Use of religion for legitimization

It was the Battle of Siffin where Islam was used to legitimize caliphal authority; paving the way for the politicization of religion.

In Pakistan religion has always been politicized by religious scholars; military demagogues and political parties. The concept of a separate homeland on religious lines in the Indian sub-continent was rejected, renounced and refuted by the religious school of thought.

They despised it on the grounds that Islam believes on universalism rather than confining into a territory. Although, after the formation of Pakistan this ‘ecclesiastical ‘class showed ideological dichotomy thus had made paramount efforts to impose religious dogmas on the political landscape. They wanted a state which resides upon religionism than on egalitarianism.

The doctrine of religious-nationalism was incarnated and inculcated by Quaid Muhammad Ali Jinnah to connect all the divided factions-sectarian, ethnic, cultural and linguistic for a greater cause. But Quaid never wanted an Islamic state, though religious creed has exploited Islam to legitimize their role in the body politics of Pakistan. The adoption of the Objective Resolution with Islamic provisions is a profound example of it.

The subjugation has hurled the never-ending struggle between the forces-secularism and conservatism which today has manifested as a perilous phenomenon in the form of radicalization; fanaticism and obscurantism.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the charismatic Quaid-e-Awam referred as the first democratic spearhead who adopted a policy of appeasement towards orthodox Mullahs to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslim. He used the term “Islamic Socialism” to legitimize his role as the first Civil Martial Law Administrator.

The reign of General Zia-Ul-Haq as a Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA) has added more to the cauldron with his Islamic-fascist policies along with the religious political party-Jamat-i-Islami. 

The JI’s main objective was to Islamize Pakistan’s law and constitution: the country was to be a model for the contemporary Islamic state the JI has evolved from being a small, elitist revolutionary movement into an organized political party; it nonetheless maintains its elitist character.

General Zia-u-Haq committed himself to enforce a personal interpretation of “Nizam-e-Mustaffa. He with the declaration and implementation of controversial Islamic laws has legitimized his military despotism. A Zakat and Ushr Ordinance was promulgated to collect Zakat from the savings accounts holder in banks.

The ordinance was against the jurisprudence of Shi’ism with the intervention of late Ayatollah Khomeini, the Chief Martial Law Administrator exempted Shia’s from this tax. Nevertheless, they required to take the oath that they don’t belong to Sunnism, this prejudice steered a demonstration resulted in bloodshed. This incident opened the doors for sectarian cleavages.

Moreover, not only the declaration of Ahmadis as heretics and infidels has given depth to the schism in the society but the Hudood Ordinance has circumscribed the value of women.

Furthermore, the decision to use guerilla orchestras of mujahideen following the US against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan has introduced Kalashnikov and drug culture in Pakistan.

The Mullah-Military alliance has demonstrated in the contour of religious pedagogy with different brands of Islamic cults-Deobandi; Wahabbi; Braelvi; Shia and so on.

The remnants of war are still haunting Pakistan in the form of “Taliban” and “Freedom Fighters”.

The Islamic political parties JUI-F and JI have supported the mushroom growth of madrassas which propagated and indoctrinated the notion of jihad against the “Red army”.

The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F) is a predominantly Pashtun Deobandi party led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman. Its support relies heavily on a large madrasa network and on getting business permits by aligning with all governments.

After the demise of General Zia-Ul-Haq, these parties along with the Sharif’s PML-N resorted to different political tactics to dethrone the government of first women Prime Minister of Pakistan.  Both religious parties to legitimize their role in the politics and Sharif’s PML-N to legitimize political campaign have used the religious pretext that the government of women is forbidden in Islam. Then in 1993 despite of alliance with Sharif’s despotic party the JI has changed its loyalties and launched major protests.

Afterwards, the military intervention once again in 1999 was legalized but this time Army General has resorted to win the support of all religious political parties along with the perks of being a “Front-line State”.

Nonetheless, history has repeated itself but this time Pakistan followed US policy to eliminate her own generated mess- guerilla orchestras of mujahedeen. The military regime has won elections in 2002 and with the military’s active support, the six-party Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) came on the surface, campaigning on the dual issues of enforcement of Sharia and opposition to the U.S.-led intervention in Afghanistan. The MMA was comprised of Jamat-i-Islami (JI), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), Jamat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP), Tehrik-e-Jafria Pakistan (TJP), Jamiat Ahle Hadith (JAH) and JUI (Sami Ul Haq).

The MMA has validated Musharraf’s seventeenth constitutional amendment, consequently, legitimized the coup and centralized political power in the military ruler.  In return, the MMA was permitted to pursue its Islamization agenda in the than NWFP.

After the return of democracy which has nurtured in the arms of National Reconciliation Ordinance, these religious political parties have playing their cards to remain in the political arena. Even the liberal and moderate Tehreek-i-Insaf has made a coalition with the Maulana Sami Ul Haq on the Senate elections. Samiul Haq is commonly nicknamed the “Father of the Taliban”, due to his leadership of the Darul Uloom Haqqania.

The politicization of religion is an old phenomenon. The dream of Quaid-e-Azam to make Pakistan a liberal state has been maneuvered, manipulated and misinterpreted. Quaid said in his speech:

“You are free, you are free to go to your temples, and you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed-that has nothing to do with the business of the state. Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state”.

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1 Comment

  1. Souleymane says

    Oh, please. They are not coming to “whitewash. It”s 2018. This is not about politicization. They are curators. They know, have studied and understand African art. A qualified person of color who felt they were arbitrarily rejected for the role should step forward. Otherwise, please save the outrage for something tangible.

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