sections of society. While his argument isuseful in understanding that a national polity is not united or singular despite the rhetoric,17 Chatterjee, Partha. pp 21-29. The Politics of the Governed: Reflections on Popular Politics in Most of theWorld. NY:Columbia University Press, 2004.18 Ibid. pp 35-36
  • 18. his theory falls short of the unity a fragmented national polity can display based oncommonalities. I therefore use the concept of the multitude; for it allows the differentsections to come together, and yet maintain those internal differences. Negri and Hardtconceptualize: The multitude, designates an active social subject, which acts on the basis of what the singularities share in common. The multitude is an internally different, multiple social subject whose constitution and action is based not on identity or unity (or, much less, indifference) but what it has in common.19 Organization of this Thesis This thesis consists of three parts. This chapter introduces the underlying theme inmy examination of the re-politicization of religion in Pakistan. Religion becomes a focalpoint when discussing the politics of Pakistan, because its creation is premised on being aMuslim nation and this idea of Pakistan has been instrumental in its political development.Discussing religion here will also help to provide a conceptual framework in trying tounderstand the reasons behind ‘Enlightened Moderation’ which has an attitude towardsreligion and its position in the state of Pakistan largely implicated in it. Moreover, I alsosituate my thesis in contemporary debates around Political Islam, particularly Islamicmodernism/reformism in an effort to understand Musharraf within a specific context. In Part one I introduce the crux of my inquiry which is General Pervez Musharraf’sparadigm of ‘Enlightened Moderation’ articulated since 2003 that is used to legitimize hisunconstitutional, non parliamentarian takeover of power in October 1999. In the firstchapter of this part, I argue that Enlightened Moderation came about largely as a politicalmaneuver, a foreign policy initiative articulated to gain legitimacy in international circuits andensure continued military and economic support from the United States. I will explain the19 Hardt, Michael & Negri, Antonio. pp 100. Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire. NY:Penguin Press, 2004.
  • 19. program strategy of Enlightened Moderation, highlight the main themes, show its ambiguityand raise several concerns about it. In the second chapter of part one, I review Pakistan’spolitical history in order to explain how Pakistan politically arrived at General Musharraf’sEnlightened Moderation paradigm. What events caused religion to get so closely tied to itspolitics in its history? In order to this, I will highlight some of the key political players whohave tinkered with Islam and Pakistani politics over the past 60 years of its existence. I willshow that Enlightened Moderation can be seen as a continuation and to an extent aculmination of state initiatives that preceded it. The historical overview will also show howlong religion and politics have been intertwined in Pakistan. In Part two, I will argue that the greatest impact of these policy changes was seenand felt in the expanding media landscape. This newly and truly liberalized mediaatmosphere created spaces and opened up avenues which enabled the private broadcasttelevision industry to engage with the state vision of Enlightened Moderation. Based ondevelopments that have occurred in programming trends, I argue that the private televisionindustry- which stands as a distinct bourgeois public- supports the idea of EnlightenedModeration and actively participates in promoting the idea of a new moderate Muslim. In the final part of this thesis, I will show that the influence of EnlightenedModeration goes beyond the normative bourgeois public sphere. Instead the structural anddiscursive changes brought about by Enlightened Moderation have opened up new spacesfor these publics to participate in their own identity formation and define for themselves theparameters of being a moderate Muslim. In particular I will argue that these publics arelooking towards Islamic scholars and intellectuals in an effort to negotiate the idea behindEnlightened Moderation in their own personal lives, thereby creating a new kind of publicengagement.
  • 20. “MODERATE” ENLIGHTENMENT The Beginnings of Enlightened Moderation “I have given considerable thought to the present violence in Pakistan, the unstable conditions in our region, the destabilized condition of the Muslim world, and the violence around the world. Most unfortunately, all the violence is centered on the Muslims. These thoughts haunt me frequently. The idea of “enlightened moderation” dawned on me in my study one night when I was meditating on all this.”20 Pervez Musharraf, 2006. Musharraf’s Enlightened Moderation is in the hearts and minds of every Pakistani,even remotely interested in local and international politics. It is discussed on television in talkshows and the news; developments are regularly reported in print; politicians, analysts, NGOactivists and media celebrities deliberate over it; and it is regularly featured in Musharraf’sspeeches and addresses delivered to the nation. It is General Musharraf’s vision for Pakistanto fashion a moderate, enlightened Islamic state that reverts back to the core values oftolerance and peace and eschews terrorism and extremism. The people of Pakistan have verymixed reactions to this objective. Some view it with cynicism dismissing it as one more failedinitiative in the tarnished history of Pakistani politics. Others support this view hoping thatMusharraf can deliver Pakistan out of its misery. Enlightened Moderation appears to be a set of goals that Musharraf believes all thenations of the world have to achieve, particularly Pakistan if there is to be peace and justicein this world. For Musharraf, Pakistan serves an extremely critical role in the internationalpolitical arena because it is a frontline state in the war on terror, part of the Islamic world,neighbors regions like the Middle East and shares borders with Afghanistan. Consequently,since the idea was first unveiled in September 2003, he has made it his top priority tosuccessfully implement these goals in Pakistan and prove himself a worthy statesman.20 Musharraf, Pervez. pp. 295 In the Line of Fire: A Memoir. London: Simon and Schuster UK Ltd, 2006.
  • 21. Enlightened Moderation comes across as a public relations stunt that has been in the worksvery soon after October 1999, as a means to legitimize the non-parliamentarian, yetbloodless take over executed by the army. It is shrouded in notions of enlightenment,moderation, modernity, justice and peace which are reminiscent of the European Age ofEnlightenment in the 18th century. Enlightened Moderation, brainchild of Musharraf is a strategy put forward in orderto face the challenges of the 21st century. The beginning of the 21st century saw escalatingviolence and wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kashmir and Palestine, and led to the furtherdestruction and demise of the Muslim world. Musharraf announced his vision of reconcilingthe rift between the West and the Muslim world in an address delivered at the 58 th UnitedNations General Assembly in the aftermath of these wars. He stated: I believe the way forward is to adopt a two-pronged strategy a double pincer to build harmony, promote moderation, oppose extremism, and ensure justice. I call this strategy: “Enlightened Moderation”.21 (2003) The idea of Enlightened Moderation comes at a time when most of thecontemporary conflict-ridden states are Muslim majority areas, whether it is Afghanistan,Kashmir or Palestine. The objective in Musharraf’s view is to diminish the rift that existsbetween the Muslim world and the West in the international political arena. His logic lays inhis “two-pincer strategy.” Musharraf is deeply troubled with the dilapidated state of theMuslim world plagued by war, radicalism, terrorism and economic deprivation, which isfurther worsened by Western misconceptions of Islam and the imposition of economicsanctions on an already weak Muslim world. He points out that the prosecution of Muslimsthroughout the 80s which continued to the 90s saw the emergence and expansion of pan-21 Special Report on Enlightened Moderation: The Post 9/11 Scenario, Senate Foreign RelationsCommittee, Pakistan, October 2004, pp 12. [italics mine]
  • 22. Islamic militancy, and led to the growth of clandestine networks such as the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Both the perpetrators and the victims of these wars and the ensuing political violencewere Muslims. Such a state of affairs consequently led the international community to beunder the misconception that Islam is a religion of intolerance, militancy and terrorism. Heasserts that the West believes that Muslims are fundamentalists and extremists whopropagate jihad (holy war) at any cost. Musharraf reasons that this poses a special challengefor the ummah, the Muslim community at large. On one hand, the West views Muslims withsuspicion, mistrust and perceives them as hell-bent on destroying Western culture, assets andvalues. The tragic events of 9/11 carried out by Al Qaeda operatives in the name of Islamadded fuel to the fire, as it confirmed the suspicions of the West and strengthened themisperception that the Islamic world is irrational, volatile and prone to violence. Theseevents projected Islam as a religion that creates and supports terrorism. However on the other hand, he reminds us that Islam as a religion did not breedviolence or enmity against the West; it was the political situation that Muslims were caught inand the unyielding attitude of the West that fostered antagonism and extremism. Musharrafpoints out that most of the political conflicts in the world involve Muslims living underforeign occupation as in Kashmir, Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq. The violence in theseregions was heightened as US foreign policy became stricter in the post 9/11 world, whichfurther marginalized Muslims and increased hostility towards the West. In other words, Musharraf argues that Muslims feel as if their community and theirreligion are under attack by the rest of the world, while the West misconstrues Muslimreaction as blind fanaticism. In such a state of affairs, Muslims are left in a dead-lock. Thechallenge “to drag [Muslims] out of the pit of despondency through individual exaltation and
  • 23. collective socio-economic emancipation”22 remains unfulfilled. As a response to thischallenge Musharraf proposes the initiative of Enlightened Moderation. He states: The suffering of the innocent multitudes, particularly my brethren in faith- the Muslims- at the hands of militants, extremists, terrorists, has inspired me to contribute towards bringing some order to this disorderly world. It was this very urge which led me to expound the strategy of Enlightened Moderation.23 (2004) Enlightened Moderation was first conceptualized as a two-fold strategy aimedtowards building cooperation and sustainable peace between the Muslim world and theWest. Implicated within it were steps that both groups- the Islamic world and the greatpowers of the West- had to take concurrently in order to ensure that EnlightenedModeration was a success. However, what began as a “global solution” to combat terror andrectify misperceptions about Islam has in its short existence become reduced to a nationalinitiative only for Pakistan. In 2004 it was a strategy of co-operation on both political and military frontsbetween the West and the Muslim world to fight fanaticism, and only a year later it aimedmainly at the socio-economic uplift of the despondent Muslim ummah. Finally, in 2006 it alsoincluded human resource development such as women’s emancipation as one of its mainobjectives due to specific socio-political developments in Pakistan. While perhaps it is tooearly to coherently analyze Musharraf’s Enlightened Moderation paradigm because thisstrategy is still unfolding and constantly changing, I argue that it is precisely this ambiguitythat allows him to appease multiple publics and consolidate support for his government. The strategy of Enlightened Moderation is seemingly quite complex and fraught withcontradictions. It tries to bring together a couple of different ideas which are worth22 < Moderation.aspx>23 Ibid.
  • 24. mentioning right from the onset: the core essence of Islam as a religion; political Islam;global conflicts; the Islamic world; the West; and Pakistan’s delicate and precariousrelationship with each of them. There are two main actors in the strategy: the Islamic worldconsisting of Pakistan itself, other Muslim nations in civil strife and member countries of theOrganization of Islamic Conference (OIC); and the Western powers particularly the US andthe United Nations as a multilateral organization that will participate in conflict resolutioninitiatives. While the logic and rationale for the necessity of Enlightened Moderation varieswith the audience Musharraf is addressing, the strategy remains the same. On one hand, theIslamic world has to be responsible for becoming a united polity that fosters peace byrejecting militant extremism and moving towards economic uplift and development. Whileon the other, the West -the US in particular- has to simultaneously commit itself to resolvingall political conflicts and redressing grievances that arise from foreign occupation in theMuslim world. The West will also have to give aid and assist in the process of socio-economic development. According to Musharraf, once these two things occursimultaneously the world will have averted a “clash of civilizations” and reached an age ofEnlightened Moderation in which we can finally secure peaceful and just resolutions. In order to implement and carry out Enlightened Moderation, Musharraf alsooutlines a few structural procedures and parameters. With respect to the disposition of thestate, Musharraf points out that an Islamic state should be Islamic insofar as its head of stateis a Muslim. He does not advocate an Islamic state based on Islamic law or Sharia. For himthe majority of the people of an Islamic state should be Muslim and therefore, the impetusof the implementation of Enlightened Moderation in its first public appearance falls largelyon the Muslim world. He states: We have to concentrate on human resource development, and the best way for that is through poverty alleviation, greater education, better health and
  • 25. assured social justice… we have to adopt the path of moderation, a conciliatory approach, a pacific[ist] approach in order to cleanse ourselves of the charge that Islam is a religion of militancy and is averse to modernization, democracy and secularism.24 (2004) Moreover, Muslims are cautioned to acknowledge that the root causes of militancyand extremism lie in political injustice and in the denial and deprivation of rights; not due toa certain foreign occupying force. He posits that being under foreign occupation coupledwith extreme poverty and illiteracy renders the Muslim ummah hopeless and makes them easytargets of religious extremism. As a remedy, he urges Muslims to concentrate on thebetterment of human resources, to encourage research and development in science andtechnology, and to gain knowledge form the West. These steps in Musharraf’s view will leadto Enlightenment and help combat terrorism and religious fanaticism. Political Expediency Having outlined the general themes and underlying principles of EnlightenedModeration, I now want to examine each case more closely. At the speech given at the 58thGeneral Assembly of the United Nations, Musharraf begins with a discussion of the effectsof 9/11 on the international political scene and assures the West of Pakistan’s resilience andcontinued cooperation in the war against terror. We are acting against Al Qaeda and its associates effectively. We have also acted against other organizations or groups involved in any form of terrorism. Pakistan will remain in the forefront of the war on terrorism. The war against terrorism must be fought comprehensively, on a global front, with vision and understanding…. It must not be allowed to engender a clash of civilizations a clash between Islam and the West.25 (2003)24 < Moderation.aspx>25 Special Report on Enlightened Moderation: The Post 9/11 Scenario, Senate Foreign RelationsCommittee, Pakistan, October 2004, pp 12
  • 26. He argues that the war on terror must be fought on a global front and Islam shouldnot be linked with terrorism. Even though the “terrorists” might be Muslims, it is not viableto conclude that this will lead to an inevitable “clash of civilizations” between the West andIslam. He plays the role of a diplomat in this speech because he acknowledges both thatMuslims feel attacked and demonized by virtue of their religion, and that the West perceivesthem with mistrust and suspicion. Furthermore, he clarifies misconceptions and presents the“true” nature of Islam on this platform. He states: Islam is a faith of peace, harmony and justice. Islam is a democracy in action. It upholds human rights, social equality, non-discrimination, freedom of speech … our Faith is dynamic, promoting constant renewal and adaptation, through the process of Ijtehad (or interpretation through consultations), Islam’s vision is not trapped in any one period in history; it is modern and futuristic. Islam must not be confused with the narrow vision of a few extremists.26 (2003) It is clear then that Musharraf is apologetic for the actions of Muslims who are at theforefront of politics presently. He vilifies fanatics and promotes Islam as a religion that isprogressive and modern to suit the needs of the present century. The 21st century ischaracterized by unprecedented growth in science and technology, universal andparticularistic notions of modernity, competition between the superpowers, resurgence ofreligious politics and a renewed belief in primordial associations. In light of this, forMusharraf the only way towards the emancipation of the ummah is through the developmentof human resources. It is interesting to note that he speaks of the Muslim world as if he isnot a part of it. He acknowledges the need to improve Muslim countries economically andsocially; yet at the same time he distances himself from these countries; perhaps because inhis view, Pakistan is already on its journey to seek Enlightenment. He believes Pakistan canspearhead the movement for Enlightened Moderation in the Muslim world.26 Ibid.
