International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

Zia-Ul-Haque and the Proliferation of Religion in Pakistan
Jamal Shah

Though Pakistan is the result of an Islamic movement in undivided India, Islam was never institutionalized politically and militarily till Zia took power on July 5th 1977 as a result of coup d’état. His regime was in need of legitimacy which was facilitated by the Afghanistan war (1979). Pakistan was directly facing political, economic and strategic consequences of the Afghan crisis. Politically, it was facing immense pressure from the former Soviet Union for providing help to the refugees and mujahideen. Strategically, it was facing direct Soviet Union military threat, often resulting in its space violation by the Russian planes and helicopters. Economically, it was bearing the burden of 4.2 million Afghan refugees. Religiously, it has induced Islamic extremism and sectarianism in Pakistan. The events of 1979 provided an opportunity to Zia to initiate a process of Islamisation mainly for two reasons; firstly to stabilize and legitimize his regime and secondly to acquire international acceptance. The study intends to show the efforts Zia-ul-Haque (1977-88) made to institutionalize and proliferate Islam in Pakistani society and to answer the question “were his efforts religiously sincere or politically motivated?”

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