The Relationship between Islam and Politics in Pakistan from 1956 to Present

Posted: September 3rd, 2013

The Relationship between Islam and Politics in Pakistan from 1956 to Present








The study is aimed at establishing the relationship of Islam in Pakistan politics. Additionally, the study aims at identifying the similarities and differences of Islam involvement in Pakistan politics in the past and present. On the other hand, the paper is trying to establish whether Islam has facilitated democracy in Pakistan or it is pushing democracy further away. With the help of books and articles, this study will establish a clear relationship of Islam and Pakistan politics.


















The Relationship between Islam and Politics in Pakistan from 1956 to Present


The political arena has changed significantly in the past decade. In the past, many social groups and organizations had separated themselves from politics, but currently many social groups and organizations are becoming involved in what is happening to a country’s politics. In particular, the Islamic religion has started to become an organization force in the political arena of many countries as compared to the past. For instance, in Pakistan, the involvement of Islam in the political scene since it was made an Islamic state has completely changed. Therefore, for easier understanding, it is better to compare Islamic relation to politics in Pakistan from 1956 to date.

Definition of terms

            Islamism is one of the words commonly used in the Pakistan. It can be defined as the belief of Islamic religion controlling both political and social lives of people. The meaning of the word may vary from one group to another, but the commonly used meaning is the control of political and social lives. In Pakistan, Islamists often believe that Islam has the power to control the political and social lives of people. In the case, the Islamic laws are part of the government laws where people are often expected to follow these laws to the letter. Failure is met with a lot of force by the Islamists.

Another term that is common in Pakistan is Sheria law. Sheria law can be described the moral codes of conduct in Islam. In Islam, there are rules and regulations which Muslims are expected to follow at all times. These rules and regulations in Islam are the ones that are referred to as Sheria law. Pakistan being an Islamic state, it uses many rules and regulations from the Sheria law. In this case, the government has borrowed some of the laws from the Islamic religion to govern the nation. Therefore, the word Sheria law is commonly used in Pakistan to describe the laws borrowed from Islamic religion.

Democracy is another word that is constantly used in Pakistan. Democracy can be defined as the process where the power of government leadership is vested on the people. In this case, people are given the power to vote for their leaders. In Pakistan, despite being started as a democratic state, they have never attained full democracy. When the country was turned into an Islamic state, the state of becoming democratic changed. The country has become divided over the issue where a third believes in democracy, one third believes in Sheria law and the rest believe in dictatorship.

Period of Comparison

            In Pakistan, Islamism had started earlier but not until 1956 when the nation became an Islamic state. The country started as a democratic state but after a while activities of the country changed and it has never attained full democracy to date. All these years, Islam has been a dominant force in the politics of Pakistan. However, the way Islam has involved itself in the Pakistan politics is different. In the past, it employed a lot of militia but presently they have opened up for democracy in some regions. Therefore, the period of comparison is between 1956 until presently where the Islam ideologies in Politics are compared.


            In order to perform an extensive comparison of the Islam relation to politics in Pakistan from 1956 to present, primary and secondary sources are required. In this case, historical books indicating that have information about Islam in Pakistan will be used. These books will clearly indicate how Pakistan became an Islamic state, what role the Islamic religion has played in the politics of Pakistan. In addition, these books are going to provide evidence of how the involvement of Islam in politics has been changing from the past until present. Therefore, the best place to find these books is in the library.

The use of secondary sources will be helpful to analyze the Islamic relationship to politics in Pakistan in the current time. The secondary sources will include the scholarly articles that have been written by scholars. On the other hand, these scholarly articles will provide analyzed information of the roles of Muslims in Pakistan in the current time. In this case, it will be easier to evaluate the changes that have taken places in Islam involvement in politics from the past and present. For this reason, the library and the web will be a good place to locate the different scholarly articles for the work.

Literature Review

I. History of Pakistan

The book ‘A brief history in Pakistan’ indicates the political background of Pakistan. This books starts to show how Pakistan was from the time of independence (Wynbrandt, 2009). Additionally, the book shows how Islam led the struggle for independence leading to the country becoming an Islamic state. This book shows how Islam in the past was involved in politics. For instance, in the 1980s, Islam community in Pakistan supported Mujahideen groups in Afghanistan to perform terrorist activities (Wynbrandt, 2009). Additionally, this books shows how the different Islamic leaders had the perception of Islamic religion becoming involved in politics. For example, after Pakistan became an Islamic state, the leaders started becoming dictatorial especially those in the army like General Ayub. He used Islam to his advantage and formed a dictatorial government (Wynbrandt, 2009). Therefore, this book will be used to provide the historical background of the relationship between Islam and politics in Pakistan.