  • 27. They [Muslim nations] are at the crossroads. They must eschew terrorism and confrontation. They must embrace the march of human civilization. They must address the deficits in their social and economic development. They must seek science and technology, higher education and human resource development.27 (2003) Being aware of the stature of the United Nations General Assembly, Musharraf goesback to a discussion of international political disputes that are crucial to the success of hisstrategy. Here he also points out the role that the West must play in EnlightenedModeration. The primary goals of the Western world in this strategy are to resolve allconflicts in Muslim areas; to condone attempts made to equate Islam with terrorism; and toassist the Islamic world economically in this Muslim Renaissance. He points out thatsolutions need to be reached for the wars in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Iraq and particularlyPalestine. He identifies that: The fate of the Palestinian people is the principal factor in determining public and political perceptions in the entire Islamic world.28 (2003) Palestine has become a rallying cry for the entire Muslim ummah. The atrocitiescommitted there are symbolic of years of colonialism and Western domination. The Muslimworld feels that the great powers of the West, particularly the US must compensate for thedecrepit state of the Muslim world. He discusses the current conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan,Palestine and Kashmir and suggests solutions for each. However the question remains,should the international community be interested in Kashmir? It has little to offer in termsof global natural resources or oil, although it is crucial to Pakistan’s existence as Kashmir isthe source of its water supply, but it is vital to Musharraf for purely ideological reasons.Kashmir is his Iraq. Kashmir has always been a bone of contention between India and27 Special Report on Enlightened Moderation: The Post 9/11 Scenario, Senate Foreign RelationsCommittee, Pakistan, October 2004, pp 1228 Ibid. pp 13
  • 28. Pakistan and the primary reason for fragile regional security in South Asia. There havealready been three29 armed conflicts over Kashmir in 1948, 1965 and 1999. The Indo-Pakconflict of 1999 known as the Kargil War was led by Musharraf who was the then Chief ofArmy Staff. Pakistan had to withdraw its troops from the border and the onus of the failedmission fell on Musharraf. For Musharraf then, the Kashmir question is very personal. He isalso aware of the growing popularity of India on the global market and wants to win overinternational support for his nation. He therefore denounces India for the continuedoppression of the Kashmiri people. He states: India continues to suppress the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiri people to exercise their right to self-determination… it [India] knows fully well that the Kashmiri struggle is indigenous. India seeks to exploit the international anti- terrorist sentiment after 9/11, to de-legitimize the Kashmiri freedom struggle. On the contrary is it India which violates International Security Council resolutions and preparing gross and consistent violations of human rights in Kashmir.30 (2003)Again at the speech delivered in front of the OIC: India must be made to realize that it cannot succeed in its strategy of militant suppression of the Kashmiris. Its confrontation with Pakistan is dangerous and pointless. We have shown that Pakistan will never submit to Indian military coercion or blackmail.31 (2003)With this in mind coupled with the other conflicts in the Muslim world, he articulates theneed for the United Nations to play its part in this route to “Enlightenment”. He says: The crises and conflicts have enhanced, not diminished, the relevance of the United Nations. The United Nations remains the central forum for dialogue and diplomacy. It must be strengthened… The United Nations has a crucial role to play in the conception and execution of the strategy of Enlightened Moderation.32 (2003)29 There have been four conflicts with India, three over Kashmir: 1948, 1956, 1999. The war in 1971 wasfor the secession of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.30 Special Report on Enlightened Moderation: The Post 9/11 Scenario, Senate Foreign RelationsCommittee, Pakistan, October 2004, pp 1331 Ibid. pp 2032 Special Report on Enlightened Moderation: The Post 9/11 Scenario, Senate Foreign RelationsCommittee, Pakistan, October 2004, pp 14
  • 29. Negotiating Islam in the New World The global initiative of Enlightened Moderation was all set to bridge the gap betweenthe West and the Islamic world in September 2003 but it changed its focus to Islam and theMuslim world in its second appearance just a month later; perhaps because of the audience itwas delivered to. General Pervez Musharraf spoke at the 10th OIC Seminar in KualaLumpur, where the heads of state of myriad Islamic nations were present. In thisformulation, the rationale for Enlightened Moderation changed from a focus on Muslimgrievances in the political sphere, to redressing internal crises within the Muslim world. Hestates: I have in all humility suggested a two pronged strategy to advance the internal and external aspirations of the Islamic world.33 (2003) Musharraf points out Islamic countries suffer from under-development which hasallowed radical factions and extremists to flourish in their societies. Here, the responsibilityof the Muslim world and its efforts are to be directed at a Muslim Renaissance guided byReason. At the General Assembly meeting Musharraf spoke of the eminence of the UN inhis strategy. However, just over a month later in October at the 10th OIC Summit in KualaLumpur, he asserts that: The OIC has a critical role to play in the successful execution of the strategy of Enlightened Moderation. It is the only forum that reflects the collective voice of the Islamic ummah… the OIC should become the catalyst for the Ummah’s regeneration. It must transform itself into a dynamic functional organization.34 (2003) There is no mention of cooperation between the UN body and the OIC. To him theimportance of the OIC stems from it being the only multilateral body that can collectivelyrepresent the Muslim world. To him the OIC is about Islam and therefore a religious33 Ibid. pp 1834 Ibid. pp 20
  • 30. political platform for the Muslims. To this end, the political disputes in Afghanistan,Kashmir, Iraq and Palestine acquire a new relevance and develop into “Islamic causes” orcauses for the Islamic movement. They become Muslim lands under foreign occupationswith an emphasis on injustices committed against Muslims. In Musharraf’s understanding,these Islamic nations are at the core of an Islamic “just cause”35 because these nations aredefending Islam against a foreign threat. Therefore, the basis for the conceptualization ofEnlightened Moderation for the Muslim world is strongly rooted in the core essence ofIslam and the plight of Muslims. We must act to keep alive the immutable message of Islam and the glorious legacy of which we are the heirs. The message brought by Islam in the 6 th century- that of humanity, egalitarianism, moderation, tolerance, coexistence- was revolutionary in its appeal… unfortunately however neither Islam nor the Muslim world today is known with reference to true Islamic teachings, our glorious past, or our core humanistic values.36 (2003) Moreover, an important aspect of Islam that is often forgotten amongst the hype ofpolitical and religious extremism is that it stands for moderation. He reminds us that Islamwas the bedrock of learning in the middle Ages where people were taught to have faith inhuman exaltation and enlightenment through knowledge. He reminds us that Islam hasalways stood for tolerance, justice and peaceful co-existence. He urges Muslims to hark backto an epic Golden Age, to remember those humanistic ideals and abandon distortedritualistic notions about Islam in order to achieve Enlightened Moderation.37 He further argues that the Muslim world today is in a state of abyss because it hasforgotten the core values and true essence of Islam, which in his view is moderation. He35 “Such actions do not promote the just causes that these extremists claim to espouse” (2003, pp 18)36 Special report on Enlightened Moderation the post 9/11 scenario, Senate Foreign Relations Committee,Pakistan, October 2004, pp 1837 Jaffrelot, Christophe. Ed. Pp 234. A History of Pakistan and its Origins. Anthem Press, 2004.
  • 31. argues the Muslim world is perceived as violent due to the extremist actions of a tinyminority that only exists on the fringe of Muslim societies. He states: This minority interprets our progressive and forward-looking religion in a very narrow, rigid and static framework… it seeks to cynically manipulate the anger in our societies against Western policies to sell sectarianism and anti- modernism.38 (2004)He points out that even though these acts might be few and far between, recently they havebecome the face of Islam. Therefore Musharraf asks the Muslim world to break their silence,reclaim their religion and promote a true, moderate and tolerant Islam. He asks “will thislead to our emancipation and to the resolution of our problem?”39 This can be identified asthe point where Enlightened Moderation ceases to be a socio-political strategy and becomesabout religious expediency. It ceases to be about equal cooperation between the West andthe Islamic world, instead it asks the Muslim world to submit itself to the dictates of theWest and beg them for economic and political mercy. Particularly important here is the way in which he uses the arguments that Islamistsuse in order to promote a “moderate” and “enlightened” Muslim world. He talks of an epicGolden Age where Islam flourished and attempts to recreate it fashioned around the needsof the modern world. Arguably then, at the OIC he primarily uses Islam as the foundation tobuild his strategy. The injustice to the Muslim world is shown as the plight of the Muslimummah, as opposed to a result of geo-political forces at work. Musharraf also clarifies hisrecommendations for the OIC and shows his resolve about making it the sole platform forthe Muslim world. However, the tables are completely turned in 2006 and his rationale forEnlightened Moderation drastically changes.38 Special Report on Enlightened Moderation: The Post 9/11 Scenario, Senate Foreign RelationsCommittee, Pakistan, October 2004, pp 1839 Ibid.
  • 32. He states: I have no pretensions to being an Islamic scholar, but I am a Muslim and I understand in my soul the essence and spirit of Islam even if I am not, intellectually, entirely familiar with its minutiae. (But then, who is?). In any case, Enlightened Moderation has nothing to do with Islam and its teachings. It has more to do with Muslims and their emancipation.40 (2006) A Clash of Civilizations In Musharraf’s view, central to the necessity of Enlightened Moderation in this post9/11 world is the hypothesis of a “clash of civilizations” ; he argues that it must be avertedat all costs otherwise it would be detrimental for the Muslim world. The clash of civilizationswas promoted by Samuel P. Huntington, a conservative US political scientist well known inthe White House, particularly for analyzing the relationship between civil governments andthe military. It states that people’s primordial relations like their cultural and/or religiousidentity will be the main source of conflict in the 21st century. His theory gained salienceafter the tragic events of 9/11. Musharraf seems extremely threatened by this argument andcondemns it very strongly, perhaps because he unconsciously subscribes to its logic. Themanner in which he puts forward his strategy- referring to two distinct, separate andmutually exclusive spheres the Islamic world and the West- is proof of this fact. Moreover,as he develops this idea further at the World Economic Forum in 2004, he poses that theforemost challenge of the 21st century is: How to retrieve the essence of our respective faiths from the clutches of misperception, misunderstanding and misinterpretation? How to prevent the extremist creed from sowing discord amongst us?41 (2004)40 Musharraf, Pervez. pp. 297 In the Line of Fire: A Memoir. London: Simon and Schuster UK Ltd, 2006.[italics mine].41 Special Report on Enlightened Moderation The Post 9/11 Scenario, Senate Foreign Relations Committee,Pakistan, October 2004, pp 26
  • 33. Accordingly he believes that “a renewed and vigorous effort needs to be launched toinculcate respect for all religions.”42 He argues that Islam and Christianity are religions of theBook and both revere and believe in each other’s Prophets. Their core ideals, values andessentially belief systems are the same. Therefore the divide sown between them is amisconception that should be rectified. In other words, he asserts that there is no legitimacyin advocating a “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West. Musharraf greatly emphasizes the need for an authentic and real Islam. He argues forits tolerance, moderate and peaceful ideas. He boasts about the lost glory of Islam: A proud civilization once flowered across the Islamic lands from which flowed a glowing spirit of inquiry and scholarship. Islamic contributions to science, astronomy, mathematics, medicine and philosophy are well known. These advances enabled the rhythm of human progress.43 (2004) It is clear from his line of argument that Musharraf is not against the cause of theIslamists; he too believes that the conflicts they participate in rest at the core of a just Islamiccause; he too wants to bring back glory to Islam and the Muslim world; he simply rejectstheir approach of militancy and violence. Sub se Pehle Pakistan (First and foremost Pakistan)44 While Enlightened Moderation was posed as a global solution for the world,Musharraf also made it the national vision for Pakistan. Soon after this paradigm wasproposed, steps were taken in order to achieve this national vision. He argues that women inPakistan are mainstreamed- i.e. they are no longer subservient to men. 22% of the membersof the National Assembly are women and there are 33% at the local level. Cultural practices42 Ibid.43 Ibid.44 This is also the translated title of his autobiography that was published in Urdu, the national language ofPakistan.
  • 34. such as Nikkah (marriage) with the Quran which are detrimental to women are beingaddressed. A joint electorate system has been implemented and minorities are guaranteedseats in parliament. Steps are being taken for poverty alleviation and economic developmentto improve the state of the underprivileged.45 This national vision was further strengthenedin 2006, when Musharraf titled his much awaited autobiography (In the Line of Fire) Sub SePehle Pakistan in Urdu, the national language. By doing so he gave his nation hope andsecured himself a strong and lasting position in the political playing field of Pakistan. Heeven pronounced that Pakistan is on its way to Enlightened Moderation in the addressdelivered at the World Economic Forum: Pakistan is committed to the path of Enlightened Moderation. We will not allow extremism to dictate our national agenda… we will not swerve from our goal of creating a moderate and progressive Islamic State as envisioned by our founding fathers.46 (2004) Musharraf believes that Enlightened Moderation is the answer to all of Pakistan’sproblems. He argues that Pakistan successfully fought a “triple menace” of religiousextremism by this approach. Terrorism was dealt with ruthless force; prejudice andignorance was met with awareness of peace, tolerance and understanding; and religioussectarian extremism, hatred and militancy were dealt cautiously with peaceful dialogue.Combating religious extremism and fostering peace and tolerance is the overarching goal ofEnlightened Moderation, however in Pakistan this strategy is organized around three coreobjectives: the emancipation of women; just representation of minorities; and poverty45 Musharraf, Pervez. Interview on television channel Business Plus, appearing on show: 24seven. 29th Dec200646 Special Report on Enlightened Moderation The Post 9/11 Scenario, Senate Foreign Relations Committee,Pakistan, October 2004, pp 27
  • 35. alleviation for the underprivileged.47 Noticeably, this is the first mention of women’s rightsand social justice in Musharraf’s vision. In Pakistan the rationale for Enlightened Moderation is very different from the onethat is presented in international political circles. Locally, Enlightened Moderation is aneffort to create a moderate, progressive Islamic state as envisioned by the country’s foundingfathers. Musharraf argues that throughout the history of political development in Pakistan,progressive and enlightened leaders have been challenged by obscurantist and retrogressiveforces. When Sir Syed Ahmad Khan proposed educational development for Muslims afterthe adverse effects of the war of Independence also known as the Indian mutiny of 1857, hewas accused by Islamists for giving up his religious beliefs. Similarly, Mohammad Ali Jinnah,Iqbal and their movement for a separate nation for Indian Muslims was also opposed by theJamaat-e-Islami for being un-Islamic and dividing the ummah. Musharraf sees himself in thesame echelon as these leaders of the Pakistani movement. In Pakistan, these leaders areemblematic of great leadership and excellent statesmanship who always put Pakistan beforeeverything- sub se pehle Pakistan. Musharraf adds a new layer to this movement with hispersonal aspirations. He perceives himself to be a modern day Attaturk; a modernistreformer; a man who has never hesitated to put his life on the line to fight for the glory ofPakistan; and above all a man who is destined to reclaim Pakistan from the extremists andmake it a great nation. This then is Enlightened Moderation. It is an endeavor to negotiate a space for theexistence of multiple cultures and religions in this highly globalized, interdependent yetpluralistic world. It is blind faith in static and universal notions of modernity and promotes47 Musharraf, Pervez. Interview on television channel Business Plus, appearing on show: 24seven. 29th Dec2006
  • 36. the development of science and technology as the benchmark of human progress. It alsoprofesses to be the ultimate solution for the Muslim world aiming to deliver it out ofdesperation. Simultaneously, it is also an attempt to remedy a tension that lies at the heart ofPakistan’s existence. Should Pakistan be a Muslim nation with an Islamic state, or should itbe simply a homeland for Muslims and a sanctuary for minorities? Musharraf tries to solvethis predicament by proposing Enlightened Moderation as the solution for Pakistan. In it, heacknowledges the existence of Islam and the prominent place of religion in Pakistani politicsas he simultaneously tries to define the parameters and boundaries of Islam within politics ofPakistan. In this effort, the rationale and strategy of Enlightened Moderation has becomefraught with contradictions and raises several concerns. Firstly, the sense one gets fromEnlightened Moderation is that the Muslim world is in desperate need of divine interventionwhich Musharraf promises to give them through his vision. He presents the Muslim world asan extremely desolate and helpless powerless bloc and negates its diversity and richnessentirely. It is important to acknowledge that the Muslim world geographically covers all ofthe Middle East, a little bit of Asia and South East Asia and the Northern part of Africa.Additionally, even diasporic communities of Muslims constitute the Islamic world. However,for him, the conflict-ridden areas constitute the relevant Muslim world. Moreover he saysthat Muslims “are probably the poorest, most uneducated, most powerless and the mostdisunited [community] in the world”.48 He therefore asks the “Islamic world to catch up withhistory”.4948 < Moderation.aspx> A Plea for Enlightened Moderation49 Special Report on Enlightened Moderation The Post 9/11 Scenario, Senate Foreign Relations Committee,Pakistan, October 2004, pp 26
  • 37. The tone of Enlightened Moderation suggests an apologetic mindset. Itacknowledges that Muslims are responsible for war and terror in the 21st century; have goneastray from the path of moderation and need assistance from the West in order to achieveEnlightenment again. This puts the West in a far superior position than the Muslim worldand consequently asks the Muslim world to submit itself to the power of the West. It doesnot stand for cooperation or peaceful dialogue. It stands for military, economic and politicalcoercion by the West that the Muslim world has to accept with a smile. Even the configuration of the strategy itself has changed over the short course of itsexistence. Its goals vary across fighting terrorism, promoting economic development andfighting for women’s rights. What has remained constant however is Musharraf’s belief thateconomic development, poverty alleviation and a growth in human resources are the mosteffective tools to battle religious fanaticism and terrorism. Musharraf’s response to growing militancy and religious extremism is rigorous socio-economic development. He is of the view that increased literacy, awareness, povertyalleviation and human resource development will make the nation less prone to extremism.Potentially, this might be true. However, it is important to acknowledge that poverty andilliteracy does not necessarily breed extremism. Osama bin Laden, Mohammad Ata andKhalid Mohammad were well-educated and from rich families. They are new-age terrorists,knowledgeable in science and technology and in the art of modern warfare. Arguably then,Musharraf also has a “narrow, rigid, static” view of extremism that he accuses religiousfanatics of. Throughout his articulation of Enlightened Moderation, General Musharraf talks ofpreventing a “clash of civilizations.” However his strategy of Enlightened Moderation isformulated around just that. He talks of two separate spheres- the Islamic world and the
  • 38. West. He blindly follows this thesis, not once stopping to question whether one can equate ageographical region with followers of a religion. If one did, then what of Muslims who livein the West? Are they considered part of the West or part of the Islamic world? He talks ofextremist acts and radical terrorism in the international political sphere. Is he talking aboutthe perpetrators of 9/11 or 7/7? In any case, were they not Muslims who had strongconnections to the West? Is it then sensible to talk of two distinct worlds such as the Westand Islamic? Moreover, Musharraf argues that terrorist elements only exist on the fringe ofMuslim societies and are not part of the mainstream population, yet his efforts in thisstrategy of Enlightened Moderation are focused specifically on streamlining radical Islamists.If this is a strategy for all Muslims then how will they benefit from it? The majority of themdo not condone these acts of violence, so why is he apologetic for all Muslims? Granted thatradical Islam is probably the most eminent danger facing the Muslim world currently, butemphasizing on radical Islam only affirms the skewed perception of the West and assists inthe project of Political Islam. Moreover, it entirely denies the existence of progressiveelements in Muslim societies. What of the strategy he proposes? He pushes the Islamic world to develop itself tobe at par with the other nations, particularly India and the West. He asks the Western worldto help in the “self emancipation” of Muslim countries by helping in their socio-economicdevelopment. What at first seems like collaboration between the two worlds actually aims atconflict because inevitably he chooses to “energize our economies, to compete commerciallyand to cater to the defense of our countries.”50 He wants the Muslim world to increase itsmilitary might to safeguard Islamic nations, and particularly mentions the plight of thepeople of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kashmir. Securing peace and justice in these50 Special Report on Enlightened Moderation The Post 9/11 Scenario, Senate Foreign Relations Committee,Pakistan, October 2004, pp 19
  • 39. political disputes was the Western component of the strategy. However, Musharraf warns:“So long as justice is not done… it will be difficult to contain public anger in the Islamicworld or to defeat extremism.”51 By forcing the West to take a stance on these politicaldisputes or suffer the consequences if they do not, can it not be argued that he is promotinga “clash of civilizations” instead of refuting it? Can it not be said that he is beingconfrontational in his approach instead of fostering cooperation and peaceful dialogue? The kind of socio-economic development he proposes will lead to povertyreduction, literacy, employment generation, expansion of production, and advancements inscience and technology. Attaining these is the objective of any government that is lookingout for the welfare of its constituents. However, Musharraf chooses to cloak these under thegarb of religion and Islam to make the issue more controversial and heart felt. Now, it ceasesto be about governance and administration; instead it has begun to symbolize Islam and itsresurgence. It also becomes blasphemous to oppose or contest any of his visions or policiesbecause they are endowed with a symbolic sense of serving the Army, the Nation and Islam. As must be evident by now, Musharraf’s strategy leaves a lot of questionsunanswered. It is precisely this ambiguity that causes so much concern in the media and thepublic in ideological terms. Its vagueness allows it to appeal to multiple sections of society;harnessing the support of often conflicting publics. It generates heated discussions anddebate among students, media personalities and the multitude over questions of nationalideology, civil society and the place of religion in society. Using Enlightened Moderation as apoint of departure, I study these issues more closely in the following parts of the thesis.51 Ibid.
