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.
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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Re envisioning a nation- media politics and publics in pakistan

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 <www.presidentofpakistan.gov.pk/Enlightened Moderation.aspx>23 Ibid.
  24. 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. 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 <www.presidentofpakistan.gov.pk/Enlightened Moderation.aspx>25 Special Report on Enlightened Moderation: The Post 9/11 Scenario, Senate Foreign RelationsCommittee, Pakistan, October 2004, pp 12
  26. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 <www.presidentofpakistan.gov.pk/Enlightened 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 < http://www.pakistani.org/pakistan/constitution/annex_objres.html>
  43. 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. 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. 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 < http://www.pakistani.org/pakistan/constitution/part3.ch1.html>
  46. 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. 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.

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