III. Democracy of Pakistan (Past and Present)

The study ‘Democracy in Pakistan’ is used to describe the rate of democracy in Pakistan from 1956 until now (Rizvi, 2003). According to the studies, Quaid-e-Azam planted the seed of democracy in Pakistan. The problem is that the seed of democracy has never blossomed. This is because after the demise of Quaid-e-Azam, the spirit of freedom died. The leaders who took over power from him were selfish thus; the nation never became fully democratized. As a result, the nation was taken over by Islamic militia leader Army Commander-in-Chief General Ayub Khan. This study shows how the Islam started to take control of politics in Pakistan. Additionally, it establishes how Islam has played a part in democracy from 1956 until present (Rizvi, 2003). In the past, there was a time when the country did not have democracy at all. This was in 1956 when the militia rule was being used. This militia groups were controlled by Islam. Therefore, they applied Sheria laws in Pakistan (Rizvi, 2003). Recently, the militia groups have allowed the democracy to take part in the politics of Pakistan. This study will be helpful in establishing how Islam has affected the democracy of Pakistan from 1956 until present.

III. Current Information on Pakistan

The other source to be used is a book ‘Military, State and Society in Pakistan’ that shows the arms of government in Pakistan (Rizvi, 2000). In each arm of the government, it plays a particular role in the government in the process of making policies that are going to govern the country (Rizvi, 2000). The book has clearly identified the arms of the government and their involvement with Islam (Rizvi, 2000). Additionally, the book shows how the different arms of the government are affect by Islam when they are making government policies. The book indicates how the Pakistan society perceives the involvement of Islam in the Pakistani politics (Rizvi, 2000). In this case, the book shows a clear relationship of the people, the arms of government and Islam.

After the bombing in America’s Twin Towers in September 11, the Pakistan government declared to support the United States government in the war against terrorism (Khan, 2005). The Pakistan government started to attack all terrorist groups in 1994 but it became clear in 2001 when they declared publicly to support the United States on war against terrorism (Khan, 2005). In this case, it is clear that the Islamic involvement in politics in the past is different from the current involvement of Islam in Pakistan politics.

The article ‘The Role of Islam in Pakistan’s Future’ indicates the current roles of Islam in the political landscape of Pakistan (Haqqani, 2005). According to the study, Islam cannot be separate from Pakistan politics due the roles that it plays in the country. Many of the laws have been borrowed from the Sheria law and are applicable in the Pakistan constitution. Additionally, the study shows how the involvement of Islam in Pakistan politics is affecting the external relationships of the country with the other countries (Haqqani, 2005). In this case, the study will be used to analyze the current roles played by Islam in Pakistan politics.

Theoretical Framework

According to the different articles, the information provided involves the present and the past of Islamic relationship in politics in Pakistan. In these articles, a clear historical background of the Islam relating itself to politics in the last decade since independence it has been provided. However, the studies have created a gap that need to be studied. The articles and the books have not indicated a comparison of the difference in time. It is because of this reason that the study will try to establish the relationship of Islam in politics from 1956 to present in Pakistan.

Secondly, the articles and the books have been keen to establish a relationship of how Islam is being used in politics of Pakistan. Additionally, the articles have indicated how the militia groups have tried to use democracy currently and in the past. The different articles and books do not indicated the reasons as to why the Islam involvement in politics has changed over the past few decades. Therefore, as the study is trying to compare the involvement of Islam into Pakistan politics, the study will also indicate the causes of these differences that have risen over the past few decades.


            Religion has become a common figure in many countries political landscape. Many people are comparing their political ideologies with the use of religious laws. One of the religions that has become a driving force in many countries political driving force is Islam. Many countries like Pakistan have been declared Islamic states. To show the relationship of Islam and politics in Pakistan, a comparison of the past and the present politic scenery and Islamic situation in Pakistan is necessary. This is because it will establish how Islamic involvement in politics in the past was and how the government of Pakistan perceived the religion. Secondly, it shows how Islam affects politics of the government both in the past and in the present of Pakistan politics. Henceforth, this study evaluates the overall relationship or involvement of Islam in politics.



Haqqani, H. (2005). The Role of Islam in Pakistan’s Future. The Washington Post Journal. 2 (33).

Khan, A. U. (2005). The Terrrist Threat and the Policy Response in Pakistan. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. (11)

Rizvi, H. A. (2003). Democracy in Pakistan. Lokniti Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. Delhi.

Rizvi, H. A., (2000). Military, State and Society in Pakistan. London, UK: Macmillan.

Wynbrandt, J. (2009). A Brief History of Pakistan. New York, NY: Infobase Publishers.

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