  • 40. IDEOLOGICAL DREAMS & POLITICAL REALITIESThis is a drastic and extreme step taken with great reluctance but with the deepestconviction that there was no alternative to it except the disintegration and completeruination of the country. Ayub Khan, 8 October 1958The armed forces could not remain idle spectators of this state of near anarchy. Theyhave to do their duty and save the country from utter disaster. Yahya Khan, 26 March 1969I was obliged to step in to fill the vacuum created by the political leaders. Zia ul Haq 5 July 1977I wish to inform you that the armed forces have moved in as a last resort to prevent anyfurther destabilization. Pervez Musharraf, 13 October 1999 In order to understand the extensive reach of Islam within Pakistani society andpolitics- as can be seen in Musharraf’s Enlightened Moderation paradigm- it becomesimperative to go back to the tenuous circumstances which led up to Pakistan’s creation in1947. The Muslim League, the most prominent political party fighting for a separatehomeland for Indian Muslims premised their demand on the fact that insofar as Islamembodied a civilization which was inherently distinct from Hinduism, the Muslims of thesubcontinent constituted a separate nation. Moreover, as a significant minority (24% of thepopulation) of the subcontinent, the League argued that Muslims needed a separatehomeland to safeguard their interests and people. In this endeavor, the Muslim Leagueconsistently used religious arguments and was supported by Ulema (doctors of religious law)and Maulvis (Islamists/ Islamic clerics). Pakistan gained independence in 1947 and set out onits objective to form the Constitution. Jinnah tried to give shape to a modern, secular liberalpolity. On 11th August 1947, he said: “In the course of time Hindus would cease to beHindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because this is
  • 41. the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens.” However, whilethe men in the Muslim League were mostly modern secularists, its success in the Partitionlargely depended on the support provided by these religious men. Therefore the religiousrhetoric that Jinnah, Iqbal and other leading members of the independence movementemployed to gain political advantages finally caught up with them. The Islamists expectedIslam to be prominently featured in the Constitution. They wanted Islam to be the onlysource of political legitimacy. Jinnah soon conceded to their demands and promised on 25 thJanuary 1948 that the law of the country will be based on Islamic sharia (Islamic law). Onthat day Jinnah sealed the fate of the country and ensured that Pakistan would always sufferfrom a fundamental ideological confusion that has hindered its progress as a nation. The battle to charter the course of Islam within Pakistan has been mostly foughtbetween two groups: the modernists and the traditionalists. Even the constitutional positionof Islam appears to be a negotiation of interests between these two camps. The modernists,members of the Muslim League, were reformers who wanted a liberal Western politicalsystem however they believed that their political legitimacy lay in Islam. They wanted to useIslam to gain a stronghold over the people and civil political institutions in Pakistan. Theydrew on the authority of Mohammad Iqbal, a renowned member of the Arab modernisttradition and companion of Jinnah in the independence movement. Iqbal linked medievalpolitical institutions to those of the modern world by means of the Arab concept of Ijma(consensus).52 The Islamists on the other hand wanted to revert back to the Golden Age ofIslam where it had flourished as an empire and civilization. They wanted to reform- evenreplace- Western style institutions with medieval Islamic precedents. There were internalconflicts within this group of Islamists, yet they found common ground on three counts.52 Jaffrelot, Christophe. Ed. pp 239. A History of Pakistan and its Origins. Anthem Press, 2004.
  • 42. Firstly, they believed in the Supremacy of the law revealed by God which they felt it wassolely their job to interpret; they believed in a natural hierarchical order in an Islamic state,where Muslims would be first and foremost and non Muslims treated as second classcitizens; and finally they were suspicious of a Western democracy and parliamentarysystem.53 These were the competing ideas for the nature of the Pakistani state during itsinfancy. Already burdened with fragile and ill-established political and governmentalinstitutions, Pakistan also had to face a constitutional crisis. India voted its constitution in1950, but to Pakistan’s great shame the constitutional debate went on for 8 years, from 1948to 1956. Moreover, the official configuration of religion in Pakistan was still disputed untilthe passing of the Objectives Resolution in 1949 in which the Islamic nature of Pakistan wasguaranteed and it was declared in the constitution that politicians needed Islamic legitimacyto be in power.54 The debate went on till 1956 which represented the final balancing actbetween the modernists and traditionalists. Pakistan was to have two more constitutions in1962 and 1973, with the latter still implemented with amendments. The Historical Moorings of Enlightened Moderation As is clear from the present day initiative of the Musharraf regime, nothing is blackand white when it comes to Pakistan’s geo-politics and domestic policies. EnlightenedModeration appears to be a policy initiative with a two-fold effort: to streamline terrorismlocally, and promote cooperation in the Muslim world and regenerate the ummah to face thechallenges of a post 9/11 world. Therefore in order to holistically understand Islam and itsimplications within Pakistan, it becomes important to consider its foreign policy at the time.53 Ibid. pp 24154 <>
  • 43. If internally Pakistan was paralyzed with ideological confusion about the Islamic stateof Pakistan, externally it was almost certain that it wanted the support of the US. Liaquat AliKhan (1951), the first prime minister of Pakistan assured the US that it was anti-communistand supportive of the US during the Cold War era. He was succeeded by Mohammad AliBogra (1953-55) ambassador to the US who further strengthened Pakistan’s alliance with theUS. In 1954, the US began selling weaponry and arms to Pakistan and started an officertraining project. This pro-Western foreign policy was carried straight through to the firstmilitary coup by Field Marshall/General Ayub Khan in October 1958. However Ayub Khanfelt that the backing Pakistan provided its greatest ally was not met with much in return.Thus he decided to revise Pakistan’s foreign policy and embark on a model ofmultilateralism. Ayub Khan wanted to change the face of Pakistan in the internationalpolitical arena and declared a new more modernist constitution in 1962. General Ayub Khan began his career as a secularist and supported the modernists inthe constitutional debate. He saw himself as a progressive reformer who would pave a newpath for Pakistan. He encouraged internal development, depoliticized the society andimposed an authoritative regime of ‘guided democracy’. Economic growth reachedunprecedented peaks during his time and he is recognized as the leader of the ‘decade ofdevelopment’ in Pakistan. Domestically he wanted to keep the Islamists in check andsucceeded in instituting the Muslim Family Law Ordinance which restricted polygamy andprotected women’s rights. However, he did not succeed in removing ‘Islamic’ from the‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’ and had to subscribe- at least with token gestures- to theIslamic nature of the state: from that moment on, Islam became the indispensable ingredientof political legitimacy.5555 Jaffrelot, Christophe. Ed. pp 244. A History of Pakistan and its Origins. Anthem Press, 2004.
  • 44. More importantly however, he re-invented Pakistan’s foreign policy. Unsatisfied withthe support given by the US, General Ayub Khan observed with respect to Washington that‘Pakistan wanted friends not masters’ and started cultivating relationships with the othermajor players in world politics at the time. Ayub’s government took special care of Pakistan’srelationship with China, continued to support the US and also sought a rapprochement withthe Soviet Union. Pakistan became a key player in global politics during Ayub’s era. He wassucceeded by General Yahya Khan in 1969 in the second military coup who continuedAyub’s efforts of multilateralism. Soon after, Pakistan lost its eastern wing and was ruled by aWestern military-political elite headed by the Punjabis and Pushtoons, characteristic of itsdemocratic polity today. When Yahya Khan left office, Pakistan was in shambles. Its eastern wing hadseceded and become Bangladesh in 1971 which caused the re-politicization of the countryand raised new legitimacy issues. He was succeeded by Zulkifar Ali Bhutto who continued aforeign policy of multilateralism vis-à-vis the great powers- the US, Soviet Union and China.More importantly however, he ushered a new wave of politics in Pakistan. Bhutto turnedtowards Islam and re-affirmed the nation’s religious dimensions. The first thing Bhutto did after being sworn into power was revitalize the Pakistanination after the tragic secession of Bangladesh. Ayub Khan’s “guided democracy” wasreplaced with Islamic socialism which was later renamed Mohammedan Equality (Musawat-e-Muhammadi). He publicly used religion to win the crowds and gain support for his regime.He added a new facet to Pakistan’s foreign policy and began to champion pan-Islamicsolidarity. He began his term in office by making official visits to several Muslim countries inthe Middle East, North and Sub-Saharan Africa. He also organized the Organization ofIslamic Conference (OIC) second summit in Lahore in 1974. He implanted new institutions
  • 45. of Islamic solidarity such as the Islamic Development Bank and the construction of theFaisal Mosque in Islamabad.56 A significant aspect of Bhutto’s governance strategy was thefostering of close ties with Saudi Arabia. Pakistan now began to identify with its MiddleEastern counterparts and hence the Sunni configuration of Islam, deliberately overlookingits sub-continental roots. When Bhutto reached the pinnacle of his power in 1972 he began to devise a newconstitution- which was implemented in 1973- based on an Anglo-Indian parliamentary styledemocracy, enveloped in religious rhetoric. By playing a dominant role in the re-emergenceof pan Islamic solidarity Bhutto had to continue the same political game locally withinPakistan as well. He acceded to the demands of religious political parties and the Islamists byfirst pronouncing the Ahmadiyya sect non Muslims. Moreover, as the Islamists had wishedBhutto sanctioned political divisions between Muslims as full and non-Muslims as secondclass citizens. They were refused high offices in the state and were forced to hold separateelections; however separate seats were reserved for them in the National Assembly andparliament. A non Muslim could not be elected President of Pakistan as Article 41 (2) of theConstitution states: A person shall not be qualified for election as President unless he is aMuslim of not less than forty-five years of age and is qualified to be elected as member ofthe National Assembly.57 Second and more significantly, Bhutto pronounced that the law of Pakistan wouldnow be Sharia Law. Such a declaration was fraught with concern as Sharia Law denotes everysphere that is codified in medieval Islamic law. Furthermore, it gave the Islamists and theUlema increased political clout and allowed them to direct and govern Pakistan based onancient Islamic practices. Fortunately or rather unfortunately for Pakistan, Bhutto was forced56 Jaffrelot, Christophe. Ed. A History of Pakistan and its Origins. Anthem Press, 2004.57 <>
  • 46. out of office in 1977 by a third military coup led by General Zia ul Haq. Zia ul Haqconsolidated the Islamist position in Pakistan by embarking on an extensive Islamizationprogram, whose adverse effects still afflict Pakistan today. A third wave of martial law came to Pakistan under Zia ul Haq (1977-88) who isidentified as being responsible for the overt Islamization of Pakistan. Zia furtherconsolidated what Bhutto had started by making Islam an even stronger part of theConstitution and politics in Pakistan. He implemented the Sharia law specifically in familyand criminal law. He approved Islamic punishments which entailed the public flogging andbeating of adulterers, mostly women. He introduced two Islamic taxes zakat compulsoryalms and ushr land tax which were then used to finance religious institutions and set upmadrassahs (religious learning institutions run by hard-line Islamists) throughout the nation.These madrassahs later on went to spawn a movement and culture of radical Islam withinPakistan. Zia also established special shariat benches in provincial courts and gave theSupreme Court permission to repeal any laws they found to be detrimental to theIslamization mission. Two years after Zia gained power, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979.Being a radical Muslim Zia supported the Afghan Mujahideen and opened Pakistan’snorthern frontier as a training base for them. This was to have injurious effects on thepolitical landscape, effects that Pakistan is still suffering from till today. Zia found himself inthe center of the game of the great powers- the US, Soviet Union, China and Afghanistan. Ina manner reminiscent of Metternich’s realpolitik, he played the game well. He started rallyingtroops to support the Afghan Mujahideen while simultaneously seeking peace with USSR.Zia increased aid to his Afghan constituents and ensured the US of his support but at therequest of more economic and military aid to Pakistan. He signed a Cooperation Treaty in
  • 47. 1986 which concerned the civil use of nuclear power. Finally with Afghanistan in his pockethe consolidated even more support for his army and increased his military strength. Hesupplied arms to the Afghan Mujahideen through clandestine channels of radical Islamistgroups allowed to flourish through the extensive network of madrassahs, the Inter ServicesIntelligence (ISI) the secret service in Pakistan and encouraged them to participate in thecivil strife in Afghanistan.58 In 1988 Zia ul Haq mysteriously died in a plane crash and brought about a period ofwhat Musharraf calls “sham democracy”. Unfortunately even though Pakistan was run undera parliamentary democratic system, this period was probably the lowest ebb in its domesticpolitics. During these 11 years, the vote shifted between two political parties: the PPPPakistan’s People’s Party which was ruled by Benazir Bhutto (daughter of Zulfikar AliBhutto) from 1988-1990 and then again from 1993-1996; and PML (N) Pakistan MuslimLeague (Nawaz) which was led by Mian Nawaz Sharif from 1990-1993 and 1997-1999 afterwhich Musharraf came to power in his military coup. These politicians were furthering theirpolitical and personal aspirations instead of safeguarding the interests of the country. Theyare both accused of embezzlement, stealing from the state, tax evasion, have been exiled outof the country and are banned from politics in Pakistan. Musharraf and the Political Power Game This was the political landscape that General Musharraf inherited in 1999; plagued bycorruption and the lasting ill effects of the preceding governance paradigms. Ayub Khan,Yahya Khan and Zia ul Haq’s coups made the country increasingly dependent on themilitary and armed forces to delineate regional and foreign policy. It also allowed the military58 Jaffrelot, Christophe. Ed. A History of Pakistan and its Origins. Anthem Press, 2004.
  • 48. to gain considerable power within the domestic state of affairs of the nation. The entry ofthe military into politics also engendered a consolidated military-bureaucratic-elite alliance, asystem which has been difficult to fracture since then. Bhutto and Zia’s Islamic act in politics rendered the democratic process futile as itmade politics synonymous with Islam. In other words, in order to be a good statesman inPakistan, one first had to prove his/her allegiance to Islam and a strong faith in religiousprinciples. Moreover, the legalization of Islam that started in their time did not end withthem. In 1991, the Shariat Act which strengthened the hold of the ancient models ofinterpretation and application of Islamic law was voted into power. The legalization of Islamhas consequently led to the eminent position Islamists have held over politics in Pakistan.However, the most perverse effect of this charade of Islam in politics has been to revive alegal rule and culture where Muslim women are inferior to Muslim men.59 Moreover Pakistan’s military began to rule with a ‘savior’ complex. Robert Stern, arenowned scholar on South Asia points out that the incompetence of elected Pakistanileaders have contributed to the idealization and increasing popularity of Islam as a moralbasis for politics. They find their goal to be twofold: to protect the nation from foreignoffensives, and to save the nation from political disarray, that is to step in when civilianpoliticians don’t follow military orders. The Army is entrenched in the ideology of being anational savior and a savior of Islam and wants to be the solution to the country’s59 Jaffrelot, Christophe. pp 248. Ed. A History of Pakistan and its Origins. Anthem Press, 2004.According to the law imposed by Zia ul Haq, the testimony of two female Muslims is equivalent to thetestimony of one male Muslim; by the same token, in personal conflicts women were compensated at halfthe rate of men. Most importantly though, was the application of the ordinance on adultery HudoodOrdinance which imposed a heavier penalty on women: consenting (even raped) women are condemned toa whipping, while guilty men are ac quitted for lack of proof.
  • 49. problems.60 Plausibly then, this might account for the legitimization of intermittent periodsof military rule and the current acceptance of General Pervez Musharraf. The era of sham democracy didn’t help either. The political standoff between NawazSharif and Benazir Bhutto during the 1990s stunted the development of the democraticprocess. The people of the nation lost hope in constitutional political processes and a generalfeeling of apathy prevailed. Parliamentary democracy in Pakistan is largely ineffective. It hasbecome an instrument for the protection and promotion of landlord (Bhutto) andbureaucratic (Nawaz) interests. The National Assembly has never been a part of Pakistan’snational government due to it being comprised of the richest landed 22 families. In aNational Assembly of 207 members, general landlords and tribal leaders hold 126 seats,almost 3 times the number won by businessmen and urban professionals. 61 The Assembly isonly responsible to itself. Pakistan’s parliamentary democracy has a symbiotic relationshipbetween a corruption-enriched and empowered coalition of dominant classes and the statusquo of a military-bureaucratic authoritarianism. Parliamentary democracy has thus far onlybeen a charade for direct or indirect military intervention into Pakistan’s politics and servedto reposition different factions of dominant classes. Stern argues “after every election, thelosing faction in the coalition of dominant classes has attempted by non parliamentary directaction to entice the Army into bringing down the elected government”.62 It becomes clearthen that Pakistani governments have not been responsible or accountable to its votingpopulation, and the Army has the power to veto the electorate’s choice through directintervention. Parliamentary democracy and electoral participation have become a minimaland inconsequential component of Pakistani politics.60 Stern, Robert, W. Democracy and Dictatorship in South Asia: Dominant Classes and Political Outcomesin India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. USA: Praeger, 2001.61 Ibid. pp 131.62 Ibid. pp 132
  • 50. When Musharraf officially became the sovereign leader of Pakistan, the country wasin chaos, marred by corruption, inefficiency and an upsurge of radical Islam. Global politicshad entered a new phase. The specter of communism had been replaced by radical Islam in apost 9/11 era. The Muslim world had come under attack for supporting terrorist networksacross the world. Wars were raging in Afghanistan and Iraq. Pakistan was particularly underpressure for supporting Al Qaeda and Jihad movements. Musharraf was also thrust into themiddle of a political chessboard and like his predecessors started playing the power game. Finding himself in a position similar to Yahya Khan in which Pakistan was in thedepths of despair with a failed democracy, he opted for the strategy of Ayub Khan andinstilled a regime comparable to Ayub Khan’s ‘guided democracy’ but with an even heavierhand. He gave himself unconstitutional power by suspending the constitution and theparliament, declaring martial law, dissolving provincial legislatures and appointing himself ashead of the state. In 1999 he set up a National Security Council which included navy and airforce chiefs, other experts and a cabinet handpicked by Musharraf. The following year hedismissed Said uz Zaman Siddiqi, a Supreme Court judge for refusing to take a new oath ofgovernmental allegiance which would prevent any judicial office from challenging armydecisions. Furthermore, he appointed 4 regional governors, 3 of whom were retired militaryofficers to govern the four provinces of Pakistan. His reliance on the military had a twofoldeffect. First, it pushed Pakistan even deeper into the clutches of the military elite andlegitimized the army’s interference in the democratic process. More importantly however,Musharraf’s favors to his fellow army men consolidated his power base and ensured a strongposition in the political playing field. This was further highlighted when in 2001 Musharrafdissolved the democratically elected National Assembly and provincial assemblies, dismissedRafiq Tarrar, then President of Pakistan and appointed himself as his replacement. Facing
  • 51. criticism from the international community, Musharraf took steps to legalize his non-parliamentarian take over and called for a nationwide referendum which showedoverwhelming support for him to stay in power for another five years. However, this votewas highly criticized for being rigged63. In any case, Musharraf used the backing he receivedin order to redraw the 1972 Constitution, imposing 29 amendments expanding his powersconsiderably. He could now single handedly dissolve parliament, appoint the country’smilitary leaders and Supreme Court Justices; it also gave him the ability to make furtheramendments at will. Musharraf had finally become Master of Pakistan. As President, Army Chief of Staff and Chief Executive of Pakistan, Musharraf foundhimself in the midst of the US war on terror after 9/11 and became its strongest ally,reminiscent of Pakistan’s foreign policy soon after its creation. He initiated a militarycrackdown on Islamic militants, banned 5 Islamic groups, shut down 390 of their offices andhelped arrest alleged perpetrators of the 9/11 tragedy. However, being highly inspired byAyub Khan’s reign, Musharraf too felt that Pakistan was not getting its dues and embarkedon a new policy of multilateralism. However, due its checkered political history, Pakistan hadisolated itself from the international community, save the Muslim world. Musharraf sought areason to connect with his Muslim counterparts and found the answer in his EnlightenedModeration campaign. In an approach similar to Bhutto’s, he also played the Islamic card. Even thoughMusharraf is one of Bhutto’s strongest critics calling him the “worst man for Pakistan”64, healso realized the power that Islam holds within Pakistan. He knew of the unflinching supportIslam could harness and shrewdly tapped into it at the lowest point of his political career.63 Official results from the referendum showed that 97.7% of voters approved Musharraf’s extension ofterm. However, human rights groups protested that the vote was rigged, and the turnout was no larger than25%.64 Musharraf, Pervez. pp. 71. In the Line of Fire: A Memoir. London: Simon and Schuster UK Ltd, 2006.
  • 52. However, he was caught in a catch-22 situation. On one hand, he was an integral part of thewar against terror being fought mostly in the Muslim world; and on the other he knew thathe only had the Muslim world left to rely on. He began to champion pan-Islamic solidarityand continues his efforts to do so till today. He went on long official visits to Muslimnations in the Middle East, North and Sub Saharan Africa. He organized a summit of theOIC in Lahore in 2004, where he spoke of his vision to regenerate the Muslim ummah,restructure the OIC and make it the sole platform for the collective voice of the ummah. InJanuary 2007, Musharraf also went on umrah while on his official visit to the Middle Eastwhich was televised and broadcast throughout the nation.65 Through such political stunts, hisstrategy was complete- Islam and the campaign for Enlightened Moderation became his newclaim to political legitimacy. His initial dreams of ‘restoring democracy’ were long forgottenjust as he had hoped. After all people have short memories. During the 1980s Zia ul Haq championed Afghanistan so extensively that it becameas sacred as the national cause itself. For Musharraf, the Kashmir question elicits similarsentiments. He was part of the 1999 Kargil conflict and feels a personal attachment to thecause of the Kashmiris. Musharraf has consistently pushed Kashmir into diplomacy effortswith India and stalled the peace process. He never fails to mention the plight of his Muslimbrothers in Kashmir at every international political meeting. Enlightened Moderation alongwith being an initiative to redress the gap between the Islamic world and the West has alsobecome synonymous with advocating for the “just causes” of Kashmir and Palestine. Although not much scholarly work has been written or published on EnlightenedModeration, most scholars on Pakistan are apprehensive about it. They see it as just anotherhollow initiative by the State under military rule that is good on rhetoric but poor on65 News clip aired on PTV News on January, 21st 2007.
  • 53. implementation. Despite his claims to streamline fundamentalism and religious militancy,Musharraf seems more favorable towards religious political parties than democraticallyelected popular leaders. Benazir Bhutto leader of the PPP and Mian Nawaz Sharif leader ofPML (N) are banned from participating in the upcoming 2007 elections. Efforts to decreasereligious militancy have been lessened as Islamists provide manpower and ammunitioncritical for successes in Kashmir and Afghanistan.66 Most scholars acknowledge that theArmy fulfills some sort of political vacuum in the particular socio-political context ofPakistan. However, most also agree that the consistent interference of the Army in politics ispart of the problem of democracy, rather than a solution to it. In contrast, the people of Pakistan are less skeptical of Army interference and theyaccepted Musharraf’s power without any resistance; perhaps because Pakistanis had becometired of the inefficiency and corruption that prevailed in the decade of ‘sham democracy’. Itis as if the people of Pakistan had accepted their fate as a failed nation, destined to sufferfrom internal political strife. Musharraf brought about stability with his authoritarian regime,as if somehow Pakistani’s have given up hope in a democratic political process. They arecontent when the Army steps in as if the Army will magically restore order and integrity totheir nation. Notions of democracy, freedom, universal suffrage cease to matter in times ofmilitary take-over. The Army has a looming presence in Pakistan. It is the largest employerand the most significant institutional political actor in the country.67 Perhaps that is why thepeople readily accept one military dictator after the next. General Pervez Musharraf was justone more name to add to the list. It is difficult to tell whether the people of Pakistan findMusharraf any different from politicians who came before him. Some people have hope in66 Jones, Owen, B. pp 260. Pakistan: Eye of the Storm. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 200267 Low, D. A. The Political Inheritance of Pakistan. Rural Roots of Pakistani Militarism. NY: St. MartinsPress, 1991.
  • 54. his capabilities as he maneuvered his way through the difficult post 9/11 era; others arewaiting for him to make a mistake; while still others are ambivalent towards him, acceptinghis authority as the lesser evil. Musharraf himself believes that he has set a new precedent for politics in Pakistan.He claims he is bringing about a mixed government with legitimate military and civilianinstitutions in place and fostering a relationship between them which in his view is crucial tothe success of the nation (at least till its people are capable enough to take on the task ofmanaging a democratic republic). However I argued that there are more continuities thanruptures with the governments that preceded him. Musharraf has unchallenged control overall aspects of government and an unconstitutional guarantee of his position in power,somewhat resembling Ayub Khan’s regime of ‘guided democracy’. Musharraf also furtherintertwined Islam and governance by appealing to the people through EnlightenedModeration as did Zulfikar Ali Bhutto with his campaign of Islamic Socialism. Finally likeZia ul Haq who made Afghanistan the key issue of conflict in the power game, Musharrafcontinues to push his personal agenda on the Kashmir question by making it the centraltenet in Pakistan’s difficult relations with India. Regrettably, Pakistan has only had leaders who fall victim to their personalaspirations and political agendas. Its leaders have suffered from poor insight and never reallytackled the issues of its political inheritance. What Pakistan now needs is reform. If it is tomake a positive mark on the international political landscape, it needs to tap into its richestsource of potential- its people and allow them to pave their nation’s destiny.
  • 55. THE MEDIATED PUBLIC IMAGINARY: CREATION OF THE MODERATE MUSLIM In part one of this thesis, I dealt with Enlightened Moderation on the level of foreignpolicy arguing that it can be seen as a continuation and to an extent a culmination of stateinitiatives that preceded it. I argued that it is so ambiguously defined that it allows a lot ofroom for interpretation and hence appeals to multiple international publics ranging from theUnited Nations to the World Economic and even the OIC (Organization of IslamicCountries). However, on a domestic level in Pakistan, Enlightened Moderation is perceivedquite differently. In Pakistan it is seen as a hegemonic state effort to create a moderate,progressive Muslim state as envisioned by the country’s founding fathers. It marks aninstitutional change in centrist politics where for the first time, an attempt has been made tofashion a progressive, moderate polity which is religious nonetheless. For the first time, thestate is closely reflecting the political make up of the nation. It is acknowledging theexistence and importance of Islam in the lives of its public, while simultaneously directingthe boundaries and the form Islam can take in Pakistan. In other words, its overarching goalis to combat religious extremism within Pakistan and invent a new moderate Muslim. As soon as Musharraf articulated his paradigm and voiced his hopes for Pakistan’srole in the war on terror, many steps were taken to directly fight religious extremism.Madrassahs were shut down and their funding cut off; Al Qaeda operatives were arrestedand handed over to the US; and finally an army campaign was undertaken in Waziristan tofight religious militants and push back pro-Taliban forces68. Moreover, many structural andinstitutional policy changes also followed in the domestic socio-political context of Pakistan. The most profound impact of these changes was felt in the media landscape. Themass media- print or televisual- in countries like Pakistan are central to public life because it68 <>
  • 56. provides a forum for debating issues of local and national importance. The media industry-in particular participatory news and current affairs programming on television- has replacedwhat think tanks and political parties would ordinarily have done. The media have becomecentral to keeping the public informed about contemporary issues and views whilesimultaneously providing a check and balance of statist (pro-State) forces. In this part of the thesis, I will argue that the greatest impact of these policy changeswas seen and felt in the expanding media landscape. This newly and truly liberalized mediaatmosphere created spaces and opened up avenues which enabled the private broadcasttelevision industry to engage with the state vision of Enlightened Moderation. Based ondevelopments that have occurred in programming trends, I argue that the private televisionindustry- which stands as a distinct bourgeois public- supports the idea of EnlightenedModeration and actively participates in promoting the idea of a new moderate Muslim. Evolving Media Landscape Musharraf’s articulation of Enlightened Moderation and its ensuing policy initiativeshave had a profound effect on domestic politics and local institutions. One of the mostpowerful manifestations can be seen in the media broadcasting industry and the evolvingmedia landscape. Since 2002, there were possibilities of controversial changes being made tobroadcast law passed by the National Assembly which were opposed by the powerful mediaindustry; new actors emerged on the private radio, television, cable, teleporting, and InternetProtocol scene as licensees; and finally the Pakistan Broadcast Association69 (PBA) andAssociation of Independent Radio70 (AIR) emerged as professional representative media69 In September 2005, private television channels of the country including a few licensed cable operatorscame together to form the PBA. <>70 In October 2005, a majority of private and educational FM radio stations on air at the time created AIR.
  • 57. bodies in Pakistan. Other changes were also seen in the electronic media landscape such ascopyright stringency, official bans on illegal cable television channels and operators, anddetermining the role of public broadcasting. Before the year 2000 there were no private television channels and only one privateFM radio station. By the end of 2006, there were over 50 private television channels and 9radio stations, and the number is constantly on the rise with many others on their way.71Although private print media was always relatively well established, Pakistan’s entire medialandscape changed when the government decided to liberalize the airwaves in 2000. By theend of 2001, ‘Indus Vision’, an entertainment channel and ‘ARY Digital’, a current affairschannel both began broadcasting via a satellite link from Dubai, as terrestrial broadcastingwas still banned. That changed by March 1st 2002, when the government announced thecreation of PEMRA72 (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) through anordinance aimed at inducting the private sector into the field of electronic media. The effectswere immediate; within a year of the ordinance 20 licenses were awarded to private satellitetelevision stations. By late 2002, it was clear that the independent broadcasters were seriouslychallenging the monopoly of the state-run Pakistan Television. When the ‘Geo TV’ stationbegan transmission in October of that year, with a news-on-the-hour format that providedlocal, national and international news quickly and relatively uncensored, the state-runbroadcaster was no longer the only source of news in Urdu for cable and satellite watchers inPakistan. The Geo Network was created by the Jang Group, a well-established publishinghouse that already owned twelve newspapers and two magazines, including ‘Jang’, Pakistan’s<>71 <>72 <>
  • 58. most popular vernacular newspaper. Geo therefore, used Jang’s already established networkof correspondents and journalists to good effect and began quickly streamlining theprocesses of information gathering. Geo TV’s success also paved the way for other publishing houses and influentialindustrialists to start their own television stations. Along with Geo, the ARY DigitalNetwork, Indus Vision and the Eye Television Network are now considered theheavyweights in the television industry. It is still in its formative years after liberalization andthus characterized by a high growth rate and competition. Most of these networks run anumber of channels, since the cost of running additional channels after having one alreadyset up is negligible. This has been the main reason behind the burgeoning numbers ofprivate television channels now in Pakistan. Currently the Pakistan television industry does not have an adequate researchmechanism for measuring viewership and satisfaction of content by viewers; one that couldbe compared to Nielsen Ratings in Europe and North America. However, efforts have beenmade by independent research companies to lessen that gap. Current research on thetelevision industry is done by the Pakistan base of Gallup International73. Moreover, for thefirst time, the Pakistani media research company, Medialogic, will start using the TC VIIIsystem in 500 households from mid-year. This means that the GfK Group74 technology willprovide ratings for all television stations in Pakistan. With this new viewer panel, Medialogicis launching the first electronic TV research measures ever in Pakistan75. Nonetheless,empirical data collected by these independent research companies suggests that the numberof television sets in the country is estimated to have grown 22% from 1996 to 2001. In the73 <>74 GfK is a market research organization group conducting research worldwide.75 <>
  • 59. period 2001 to 2005 alone, a staggering growth of over 150% has been witnessed. Thesestatistics attest to the fact that television is becoming more common across the country andto a large extent has become the medium of the masses. This growth in popularity has beenmet with responses within the media industry as well with increases in programming thatrequires interactive audience participation through live call-in and write-in talk shows,forums and panel discussions. According to the Annual Report on Media for the period 2005-200676, PEMRAissued 16 private satellite television licenses, which were previously denied due to thelimitations on cross-media ownership77. Even without a television license, there are somechannels operating from abroad that have been given landing rights in Pakistan. Some of thehighlights of the television media scene include the launch of the 24 hour Geo news channel,CNBC Pakistan and Voice of America Urdu TV for Pakistan. The Pakistani media industryundertook a vigorous campaign against piracy and corruption, closing down 1,000 illegalcable operators and fining them over Rs. 1 million. Currently there are over 1,300 licensedcable operators across Pakistan. In May 2005, in the single biggest anti-piracy operation onrecord in Pakistan, the Federal Investigation Authority raided and sealed six optical mediafactories seizing annual revenues generated from piracy amounting to about Rs. 35 million ayear. Moreover, in order to strengthen their hold on piracy, the government transferred thecontrol of three departments- Intellectual Property, Copyright Office and the Patent Office-to Pakistan Intellectual Property Rights Organization. In order to assist further growth ofthe already prosperous cable network industry, PEMRA forced 30 foreign televisionchannels off the networks because these channels had not bought landing rights to broadcast76 <>77 An interesting aspect of the burgeoning television industry is that all the new powerhouses are mediaconglomerates with already established print media bases.
  • 60. their transmission in Pakistan. PEMRA also banned 20 Karachi cable television channels dueto a violation of copyright laws. It becomes evident therefore that there has been significantprogress in broadcast policy and legislation. What led to this powerful boom in a media industry still in its infancy? How haveMusharraf’s policies changed the media landscape? Are these changes temporary? And mostimportantly how should we understand these changes? History of the Pakistani Media Industry The immediate impetus to the media revolution in Pakistan can be seen stemmingfrom the creation of PEMRA and its consequent legislations in 2002; however existingliterature points out that the satellite revolution in South Asia including Pakistan occurred ina period between the early and late 90s due to the demise of communism, the increasingintegration of world markets and very rapid advances in communications technology. 78However, the issue was not so simple. Broadcasting in these nations was defined as “aninstrument of cultural autarchy, a means to literacy and an educational resource, using atechnical infrastructure built with public resources, it was a vehicle for setting out thepreferred ideology of the state as articulated by the government, a means of building anational identity and promoting a national culture”.79 The agency of the broadcast industryand hence state controlled media can be seen as having a central role in the formation ofsuch a national identity. I have argued earlier that Pakistan’s identity is shaped by its antagonistic relationshipwith India and by the religious dimension of its identity. The broadcasting industry and other78 Page, David & William Crawley. Satellites Over South Asia: Broadcasting Culture and the PublicInterest. CA: Sage Publications, 2001.79 Ibid. pp 263.
  • 61. government policies have also largely been shaped around this tension. In Pakistan, thediscussions about satellite television often take the direction of the medium’s role inadvancing expansionist Indian or Western cultural agendas, despite the fact that such ananalysis does not clearly reflect the nature of the media industry. The television industry inparticular is pulled into two contradictory directions- the drive to create more freedom andconsumer choice through the socially permissive programming of satellite television and onthe other end it has to respond to the increasingly violent calls from some quarters thatpublic life should take on a more Islamic dimension. Historically, that the Pakistani televisionindustry has fluctuated between the two only serves to highlight the degree to whichterrestrial (broadcast) television is determined by the political agendas of the party in power.In order to understand the profound power the state holds over the broadcast industry, it isimportant to look at the circumstances under which it was created. At partition, Pakistan inherited three stations- at Lahore and Peshawar in its WesternWing and Dhaka in its Eastern Wing (presently Bangladesh). A broadcasting service was setup and networks of radio stations and transmitters were expanded all over the nation. Inaddition, “a central news department was set up in Karachi (then the capital) to feed thestations with national bulletins”80. The broadcasting industry came under direct governmentcontrol from its very inception and has been a powerful arm of the government to fosternationalism and spread its own ethos and ideology. During the 1960s, this bureaucratizationwas carried a stage further, when staff of the news division were made part of a CentralInformation Service. This included the Press and Information Department and thePublications Division, whose role was to publicize the government’s actions. The firststation was set up in Lahore, with new stations established at Islamabad and Karachi as80 Ibid, pp 47
  • 62. television grew. Such a network could provide “coordinated national coverage”81 withsuccessive governments claiming television to be the major instrument of nationalintegration recognizing its potential. It has therefore become a prime medium for the stateand the army to broadcast propaganda and national ideology. Pakistan Television PTVprovided the first TV election coverage in South Asia when it showed “Pakistan’s first andprobably fairest national elections”82. In the 70s’ Bhutto was embarking on new and morepopulist policies and saw television as an “important new means of communication with themasses and set in train significant television building programs”83. Television did not becomea mass medium in Pakistan till the late 1980s. In the 1980’s broadcasting as a tool of central government had become part of anacute crisis of center-state relations. Many ethnic minorities were vying for secession andseparate states from the center. Television and radio had become strong arms of thegovernment and “national broadcasters helped to increase the sense of alienation by actingas propagandists for ruling parties, by denying space to opposition politicians or critics ofgovernment policy and by neglecting regional cultures and concerns”84. However, by the early 1990s, a number of factors had come together to challenge theviability of government’s control of electronic media. Among these was the “emergence of ademocratic consensus across the region, the growth of a more independent press, thepopularity of video, the beginnings of economic liberalization, and the development of anew, extended, urban middle class”85. Due to these developments, broadcasting was put intothe marketplace. This had a huge impact on the political coverage of events. The existing81 Ibid. pp 5482 Ibid. pp 5583 Ibid. pp 5684 Ibid. pp 6285 Ibid. pp 66
  • 63. media companies were becoming global media enterprises and the dominance ofinternational news agencies and major international broadcasters in mediating theinternational flow of news and information was a key element in establishing the concept ofglobal television as a transnational medium for the first time. In 1992, “Pakistan hired atransponder for PTV on the AsiaSat-1 satellite which gave it the opportunity to broadcastinformation, propaganda and entertainment to India, other parts of South Asia and to theGulf”86. In 1998, Pakistan responded to the growing popularity of Indian channels bylaunching a new channel PTV World which would cater to the growing national anddiasporic middle classes. With the coming of the early 90s and the changed media context, many localentrepreneurs set up cable companies as loose networks, largely unregulated and unofficialmodes of communication. They chose programming at their discretion and did not reallyfollow any particular ideology, be it state or alternative. However, cable networks have givenrise to increasingly new and independent media channels which are in charge of their ownnews reporting as well. They do not necessarily follow state ideology; although it can beargued that their world view is not different from the state, because most of the members ofthe newly developing media industry are important actors in the Establishment, thebureaucracy of state elites. State Television in the Changing Media Landscape While the satellite revolution- particularly after media policy initiatives part of thedomestic project of the Enlightened Moderation program- did bring about increasingchanges in broadcasting and transformed viewing choices for audiences, it simultaneously86 Ibid. pp 68
  • 64. posed new challenges for state broadcasters and regulation policies. This meant that the statehad to meet increasing consumer demand and challenges posed by international satellitechannels and the booming local private television production market. However the responseof state run Pakistan Television (PTV) was restricted by policy legislations and its subsequentdevelopment limited due to its strong colonial heritage: forms of government, the rule oflaw, and the role of English as a link language.87 More than that however, the crises facingPTV was due to the burden of its two-fold task. On one hand, it was burdened with the taskof promoting a national ideology; on the other, it also had the task of legitimating whicheverparty or military clique was in power. It has therefore been extremely criticized as successivegovernments in Pakistan have identified their own political interests with those of the nation,and PTV has been reduced to churning out blatantly pro-government propagandist newsand programming. This is evident from studies that reveal 57% of news time was allocatedto government personalities and 1% to diplomats with no reference to opposition figures.Local news such as accidents, riots, etc. received only 1% of news coverage, while nationalseminars received 5%. The largest amount of time was also given to prominent politicalleaders who were a part of the ruling Establishment, in particular favorable coverage wasgiven to the Prime Minister and President in power.88 Pakistan Television also suffers fromflawed management practices and chronic corruption. To be fair, PTV did respond to thesudden changes in the media atmosphere. It began producing programming that was similarto foreign and Indian television and it created current affairs programming that was criticalof the government and the military establishment. Unfortunately however, it continued tosuffer from political partisanship as the criticisms it aired were largely superficial.87 Ibid. pp 2588 Barraclough, Steve. International Communication Gazette, Vol. 63, No. 2-3, 225-239 (2001)
  • 65. The exploding private television scene and the competition created as a result ofMusharraf’s open-door media policy exposed PTV’s dilemmas as a state-run televisionstation. On one hand, it prompted a hasty liberalization of PTV programs which caused aviolent and vocal reaction from the Islamist Right. On the other, coverage of domesticpolitics continued along the lines of promoting the government of the day. This didn’t setwell with the local audiences as an increasingly large number of Pakistanis could watch newsreports, at the flick of a switch, without the bias of PTV’s inherent political agenda. Diversity in Programming The creation of media conglomerates, increases in diversity of programming and thecultivation of an emerging consumer culture have been possible due to the institutionalshifts brought about by Musharraf’s policy initiatives under Enlightened Moderation.Musharraf can be attributed as being the most successful political actor in bringing aboutchanges in the media industry however he is not the first. Previous attempts have been madeto create programming that challenged the conservative ethos of the state, but to no effect.Perhaps, the boldest challenge to the conservative sentiment came from PTV in the earlierpart of the 90s decade under Benazir Bhutto’s first term in office in the form of thetelevision program titled Hawa ke Naam (In the name of Eve)89. This program was especiallydevoted to women’s issues, including rape, violence against women, divorce and rights ofIslam. It was one of the first attempts to channel Islamist energy and take into account thedemands of the Religious Right. This program represented an attempt to retain religiousprogramming related to women, but to shift the emphasis to the religious civil liberties thatwomen enjoyed, rather than focus on the restrictions enforced on them by religion.89 Barraclough, Steve. International Communication Gazette, Vol. 63, No. 2-3, 225-239 (2001)
  • 66. However, this program was soon taken off the air when political rule was succeeded by amore conservative Nawaz Sharif. In light of this, Musharraf signals a new shift in the military-industrial bureaucracy ashe supports a liberalized media atmosphere. Many new television stations and channels-most significantly in current affairs and news programming- have been established indicatinga progressive change in the media landscape. The first of its kind was the Indus TVNetwork, owned and operated by Indus Media Group (IMG)90 Pakistan’s first independentsatellite channel pioneering the new face of electronic media. IMG entered the Pakistanimarket in 2000 with the launch of its flagship channel Indus Vision. It soon added channelssuch as Indus Music capturing the growing music scene; Indus News (Indus Plus) as 24hours news entertainment channel; and Channel G a 24 hours regional music channeldedicated to the urban youth across the country. Giants in the television industry include theTV One network, known for its current affairs and entertainment programming; HumTelevision91; Virtual University92, Pakistan’s first university based entirely on moderncommunication technologies established by the government to provide quality, affordableworld class education to aspiring students all over the country. Pakistan registered an unprecedented growth in current affairs and newsprogramming, which was seen with the launch of the Geo Network93, Aaj TV94, 24-SevenTV and CNBC Pakistan95. The Geo Network brought about a new philosophy inprogramming and cultivated a culture of rich diverse programming, bringing social issues tothe forefront, founded on a basis of transparency of responsibility. It soon became the most90 < >91 <>92 <>93 <>94 <>95 <>
  • 67. reliable news channel registering the maximum number of viewers of its current affairsprogramming. Similarly, Aaj TV also began to provide round-the-clock news coverage fromaround the world in collaboration with other news sources in 100 countries. It employedwell known social and political commentators whose analytical skills are unmatched incurrent affairs and news programming. CNBC and Business Plus are prominent additions to the media landscape as outletsto meet the needs of the economic sector and consumer culture in Pakistan. These channelsutilize expertise from partner networks and deliver a continuous flow of relevant engagingnews from all over the Pakistani markets and business centers around the world. Of particular salience to the broadcasting industry is the mainstreaming of women,high up in Musharraf’s domestic agenda of Enlightened Moderation. This goal has resultedin the popularity and establishment of Hum TV presided over for the first time by a woman-Sultana Siddiqui a veteran in the television industry. Hum TV provides quality entertainmentprogramming, with a dominant focus on females addressing social issues, not previouslydiscussed, and bringing them into the public sphere. Notable programs include Maachis a talkshow and weekly one episode drama serials titled ‘Ek Kahani’ (one story) focusing onwomen’s issues. A recently launched program titled ‘Always Aik Pyar Bhara Ehsaas’ (A LovingSentiment) showcases enterprising, talented young women with their mothers who havebroken the stereotype of traditional domesticity and made an independent life forthemselves. Other channels have also taken on the social responsibility of women-relatedprogramming. Notable amongst these is IMG’s Indus Plus channel that offers programmingdedicated to the empowerment of women and has received tremendous support fromwomen in all walks of life. ARY Digital, a current affairs channel broadcasted from the UAEvia satellite has also made its mark in the genre of women-related programming. A drama
  • 68. serial with significant viewership is titled ‘Aurat Aur Char Diwari’ (Women in Four Walls)explicitly talking about issues of domestic violence, social oppression, women’sempowerment and other concerns faced by women in short one hour episodes showcasing anew woman with a new story every week. Such programming was not possible in the earlierdays of television broadcasting. There were too many restrictions, red tape, and politicalagendas inherently involved that would limit such progressive women-centeredprogramming. The broadcast industry has come a long way from the days of Zia ul Haqwhen men and women were not allowed to touch each other on screen even if they wereplaying husband and wife in a drama serial to programming that has a woman as aprotagonist; from newscasters with their head covered at all times to talented young women,sporting western clothes asserting their identities as VJs on television; and finally fromhaving no visibility on television to openly discussing social issues that have hindered theprogress of women in Pakistan. Arguably, such initiatives signal a change in the mindset of the broadcast industry.However, these projects are met with other programming reminiscent of the days of Hawake Naam96 that bring women more visibly into the public, but continue to present them inthe traditional roles of mother, daughter and wife. There has been a surge of magazineshows, beauty shows, arts and crafts shows, and cooking shows that might give womenmore visibility but are reinforcing their traditional roles. Moreover, women are increasinglyseen on religious shows giving sermons and lectures displaying their piety and the eminenceof religion and Islam in their daily lives; and burqah clad girls are seen participating in quizshows based on Islam and its history.96 Explained on pp 11
  • 69. The media landscape is evolving in more ways than one could imagine in thisincreasingly global, liberalized world. The establishment of liberal secular television channelshas also been met with a proliferation of religious channels all over the country. From theold days of religious sermons and lectures being broadcast on significant religious holidays,there are now four fully functioning and established channels namely: Haq TV, Labbaik TV,Peace TV and Quran TV97. Moreover, religion has become such a relevant characteristic ofthe evolving mediascape that liberal secular channels have included religious programming intheir daily line up. Notable among these are Geo TV’s Aalim Online and Q TV’s Ahkam-e-Shariat and Istikhara. Viewers participate in these programs through live telephone calls thatare broadcasts in real-time and have their queries and problems solved through religiousdecree. These are changes one wouldn’t expect in a liberalized media atmosphere; howeverthey are important changes that cannot be ignored under Musharraf’s regime. Challenges One of the most important reasons for the proliferation of television as a massmedium- the spread of cable television networks- has come under the most pressure fromthe State in terms of content and for its very existence by most conservative religious groupsand political parties. Hundreds of people belonging to a conservative religious groupattacked a cable television network office at Jehangira in the Nowshera district and set fire tothe network’s equipment. In another instance, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), aruling coalition ally, reportedly forced cable operators in Karachi on local election-day toswitch off their cable networks in an attempt to persuade people to come out of their homes97 <>
  • 70. to cast votes98. PEMRA continues its ban on Indian cable television channels due to thecomplaints lodged by the local television channels arguing that Indian channels were gettingmore than their share of domestic advertising, which is detrimental to the growth of localindustry in this age of commercialism. There has been progress in broadcast legislation and a change in the State’s attitudetowards television has allowed the media landscape to evolve and the media industry-particularly television broadcasting- to develop; nevertheless it still faces considerablechallenges from the State and other domestic institutions. Pakistan’s private electronic mediacontinues to be discriminated against in provision of physical access to state informationvenues, particularly parliament, Presidential House and Secretariat, and the Prime Minister’sHouse and Secretariat. The state-owned media- Pakistan Television (PTV) continues toenjoy a monopoly in coverage of parliamentary debates. Similarly, the Provincial and DistrictAssemblies have also not allowed private electronic media to cover their events, as a matterof policy. 99 Moreover, the state-run PTV continues to enhance its grip on the televisionconsumer market due to its terrestrial monopoly and the lack of access that private televisionnetworks have to the audiences in the country. It continues to grow in its servitude to thestate in general, and to the ruling party in particular. It recently announced its decision tolaunch four more regional channels, one for each of the provinces, Punjab, Sindh, NWFPand Balochistan. It continues to provide a regular update on the daily happenings in thePresident’s life. PTV went so far as to televise Musharraf’s umrah 100– the minor pilgrimage toMecca, a profoundly personal act that has deep religious meaning- in order to promoteMusharraf’s agenda of pan-Islamic unity and Enlightened Moderation.98 <>99 Ibid.100 News clip aired on PTV news January, 21st 2007.
  • 71. Politics after Television In the contemporary political, social and cultural landscape it is undeniable to doubtthe profound power of television as a communicative medium. It would perhaps be foolishto undermine its immense hold on the viewing public, created not in a direct causalrelationship but in a more subtle way, without the audience’s conscious awareness.Television subtly transformed the context, the way the viewer saw herself, her subjectivepersonhood and her place in the larger space of the nation. In other words, “the power [oftelevision] is not exercised over people without their knowledge… power is exercised in themediation”101. What complicates this notion further is that right from the start, television waslinked to the project of political development directed by the State in the Third World. InPakistan, as in Egypt and India, for example, television was introduced at the start of the1960s, centralized and linked to the state, and took off in the 1980s with advertising. It wastransformed by the end of the millennium with neo-liberal reforms, greater privatization, andcompetition from satellite.102 Television in places like Pakistan has never been justified in commercial terms. Fromits inception, it was yoked to social and political projects promoting a state-centered nationalideology that addressed the viewer as a citizen rather than a consumer. Nationalist ideologywas disseminated from the center to the periphery, i.e. from the state and people in power tothe rest of the nation through the powerful medium of national television- in this case- PTV.However, the situation was complicated in the 1980s with the introduction of satellitetelevision. Taking these developments into account Appadurai points out that the flow ofinformation is not linear but much more complex due to globalization. Transnational101 Rajagopal, Arvind. pp 135. Politics After Television: Hindu Nationalism and the Reshaping of thePublic in India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.102 Abu-Lughod, Lila. pp 10. Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt. Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 2005.
  • 72. economic liberalism and globalization impact a sense of national consciousness, the projectof nationhood and political and cultural life. Images and information are created andcirculated by a growing number of private and public interests which form what he calls“mediascapes”. These mediascapes provide a large repertoire of images and informationwhich inform politics, news and imaginings of a national citizen. Images in the mediascapeare affected by those who are in power, the audiences that receive these images, and theinterests of those who control them.103 Due to the growing access, production and distribution of electronic information,and the increasing interconnectedness of politics across the globe, these interests can belocal or international. Therefore the construction of a national vision can be formulatedaround local as well as international interests. It is evident that national consciousness andidentity formation have been key issues in postcolonial societies, however their importance isundermined by the satellite revolution coupled with liberalism, as the national space is nowopened beyond territorial boundaries. National and state-owned channels are threatened bycontent in terms of programming, “new channels have offered better produced and morewide-ranging international news and current affairs programs and many new entertainmentprograms”.104 It has also brought the national state-run channels under scrutiny withparticular reference to state regulations, the political project of fostering nationalism andserving public interest. There is also an increased focus on individualism; the booming private industry andsatellite television has created an “environment in which audiences feel more empowered103 Appadurai, Arjun. pp 230-237 Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy in TheGlobal Transformations Reader: An Introduction to the Globalization Debate ed. David Held & AnthonyMc Grew (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2003).104 Page, David & William Crawley. pp 26. Satellites Over South Asia: Broadcasting Culture and thePublic Interest. CA: Sage Publications, 2001.
  • 73. than before”.105 These channels downplay ethnic and linguistic diversities and appeal toviewers asking them to come together on the basis of a shared consumerism; moreoversatellite television has created and encouraged a new kind of consumerism that has led to theestablishment of an increasingly hybrid culture.106 Private channels broadcasted on cablesystems appeal to the viewer as a consumer in a liberal nation, where personal choice hasbecome a new ideology. With no inherited obligations to the nation, programming contenton these channels has questioned old social and cultural traditions, explored new fusions ofEast and West, and put materialism much higher up the agenda.107 There is also an addedemphasis on personal appearance, the “culture of packaging oneself”.108 The lexicon ofmarketing, advertising and branding has become an inherent part of the growing localprivate television industry. With a media industry largely based on selling audiences toadvertisers, the private television industry has become a consumer, highly dependent onsponsorship. Furthermore, it has implanted within its viewers a liberal consumer ideologychanging the context in which television and media is received. This change in context is two-fold. On one hand, it is real but only on a superficiallevel. These new channels give publics more visibility but only in terms of consumer choice.Private channels broadcasted on cable systems with their emphasis on entertainment/infotainment (as the most profit generating form of media content and programming) havebeen accused of “dumbing” down audiences. “Politics is now more than ever acaste/religious issue… it is not possible today to make a program that combines religion,communities and national politics”. On the other hand, this expanding media context hasallowed viewers to contest and discuss matters previously left up to deliberation in the105 Ibid. pp 143106 Ibid. pp 140107 Ibid. pp 141108 Ibid. pp 142
  • 74. bourgeois public sphere. In other words, private television and the prevalent talk showculture has promoted far greater openness about issues like human rights, women’s rights,questions of choice and career, sexuality and relations with others.109 Furthermore, thechanges in the interactions between government and the people transform thecommunication process from pedagogy into a discourse and expand avenues of participationin decision making. Future Directions for the Broadcast Industry It is quite apparent that the media landscape has evolved considerably underMusharraf, inducing programming trends that were probably not possible before him.However, it is important to acknowledge that programming in private television networks isnot determined by the State or its policies.110 Production house owners and executiveproducers make these decisions themselves. Private television production in Pakistan is infact guided by a culture of branding. The websites of the present powerhouses in thetelevision industry boast of creating the perfect brand that caters to all the needs of theaverage urban viewing family. Branding implies that programs are created with their owndistinct flavor in order to secure a permanent position in the media landscape. There are very distinct programming trends emerging in Pakistan. Visible increasescan be measured in entertainment programming, with a particular focus on the musicindustry catering to the demands of the youth. Additionally, many more programs presentingeconomic and business analyses are available on television. There has been a prominentincrease in women-centric programming finally allowing a platform to speak out against109 Ibid. pp 143110 There is no direct causal relationship with Enlightened Moderation and the expanded media landscape.The effects and implications are more complicated in nature.
  • 75. discrimination. Lastly, there has been a rapid proliferation in religious programming. What isnotable about these developments is that very little initiative has been taken in programmingthat makes politicians, civil servants, and those who govern accountable to the public. Thereare rarely any shows that analyze the political maneuverings of Musharraf. Moreover, in themidst of so many programs dealing with such important social and economic issues, not oneprogram critically analyzes Musharraf’s regime or the politics of Enlightened Moderation. I acknowledge that there are shows that consider his local politics and their domesticimplications such as the mainstreaming of women as these issues fit into the media makersliberal agendas. Such complacency is keeping in line with the historically cozy relationshipthe bourgeoisie and the State have shared. The implications of this silence are overwhelming.Since the media industry has traditionally played the role of a fourth estate- that is providedchecks and balances on state power- its silence is interpreted as agreement and conferslegitimacy to Musharraf and his regime at least from the small but profoundly powerfulbourgeois public. So what will the future look like? Will programming trends change over time?Ghazanfar Ali, CEO of the Indus Media Group (IMG), a veteran in the private televisionindustry is of the view that “it will be all about niches”. There will be very few hybridchannels and many more regional and news channels, catering to a specific genre. As isapparent from the above discussions, developments in this direction have already begun.Movie channels, sports channels, youth channels and music channels are already here. Ofcourse, in this land of unstable governments, a new and potentially less media-tolerant leadercould be running the show in Islamabad at any time, and then the media’s newfound glorydays could come to an abrupt halt.111111 Qizalbash, Talib. TV’s Prime Time appearing in Newsline Magazine, January 2007.
  • 76. MANAGING RELIGION ON TELEVISION Apart from institutional shifts and policy amendments, Musharraf’s EnlightenedModeration has also allowed an expansion of political and public discourse, where attemptsare being made to fashion a modern democratic polity. Democratic norms in the liberalsecular tradition are premised upon on the strict separation of Church and State. In otherwords, it is based on a distinct division between the private and public. The private domainincludes matters that affect the individual, the home such as religion, traditions, customs,rituals and familial concerns. The public domain, on the other hand, includes larger mattersof concern such as politics, economics, society and national interests. Jurgen Habermas112has been extremely influential in the way we think about the public and public culture. Hefirst proposed the conception of the public sphere in an attempt to understand therelationship between the state and the people. The public sphere is a space which mediatesbetween state and society, in which the public organizes itself as the bearer of publicopinion.113 It is this organized interaction that for Habermas serves as the locus of themodern public sphere.114 How does this formulation apply to Pakistan? I argue based onpost colonial critiques of the public sphere115 that the Habermasian conception isproblematic and inadequate to understand public culture in Pakistan; and that furthermorePakistan is comprised of stratified, split multiple publics that co-exist alongside a normativebourgeois public sphere.112 Habermas, Jurgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press,1989.113 Eley, Geoff appearing in Calhoun, Craig. Ed. Habermas and the Public Sphere. Cambridge, MA: MITPress, 1992.114 Bhandari, Vivek. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and The Middle East. Civil Society and thePredicament of Multiple Publics. Vol. 26, No. 1, 36-50 (2006)115 for further reading see: Bhandari, Christopher piney, Calhoun reader
  • 77. The context for Habermas’ conception stems from a particular point in Europeanhistory that gave rise to the public sphere as a means of communicative agency, debate andresolution.116 Due to its historical specificity, widely accepted understandings associated withpublic spheres and civil society while useful; do not correctly reflect the nature ofpostcolonial realities. In post colonial nations, the relationship between the state and civilsociety- a binary that in and of itself is difficult to apply to postcolonial nations- is gravelyunequal. Therefore the kind of performative, communicative, deliberative and organizedinteraction that Habermas speaks of can only take place through formal state institutions inpost colonial nations such as Pakistan. The public sphere in its Western liberal conception inand of itself becomes an exclusive, partisan space that people can only enter based onassociations with political parties, formal employment, NGOs and the media industry.Moreover, the privileged rationality that entry into this public sphere demands has created agravely unequal polity. The public sphere excludes the subaltern, “political society”117- peoplewho are not formally educated or employed by the state; and people who are not fluentspeakers of Urdu, the national language or English. I argue that the Pakistani media industryreflects a normative bourgeois public sphere which co-exists alongside these multiplecomplex publics. Abu Lughod in her study of drama serials aired on national television in Egyptargues that the producers of these programs were involved in the project of creating amodern Egyptian citizen. I see striking similarities between the Egyptian case and the mediaindividuals involved in private television production in Pakistan. Lughod points out that theautonomous act of viewing creates an individual personhood of the viewer. This116 Bhandari, Vivek. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and The Middle East. Civil Society and thePredicament of Multiple Publics. Vol. 26, No. 1, 36-50 (2006)117 Chatterjee, Partha. The Politics of the Governed: Reflections on Popular Politics in Most of the World.NY:Columbia University Press, 2004.
  • 78. individuality puts the viewer in a better position to be a modern citizen, subject to the stateand nation rather than family or community.118 Television forms the modern subject on anindividual level, but shapes the public imaginings of a national identity on a larger level. Themedia industry has been a prominent actor in shaping debates about the idea of Pakistan andengaging with state visions. The mass media- specifically the television industry is anexclusive elite group that engages in rational-critical debate; it is simultaneously implicated inthe identity formation of the ‘citizen’ and in creating a shared sense of nationalconsciousness, albeit different from the state. If I begin from the central premise of Habermas’ conception, then the mediaactivists in the television industry fulfill the criteria of propertied and educated. Themembers of the television fraternity, producers, actors, directors alike come from middle andupper middle class backgrounds in Pakistan, are financially well off and well educated. Itcould be argued that the mass media industry in Pakistan, particularly private television, canbe seen to have relative autonomy from the state in comparison to the state-run and ownedPakistan Television. The individuals who produce and criticize television are part of theintelligentsia. They actively participate in protest movements, peace rallies and contest thestate.119 They function as a separate sphere serving as each other’s best audience andstrongest critics. They stand outside the state and are mostly financed by privatestakeholders. In this way they serve as a group that challenges the domination of the stateand the economy. Most individuals in the media come from a strong liberal-secularistmindset. The programs they produce serve to analyze, critique and engage with state rhetoricand national ideology.118 Abu-Lughod, Lila. pp 128 Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt. Chicago,University of Chicago Press, 2005.119 Having participated in multiple protest marches, peace vigil and rallies, I have witnessed theparticipation of members from the television industry who reside in the metropolitan city of Karachi.
  • 79. It is within such a framework that Enlightened Moderation can be analyzed.However Enlightened Moderation is a very complex phenomenon and its best to reiteratethe different strands and layers it holds in order to continue my argument. EnlightenedModeration operates on two very distinct levels- the international and the domestic. Theinternational aspect deals mainly with foreign policy tactics in order to create a “soft-image”of Pakistan; however my main concern here is the domestic. Locally, EnlightenedModeration can be seen as a set of policy initiatives in order to regenerate Pakistaneconomically and politically; however it can also be seen as constructing a new kind ofPakistani citizen- the moderate Muslim. Herein lies a connection between the televisionindustry and Enlightened Moderation beyond an institutional level. The private televisionindustry engages with Enlightened Moderation insofar as it only takes into account thepersonal, i.e. its ideological impetus; it participates in crafting an individual personhood ofthe Pakistani citizen along the lines of a moderate Muslim. It supports and subscribes toMusharraf’s state initiatives to fashion this new kind of citizen, articulated against a moreRadical Islam. With religiosity visibly on the rise, the bourgeois public can no longer ignore thepersonal make-up of the nation it caters to. Therefore, even within a liberalized mediaatmosphere where the television fraternity can create programming of any kind, more andmore owners of production houses choose to work within the genre of religiousprogramming. From an industrial perspective, this change can be seen as followingconsumer demand and producing programming that will win them the most advertisers.However from an ideological perspective, religious programming can be seen as engagingwith the subject formation of the moderate Pakistani Muslim prompted by the EnlightenedModeration paradigm. Steps are finally being taken to acknowledge the salience of religion in
  • 80. public and personal life. In June 2007, Geo put together and broadcast four groundbreakingepisodes of a program called "Zara Sochieye," or "Think," featuring 27 top religious scholarswho debated various clauses of the Hudood Ordinance120 and agreed on a series ofamendments. Last week, Musharraf asked the Council of Islamic Ideology, which advises thelegislature on whether laws are in accordance with Islam, to draft an amendment to theHudood Ordinance.121 Upon closer inspection of the situation, the reasons behind the bourgeois public’slimited capacity of engagement with Enlightened Moderation become quite apparent. Thetelevision industry is extremely aware of the fact that the changes in the media landscapehave only been possible because Musharraf is an ardent supporter of liberalized media. Hisregime and policies have given the bourgeois public entry into avenues previously closed tothem. They are now allowed to freely create socially responsible programming free frominterference of hidden political agendas. While they might resent that Musharraf has been inpower since 1999 based on a non-democratic non-parliamentarian take over, they cannotdisregard that he has immense institutional backing and power, with the military by his side. Therefore they consciously choose not to interfere with his politics. They choose notto challenge the structural policies of Enlightened Moderation. They choose not to interactin any way to his half-hearted promises of mainstreaming women, alleviating poverty andproviding adequate representation to minorities in social and political life. Instead they120 The television industry, in particular the immensely popular Geo TV Network is leading a wave ofcritics who say that the failings of a set of Islamic decrees must be addressed, and the law amended. Thelaws, known collectively as the Hudood Ordinance, were introduced in 1979 and have been criticizedinternationally ever since. Due to one clause that says that in order to prove rape, a woman must have atleast four male witnesses. If the woman fails to provide that proof, she herself faces the charge of adultery."The Hudood Ordinance makes no distinction between rape and adultery," says Mir Khalil ur Rahman,CEO of the network. This discrepancy has put many women behind bars. Of about 6,000 women inPakistani custody awaiting trial the first week of March, 621 were being held on Hudood violations,according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an NGO.121 <>
  • 81. engage with the idea of Enlightened Moderation- the project of creating the new moderateMuslim. After all, with their liberal secularist mindset, they are more wary of mullahs takingover the streets of Pakistan rather than a military dictator at the head of the State.
  • 82. THE MEDIATED MULTITUDE FINALLY SPEAKS Conceptions of “publics” are very much tied to the media and the state. From mediacome their specifications as audiences, from politics their specifications as opinion, withboth as features of modern mass society.122 In the western liberal tradition however, thispublic is often placed in a subjective relationship with politics. Only a normative bourgeoispublic participates in politics. So how do we understand the political make up of the citizensof a postcolonial state? Partha Chatterjee points out that “the emergence of massdemocracies… produced an entirely new distinction- one between citizens and populations.Citizens inhabit the domain of theory, populations the domain of policy.”123 In other words,theoretically while all members of a nation are entitled to rights over the state, the reality isquite the opposite. Populations are made up of distinct sub-groups that are identifiable,classifiable which serve as empirical data for the effective “governmentalization of the state”i.e. to carry out policies specifically targeted to distinct groups with distinct characteristics.Constituents of these groups begin to identify with characteristics assigned to them as thisassociation allows them to claim a right on the state. So while the theoretical modern nationstate had to constantly reaffirm the unity of its citizens, there was in reality no one massivepublic. Instead there were multiple publics, “always a multiplicity of population groups thatwere the objects of governmentality- multiple targets with multiple characteristics requiringmultiple techniques of administration.”124 He calls these groups political society whichcomprise of squatter communities, street dwellers, beggars, refugees, villagers, etc- amanifestation of the unfulfilled promises of equality, freedom and the nation.122 Anderson, Jon W. pp 891. Social Research. New Media, New Publics: Public Sphere of Islam. Vol. 70,No. 3, 887-906. (2003).123 Chatterjee, Partha. pp 34. The Politics of the Governed: Reflections on Popular Politics in Most of theWorld. NY:Columbia University Press, 2004.124 Ibid. pp 35-36
  • 83. Essentially political society is unorganized, uneducated and un-propertied. It standsoutside the normative Habermasian public sphere, yet it is very crucial for the effectivefunctioning of the modern nation state. It creates the informal sector that lies outside formalstate institutions, yet it is the foundation for the economy. Most importantly, political societymakes up the bulk of the nation, the majority of the people. Therefore, any person in powerregardless of the kind of government- autocratic, democratic or a military dictatorship- mustsay that they are ruling in the interest of the people. The foundation for the legitimacy of power in a modern democratic polity isgrounded in a notion of popular sovereignty.125 The will of the people is the objective of thestate. However in post colonial nations such as Pakistan the relationship between the stateand civil society- a binary that in and of itself is difficult to apply to postcolonial nations- isgravely unequal. In an attempt to understand the disparate relationship between the state andthe people, Chatterjee states: Most of the inhabitants of [Pakistan] are only tenuously, and even then ambiguously and contextually, rights-bearing citizens in the sense imagined by the constitution. They are not, therefore, proper members of civil society and are not regarded, as such by the institutions of the state. But it is not as though they are outside the reach of the state or even excluded from the domain of politics. As populations within the territorial jurisdiction of the state, they have to be both looked after and controlled by various governmental agencies. These activities bring these populations into a certain political relationship with the state.126 In other words, because these populations are within the confines of a nationalterritory, they also have to be taken into account politically. They also engage with nationalpolitics, elections, campaigns, and consolidating the people in power. Therefore Musharrafhas to appeal to these multiple publics in an effort to secure his place in the political playing125 Ibid. pp 27126 Ibid. pp 38
  • 84. field. He has to, or he must say he is, claiming legitimacy for his Enlightened Moderationparadigm on behalf of the will of the people. However, Chatterjee’s “political society” is based on class and caste interests anddistinguishes very strongly between different sections of society. While his argument isuseful in understanding that a national polity is not united or singular despite the rhetoric,his theory falls short of the unity a fragmented national polity can display based oncommonalities. It is for this reason that I use the concept of the multitude; for it allows thedifferent sections to come together, and yet maintain those internal differences. Negri andHardt conceptualize: The multitude, designates an active social subject, which acts on the basis of what the singularities share in common. The multitude is an internally different, multiple social subject whose constitution and action is based not on identity or unity (or, much less, indifference) but what it has in common.127 In this section therefore I will show that the influence of Enlightened Moderationgoes beyond the normative bourgeois public sphere. Instead the structural and discursivechanges brought about by Enlightened Moderation have opened up new spaces for themultitude to participate in their own identity formation and define for themselves theparameters of being a moderate Muslim. In particular I will argue that the multitude islooking towards Islamic scholars and intellectuals in an effort to negotiate the ideology ofEnlightened Moderation in their own personal lives, thereby creating a new kind of publicengagement.127 Hardt, Michael & Negri, Antonio. pp 100. Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire. NY:Penguin Press, 2004.
  • 85. Public Preaching From reading the Pakistani newspapers, watching television with a surge of religiousprogramming, and listening to the state rhetoric of Enlightened Moderation, one gets theimpression that the creation of a moderate Muslim has recently become a major goal ofPakistani society and there is broad consensus concerning its relevance and desirability.Religion and the configuration of religious identity is a popular topic in Pakistan- the subjectof books, articles, talk shows, discussion panels, conversations and even public life. There ishowever considerable contestation in the discourse surrounding the place of religion inpublic life: For some there is agreement and enthusiastic support by everyone for Islamization, while for others Islamization is a fraud, a tool used by a dictatorial regime. For some Islamization is self-evident and has a single meaning held by everyone in the Muslim community, for others Islamization is a vague concept with different communities and sects holding different and often contradictory interpretations of what it entails. For some Islamization means putting all women in purdah, promulgating religious modes of education, and strictly adhering to sharia law, while for others Islamization means expanding gender role equality, pursuing scientific knowledge, and applying traditional moral principles to fit contemporary circumstances.128 The above paragraph was written in 1985 reflecting the fragmented nature andconfusion rampant in the minds of the Pakistani public over the eminence of religion inpublic life during the eleven year rule of General Zia ul Haq (1977-88) when he enforced astrict culture of Islamization. Two decades later, replace Islamization with the EnlightenedModeration paradigm, and the same description can apply to the present Pakistani polity.Simply put, Pakistan is divided over religion; over the extent of its control and visibility inpublic and private life. Religion has always been a bone of contention for Pakistanis rightfrom its inception. At the outset, religion was used as the primary source of legitimacy and to128 Richard Kurin Islamization in Pakistan: A View from the Countryside Asian Survey, Vol. 25, No. 8.(1985), pp. 852-862.
  • 86. claim that Indian Muslims should have their own independent homeland. The first battle inthis area played out between the secular modernist Islamists Iqbal, Jinnah and the MuslimLeague, who argued against radical elements such as the Jamaat-e-Ulema-e-Hind (presentlyJamaat-e-Islami) which believed in the notion of a universal undivided ummah. Jinnah wantedto create a tolerant moderate secular Pakistan but passed away before he could realize thisvision. Due to the lack of powerful leadership, civilian rule gave way to military regimes oneafter the next. With the Army entering politics, religion in Pakistan acquired a new texture- itgot mixed with notions of jihad, a heightened sense of religious and national duty, andpolitical agendas. Border conflicts especially with India and the ensuing war in Kashmirattained a deeper meaning- it became a national and religious cause, for the Army and themultitude. Although there are no statistics or any quantifiable data present, it is generallyaccepted that Pakistanis are becoming increasingly religious. More women are seen wearingburqahs and covering their heads with hijab; more men are seen at local mosques attendingdaily prayers; and more people tune in to watch television programs that are devoted todeliberate over how to lead a good Muslim life in a modern world. More Pakistanis areparticipating in live call-in talk shows and radio shows asking practical questions such as howto live as a Muslim in the modern world and the perils of neglecting Islamic obligations. 129More and more Muslims are looking to their religion for principles of public order andpersonal spirituality. Cities, towns and districts reflect this veering towards religion as well. The TeenTalwar (three swords) monument has been there for as long as I can remember, displayingunity, faith and discipline- the concepts that the cohesion of Pakistan was supposed to be129 Eickelman, Dale F. & Salvatore, Armando. pp 104. Arch. Europ. Sociol. The Public Sphere and MuslimIdentities. Vol. 92, No. 115, (2002).
  • 87. based on. In addition, there is the Allah wali Chowrangi- a large sculpture with Allah written inArabic calligraphy. Large billboards in busy commercial areas say: la ilaha illallah muhammadanrasulullah (there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet). Packaging of cellphones spell out halal- ‘this product has only been made with halal ingredients’ and thenthere is the current vogue of Islamic clothing and exhibitions, Islamic soft drinks, Islamiceconomics and interest free banking, Islamic medicine and perfume, Islamic television andthat favorite the Islamic bomb.130 Islam has made its mark in Pakistan- it has physicallyentered public life. Of course, Islam as a religion has no agency in the matter; this is a resultof national and local initiatives, product manufacturing, and the articulation of issuescovered up in religious discourse. Religion has become ubiquitous and it has almost becomepeculiar to remain a secularist. Everybody is looking for divine intervention- which has cometo the people of Pakistan in the form of Western educated Islamic scholars. Dr. Farhat Hashmi, the first of the popular preachers appearing in 1994 (preachingonly to women) is of the view that people often turn to religion in despair. “Theexpectations of Pakistanis have not been fulfilled in our 50-odd years of independence…there is a feeling of betrayal and despair. Even political Islam has not been able to addresspeople’s grievances”.131 In other words, religion is supposed to give order, a sense ofpurpose, some meaning to the otherwise socially and politically fragmented Pakistani polity. Islamic scholars, popular preachers, or religious public intellectuals, whatever onecalls them, are the order of the day. Their words, their arguments and their thoughts onIslam are sought by almost everyone in Pakistan who believes he/she is in need of personalspirituality and/or religious guidance. About 1,200 women signed up for Dr Hashmi’s yearlong course on translations from the Quran in Karachi in 2002; her public sermon gathered130 Ibid. pp 853131 <>
  • 88. a crowd of almost 10,000 women, and hundred of others have purchased DVDs, CDs,audio cassettes and videos of lectures and discussions she has delivered. Another case inpoint is Dr. Zakir Naik. The owners and operators of boast that he ispopular for his astonishing ability to learn and remember information from several Bibles,the Talmud and the Torah (Jewish scriptures), the Mahabharata and the Bhagwad Gita(Hindu holy scriptures), and other scriptures, giving answers in conjunction with reason,logic and scientific facts.132 He is increasingly seen on cable television in Pakistan. Even thelocal cable operators are under the spell of the popular preacher- they play DVDs showingpanel discussions and questions and answer sessions that follow thereafter. Finally, I want tomention Dr. Aamer Liaquat Hussain host of the extremely popular Aalim Online (ReligiousScholar Online) television show on Geo TV who moderates discussions between clericsfrom different sects of Islam (has recently ventured into comparative religion) by allowingviewers to call in and discuss their query in light of both Shia and Sunni Sharia. These popular preachers answer general questions from the audience, be it indirectlythrough live call in talk shows and discussions, or a question and answer session after asermon. These preachers give divine intervention to the mediated multitude by giving themthe space to participate in negotiating the idea of a moderate Muslim for themselves.However the question remains, what makes these popular preachers so incredibly popular?These Islamic scholars use new media technologies that expand participation through theInternet and websites, lectures and discussions available in print and on audio cassettes, andthrough CDs, DVDs that are available for sale at the click of a button. Hashmi oftentranslates and explains verses from the Quran with the help of multimedia presentationsprojected on a screen, while Naik and Hussain are only seen on television with debates,132 <>
  • 89. discussion forums and participatory public question and answers, wielding considerablepower from that. With the success and proliferation of popular preachers using new mediatechnologies, differences began to get blurred and religion started to take on a new meaning.The distinction between a [bourgeois] secular public sphere and a more heterogeneouspopular culture was not likely to survive the proliferation of new electronic media; however,as the boundary-piercing character of television ensured the blurring of programminggenres… citizens drew on the narrative resources of religion, to make sense of an oftendisorientingly unstable polity.133 The nature of this religious inquiry is not at all political. In fact questions that theviewers ask entail curiosity about personal piety. They are questions about whether it is okayfor women to wear lipstick while praying or what should a person do if its time for prayersand the boss has called a meeting. Then there are also the serious issues of inheritance,marriage, divorce, money, polygamy, and clarification of religious beliefs. For example, aviewer once asked on Aalim Online “What should I do if I drink water while standing?” 134Hussain posed the question to the panel of clerics and the reply was shocking. Put yourfinger down your throat, gag yourself till you force yourself to vomit the water you drank,then sit down and drink the water again. Or in another instance, Dr. Zakir Naik was askedwhether women should be allowed to wear short skirts while playing tennis. In his typicaloratory style, he began with how Islam requires everyone to be modest, but women inparticular should dress modestly. He said women are not allowed to wear skirts while playingtennis; instead they should be covered from head to toe and wear a burqah. Someone fromthe audience then pointed out that the player at the other end would have an unfair133 Rajagopal, Arvind. pp 152. Politics After Television: Hindu Nationalism and the Reshaping of thePublic in India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.134 According to the Sunnah of the Prophet (regarding his life as exemplary), one should always drink waterwhile sitting down.
  • 90. advantage as it would be more difficult for this woman in purdah to play. Naik replied yesthat is true and Allah knows that. Therefore He will help her out more and perhaps rewardher by making her win the game. In a similar way, Hashmi and Naik both promote polygamyfor men- i.e. for a Muslim man to take multiple wives, according to Hashmi “so that othersisters can benefit also”135; while Naik argues that there are more women in this world andtherefore restricting a man to marry only one wife is not practical because that way mostwomen will remain unmarried.136 This is the sort of divine intervention Pakistanis are seeking. While some of theadvice and guidance these preachers provide is absolutely ridiculous it is important toacknowledge that they are approaching religion from a fresh perspective. They are usingtheir western education and background to analyze, engage with and re-interpret religion,which is increasingly important in this post 9/11 world. It is also important to acknowledgethat they are distinctly different from the clerics and ulema. Most ulema are critical of thesenew preachers, in particular because they have had no formal religious training, i.e. they havenot been to madrassahs. In fact, they are graduates of schools, colleges and universities anddon’t fit the traditional role of a religious authority. However, it is difficult to validate thesecriticisms and the Ulema’s real objection stems from the fact that popular preachers havemoved religion into public discourse thereby undermining the traditional hold that religiousscholars have had on the Pakistani masses; and consequently weakening the long runningMullah Military Alliance. Pakistan is at a decisive turning point in its short and volatile existence. It istransforming with changes occurring at two opposite ends of the spectrum. On one hand, itis becoming a market-oriented consumer polity with more privatization, economic reforms135 <>136>
  • 91. and the creation of a nouveau riche. On the other, its people are displaying more visiblereligiosity. In Pakistan, these changes have occurred very recently with a liberalized mediaatmosphere facilitating this process. The development of mass higher education and morerecently increasingly accessible forms of communication and new media have played asignificant role in fragmenting and contesting political and religious authority.137 The massmedia, in particular the developments in private and satellite television production and thegrowing expanse of the Internet, have altered the context in Pakistan in a myriad of ways.138The proliferation of live call-in television talk shows and discussion forums detaches religionfrom traditional modes of production, making religion a discourse comprised of messages ina world of messages allowed to be interpreted, critically analyzed and most importantlycontested. In other words, Musharraf’s open-door media policy has opened up avenues thatallows for religion to move from traditionally authoritative dictates into a more open,accessible, discursive space where mass audiences and publics can engage in theconfiguration and re-configuration of religion and religious identity. Electronic communication also moves Islamic discourse beyond the classicalprecedents of the State and the Mullah enabling new voices to gather new audiences. It isdifficult to say whether the liberalized media atmosphere brought about publicly visiblereligiosity or vice versa. However, it is apparent that these changes have led to a pluralizationof religious authority, and, with it an intensification of debates over Islam’s social meaningand the authorities by whom it is to be defined. This pluralization was met with an increasein new voices seen in the appearance of a host of religious activists challenging the137 Eickelman, Dale F. & Anderson, Jon W. New Media in the Muslim World: The Emerging Public Sphere(2nd ed). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2003.138 I would like to clarify here that while my project is somewhat media-centric, I am not arguing for adirect causal relationship between the proliferation of media and the changes in the subjective personhoodof the Pakistani citizen.
  • 92. monopoly of religious power previously enjoyed only by classically trained religious scholars.Chief among these activists has been the growth of popular preachers who adjust theirservices in order to appeal to a broader public that extends beyond traditional elites and thereligiously oriented. They present Islam in quasi-ideological terms, as a source of practicalknowledge that can be differentiated from others and consciously reworked.139 Analyzingthis recent phenomenon across the Muslim world, Jon W. Anderson argues: They [popular preachers] challenge traditional interpretative practices and authorities to speak for Islam… and their claims draw on social and political experiences as alternatives both to expertise in textual hermeneutics associated with the learned men of Islam (ulema) and to more illuminationist priorities exemplified in Sufi and generally mystical ways.140In other words, these preachers contribute to the expanding public discourse by re-intellectualizing Islam in an accessible vernacular form. They give theologically basedreligious advice on radio, television call-in or write-in shows to more psychological andsocial advice which is theoretically grounded in foundational religious texts, comparativereligious studies, and news and views of current affairs. Their arguments and claims arebased more on rational, critical analysis rather than uncontested dictates. Theircommentaries mix passages from the Quran with discussions of current affairs, Westerntheories and daily life. This eclectic blend of religion, science, common sense and personalexperience makes them all the more attractive to a wide variety of audiences. It is in this waythat a new sense of public engagement is emerging in Pakistan which is defined byincreasingly open contests over the authoritative use of the symbolic language of Islam.Situated outside formal state control, this distinct public engagement exists at theintersections of religious, political and social life; increasingly participating in challenging or139 Hefner, Robert. pp 496. Sociology of Religion. Public Islam and the Problem of Democratization. Vol.62, No. 4, pp 491-514. (2001).140 Anderson, Jon W. pp 887. Social Research. New Media, New Publics: Public Sphere of Islam. Vol. 70,No. 3, 887-906. (2003).
  • 93. limiting state and conventional religious authorities and contributing to the creation of civilIslam141. Specifically within a Pakistani context, these changes can be seen as an expandedforum for public engagement with Musharraf’s vision for Enlightened Moderation. In otherwords, the ideology of Enlightened Moderation and the political project of creating the newmoderate Muslim allow the space for popular preachers to exist and in turn give them theability to contest and negotiate the parameters of moderate Islam within the State. Clearly,these preachers see moderation not in terms of political Islam or Muslim politics, but ratherin a heightened sense of personal piety. It is evident that gradually more people are seeking piety and extending patterns ofreligious expression and piety into new directions, albeit in different ways. This is quite anascent development in Pakistan and striking comparisons can be made with the pietymovement as it unfolded in Egypt. In Politics of Piety, Saba Mahmood theorizes about theIslamic Revival in Egypt as seen in the mosque movement. Certain insights from her analysisare useful to understand the Pakistani context. By tracing the history of the piety movementin Egypt she shows us how the motive of the participants was that political Islam, i.e. thereligion being used as a political ideology “reduces Islamic ritual practices to the status ofcultural customs and Muslim folklore”.142 In a similar way, Pakistani Muslims’ practice andperformative functions of piety can be seen as reclaiming religion from the hollow rhetoricof Islamic clerics on one hand, and engaging with Musharraf’s attempt to define theparameters of moderate Islam on the other. Their display of visible piety and activeparticipation in religious programming on media circuits can be viewed as a rejection of bothestablished paradigms. Instead Pakistani Muslims are engaging with Enlightened Moderation141 A term coined by Robert Hefner to refer to the pro-democracy and pro-pluralist wing of the modernMuslim reformation.142 Mahmood, Saba. pp 119. Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject. Princeton, NJ:Princeton University Press, 2005.
  • 94. and configuring Islam within Pakistan in their own way. While these multiple publics do notnecessarily see themselves as politicizing society, this effort to negotiate the new moderateMuslim is political insofar as its practice and growth in Pakistan affects all aspects of humanlife; pedagogical techniques, conceptions of moral and bodily health to patterns of familialand extra-familial relations.143 Moreover, it becomes overtly political when it comes intocontact with state visions, modernity and the all encompassing institutions and structures ofmodern governance, whether it aspires to state power or not. The most profound effect of this altered context of public engagement is manifestedin the way Islamic Law or Sharia is perceived. For centuries, Islamic responses to modernityhad reified Sharia in the sense of behavioral prescriptions, as opposed to piety- as the publicface of Islam, or its sociopolitical engagement with the modern world.144 In Pakistanrecently, an initiative was taken by Geo TV to contest controversial precedents set inPakistani family law due to misinterpretations of Sharia law (discussed in part two). Earlierefforts have been made in Pakistan’s history to bring Sharia into public view, mostintensively seen in General Zia ul Haq’s Islamization during the 80s. Under this regime,Sharia was brought to have more bearing on public and private life; however its mandateswere still determined by classically trained religious figures. Conversely, Musharraf’s visionallows a space for religion to move from being immutable to being openly discussed andconfigured according to changing social and political contexts. It is in this sense thatEnlightened Moderation can appear to usher a new era of public Islam, signaling a shift fromauthoritative behavioral prescriptions to cultivating an understanding of Islam that iscompatible with democracy and increased public participation.143 Ibid. pp 191144 Anderson, Jon W. pp 895. Social Research. New Media, New Publics: Public Sphere of Islam. Vol. 70,No. 3, 887-906. (2003).
  • 95. The conception of democracy here has to move beyond the limited traditionalwestern liberalist one. Democracy that such a context fosters tends to be more civildemocratic or Tocquevillean in nature, focusing more on voluntary associations rather thanliberalism. The multiplicity of Pakistani publics who so eagerly participate in defining andshaping religion through the channels opened by the private television industry are notpolitical in the least. They don’t articulate a need for an Islamic state or display any politicalaspirations to change the status quo. Instead they prove that for them society involves morethan autonomous individuals and democracy more than markets and the state. Democracyrequires a non-coercive culture of civility that encourages citizens to respect the rights ofothers as well as to cherish their own. This public culture depends on mediating institutionsin which citizens develop habits of free speech, participation, and toleration.145 From this perspective increased participation in religious television programming etc.can be seen in a positive light. The avenues opened up by the media require voluntaryassociations, participation and an assertion of democratic agency. By situating the practiceand performative function of piety in the daily lives of Pakistani Muslims, we can appreciatethe agency they exercise in the engagement with the idea of Enlightened Moderation. Byconfiguring their own parameters of moderate Islam, they challenge hegemonic authoritiesand formulate their own identities. Seen in this way, the escalation of people discussingreligion in public life and well as personal ethics- from all walks of life- through the platformof television can be regarded as a positive development. This consciousness of the power of the media and public reason helps to providealternatives to thinking about Muslim identity and politics. Engagement with the ideology ofEnlightened Moderation- if not the politics- from bourgeois and the multitude alike can be145 Hefner, Robert. pp 500. Sociology of Religion. Public Islam and the Problem of Democratization. Vol.62, No. 4, pp 491-514. (2001).
  • 96. seen as a step in the right direction. It contributes to an expanding public discourse that isarticulated against a more radical Islam, and creates a better informed Muslim polityencouraging a culture of increased civil action and promoting democratic norms. The stepsinvolved in bringing religion to prominence in public life such as fostering transparency andcivil participation are already on the rise. If this atmosphere were to be supported, it wouldcreate a state that would work with, rather than against, the diversity and freedoms of societyand reward the aspirations of citizenship within Pakistan, and perhaps finally allow Pakistanto become a fully functioning democracy. However, the visibility and prominence of religion in public life can also lead anotherconclusion- the growing fear of Talibanisation. Religion has become fashionable. Women arejust plain bored; they have had their share of sleeveless blouses and coffee parties and arenow ready for Islam.146 Increasing numbers of women wearing the hijab and more mendonning the beard have some Pakistani’s worried about an Islamic Revolution reminiscentof Iran in the 1980s. Increasing visibility also substantiates the claims of Islamists that mostPakistani’s want Pakistan to become an Islamic state. Moreover, the popular preachers whileapproaching Islam from the perspective of a Western educated intellectual continue topromote a retrogressive understanding of Islam that focuses on the performative aspects ofpersonal piety rather than seeking spiritual growth. It is difficult to predict what will happen next. The socio-political atmosphere inPakistan is highly volatile. Its stability is highly contingent- Musharraf is slated to step downin mid 2007, the war on terror is about to step up, and the multitude is finally speaking. It isin control of defining its own identity. Being subjected to six decades of state rhetoric andstate programs, the multitude is coming together on the basis of Islam and negotiating its146 Latif, Razia as quoted in article <>
  • 97. place in public life on its own. Despite the various strands of Islam followed in Pakistan, themultitude is united in appropriating Islam from the State, a unity that is created through newinformational networks which allows it to engage with the State in ways that it has not doneso previously.
  • 98. POST SCRIPT March 9th 2007: Musharraf suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry accusing him ofmisusing his powers. Chaudhry posed a threat to the Army Establishment and Musharrafwhen he took a position independent from the State in a number of cases involving thedisappearance of terror suspects and human rights activists. Musharraf’s removal ofChaudhry led to a massive movement spearheaded by the middle classes. Lawyers, civilsociety activists, students, businessmen, joined by the opposition political parties, all took thestreets protesting Chaudhry’s removal. Chaudhry has been placed under house arrest,superior and civil court judges have resigned and the judicial system has been paralyzed forover a month.147 March 29th, 2007: Hard line religious leaders and hundreds of men and womenactivists from the local madrassahs challenged the writ of the government for the second timeby trying to force their brand of Islamic justice in Islamabad. They first took hostage threewomen from a house near their stronghold of Lal Masjid for allegedly running a brothel andlater forcibly detained two security personnel in protest against detention of their foursupporters. The situation took the form of a confrontation on Wednesday when theauthorities detained four madrassah people on the charge of threatening video-shop owners.The madrassah students reacted violently, and within no time two police vans were attackedand two security officials taken hostage. Later, the ulema and local administration reached anagreement under which Qamar Abbas of Islamabad police and Hammad of Punjab policewere released with their official vehicles. In return, the two women teachers and two otheractivists were released by the police. However, the three kidnapped women were still stated147 <>
  • 99. to be in the custody of the students of the madrassah and negotiations were under way fortheir release.148 These two events took place twenty days short of each other. One speaks of themultitude coming together and participating in a process that will cultivate a civil democracy.The other speaks of the Religious Right taking to the streets. Both rest at the extremeopposite ends of the political spectrum in Pakistan and both speak to the declininglegitimacy of Musharraf. Musharraf’s initial game plan was to campaign for another term for Presidency, andbe elected by the present National Assembly. Once he was already established as solesovereign, he would continue to lead the Army and hand pick his cabinet once again. Hewould hold elections which would be heavily rigged, disallow the leading opposition partiesto participate in them and continue to be master of the country. However, things did notplay out as he had planned. Musharraf took over in 1999, Pakistan went through its fourthmilitary spell, and the people became fed up with the present political culture of partisanshipand militarism. Now Musharraf is facing the worst crisis of political legitimacy since he cameto power in 1999. He has alienated his middle class support base and he has pushed away thetraditional mullah support through his violent crackdown on Radical Islam. Musharraf is leftwith very few options. He cannot go ahead with his initial plan, and more importantly he hasto let go of Pakistan. With the consistent protests against Musharraf’s regime, it is clear thatanything he does to keep himself in power will lead to more protests and aggravation on thestreets. But how do we understand these protests? Unlike a mass movement, these protestshave started in the legal community and amongst the urban elite population. They areemblematic of elite that is tired of military rule and a political Army. Musharraf has148 <>
  • 100. continued to support the war on terror despite a substantial lack of domestic support. Hispolicies to streamline the Islamists have backfired and the Religious Right is rampantthroughout Pakistan. The judicial issue is not the only issue feeding the resentment; howeverit has become the focus of expression for it. . Therefore the protests can be seen asindicative of a general mood of resentment against Musharraf. The resentment is apoliticalinsofar as it is not led by political parties; however it is targeted at unbalancing the statusquo. A vacuum for political leadership is created and increasingly the ones’ who have ledpublic opinion in times of crises have been the religious leaders. The street protests thatbegan by the lawyer community, was very quickly usurped by the religious madrassahs andturned into a matter of religion. Musharraf’s promises of delivering Enlightened Moderationhave long been forgotten; however the consequences of his ideology are more visible thanever. Religion has entered the public sphere, making its mark through street protests andtelevision programming. Musharraf has unleashed a hydra that he can no longer control, yetit has never been more crucial to establish control given the rapidly changing politicalscenario. There is clearly a crisis of politics in Pakistan; however the issue is not so simple. Thedomestic political crisis is influenced if not determined by Pakistan’s foreign policy. I arguedthat Musharraf’s regime, particularly its central policy of Enlightened Moderation wasconceptualized largely as a foreign policy initiative, with remarkable and unexpectedimplications for the domestic political context. The private television industry and thegeneral wave of liberalized media institutions in turn altered the subjectivity of the Pakistanicitizen and assisted in the creation of and engagement with a religiopolitical identity. This thesis then serves to articulate a new kind of relationship between the mediaand politics in Pakistan. The media form a highly complex entity in Pakistan. The media
  • 101. cannot be studied independently of politics and political institutions. It is clear that themedia have been vital in establishing state control and promoting a national ideology. Whathas been undermined in academic research is the profound power of media institutions tochallenge state domination. Moreover, the influence that Islamists wield over the mediaindustry has been entirely overlooked, perhaps because the media industry in Pakistan pridesin being a bourgeois secular public. In order to understand this issue fully, research needs tobe done on television programming and the industry in general that moves beyond adescriptive, economist perspective. The media are political in Pakistan and there is no bettertime to realize and acknowledge that than now. Politics within Pakistan cannot be analyzed through the traditional lens of Westernsecular liberalism. Politics is far more complex and cannot be separated into neat conceptualcategories. Binaries of secular/religious, public/private, civil/military are inadequate to fullycapture politics of Pakistan. Scholars of Pakistan need to realize and acknowledge thecomplexities and nuances of Pakistani politics if they are to ever articulate a solution to theperpetual political crisis. One way to do so is finally acknowledge that Islam and its placewithin Pakistan has become the central issue in recent Pakistani politics because of aconscious and consistent State policy that aims at excluding secular civilian politicians frompower while maintaining a State controlled by the Army. While the Army has been the saviortime and again, it is time to realize that the Army while appearing to be the only short termsolution is also a crucial part of the problem. Musharraf’s duality in speaking of EnlightenedModeration while he keeps alive the perception that he is faced with an Islamist oppositionthat justifies military intervention and governance reflect the structural problems in
  • 102. Pakistan’s politics- the weakness of civilian institutions and the armed forces dominance ofdecision making.149 Perhaps the most important implication of this thesis is a new way ofconceptualizing Muslim politics- despite using religion as the central tenet of expression- as amodern political phenomenon that employs modern methods in particular new mediatechnologies to peddle ideology. It also highlights the new phase of politics that the Pakistanimultitude has actively embarked upon. This rise in personal piety signals “a new phase inpolitics, wherein a different relationship between communication and public participationwas made possible by three factors: the growth of new media; the expansion of the market;and the legitimation of crisis of political authority”.150 The context for the participation ofthe mediated multitude was a result of continuities and pre-established patterns ofgovernance and Enlightened Moderation should be viewed as such; however, publicengagement with its discourse should be analyzed as a new phenomenon within Pakistanipolitics. Finally, in terms of the precarious position Pakistan holds in international politics asa frontline state in the war against terror, it becomes important to recognize andacknowledge changes within the domestic sphere as foreign and national interests are soclosely intertwined. Islam as a religion has come under close scrutiny; moreover, it isimportant to distinguish and acknowledge that Islam as a religion inherently does notpromote terrorism, and that it is distinctly different from Islam being used to achievepolitical ends. Increasing religiosity can have grave implications for geopolitics and regional149 Haqqani, Hussain. pp 321. Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military. Carnegie Endowment forInternational Peace, 2005.150 Rajagopal, Arvind. pp 273. Politics After Television: Hindu Nationalism and the Reshaping of thePublic in India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • 103. security. If the crisis of legitimacy is not solved, the Islamists are bound to gain more controlor at the very least consolidate their support. The religious threat has been greatlyexaggerated by the Musharraf regime. It is highly improbable that Islamists will gain anyconstitutional control as their electoral support has always remained low. However, theycontinue to be a formidable force as one small issue could ignite massive street protestswhich would then become difficult to control. The political atmosphere in Pakistan signifies that General Musharraf has prolongedhis stay far beyond the consent of the Pakistani people. Perhaps, it is finally time for theArmy to give up control once and for all and hand over the reigns of politics to thedemocratic multitude so that civil institutions can be rooted in place and a new state ofmoderate Pakistani Muslims can articulate a new idea of Pakistan.
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  • 107. Shah, Aqil. Journal of Democracy. Democracy on Hold in Pakistan. Vol. 13, No. 1, (2002), pp. 67-75. Websites< Moderation.aspx><><><><><><><>< ><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>Television ProgramsMusharraf, Pervez. Interview on television channel Business Plus, appearing on show: 24seven.29th Dec 2006.News clip aired on PTV News on January, 21st 2007.
  • 108. Appendix: In PicturesDVD broadcast on television-
  • 109. Prayers on Q TVWomen attending a religious sermon
  • 110. Haq TVQ TV