A host of affiliated semiautonomous institutions stand outside the Jama‘at’s official organization, but greatly extend the party’s reach and power. Despite their outwardly autonomous character, there is little doubt that the Jama‘at, to varying degrees, controls them. Although at first this was done for the sake of efficiency, in the end political considerations also played their part in the decision to relegate authority.
No sooner had the country of Pakistan been established than the Jama‘at was declared a pariah by its government, which also forbade its civil service—a primary target of the Jama‘at’s propaganda—to have any contact with them. The Jama‘at was compelled to set up institutions sufficiently distant to do its bidding without the fear of government retribution. During Ayub Khan’s regime the Jama‘at’s problems with the government were compounded when the party and everything associated with it were banned. The Jama‘at found it prudent to divest itself of some subsidiary organizations to guarantee their survival. One result was the establishment of Islamic Publications in Lahore in 1963, which has subsequently become the Jama‘at’s chief publisher in Pakistan. The Jama‘at had become so dependent on its publications as a source of revenue and as a means of expanding its power that the suppression of its publications during the early years of the Ayub Khan proved devastating. The new arrangement legally protected it from future government clampdowns on the party, thereby protecting its source of income and propaganda. Additional affiliate bodies were created in the 1970s to both protect and expand the party’s base of support.
The affiliate organizations fall into two categories: the first deal with propaganda and publications, and the second with political activities. Aside from Islamic Publications, there are other important affiliate bodies engaged in propaganda. The first of these is the Islamic Research Academy of Karachi, established in 1963 to counter the efforts of the Institute of Islamic Research, created in 1961 by Ayub Khan to propagate the regime’s modernist view of Islam. Shortly thereafter, the academy was directed to disseminate the Jama‘at’s views among the civil service. In the 1980s this task was mainly delegated to the Institute of Policy Studies of Islamabad, created, thanks to the pliant attitude of the Zia regime to Islamic activism, to serve as a “think tank” for Jama‘at’s policy makers. The Institute of Regional Studies of Peshawar and Institute of Educational Research (Idarah-i Ta‘lim’u Tahqiq) of Lahore also function in the same capacity, and outside Pakistan, the Islamic Foundation in Leicester, England, and the Islamic Foundation in Nairobi, Kenya, operate along similar lines. These institutions have done much to propagate the Jama‘at’s views and have contributed to the increasing influence of Islam across the Muslim world in general and in the social and political life of Pakistanis in particular.
Also important in this category of affiliate bodies are magazines which are not officially associated with the Jama‘at but are close to its ideological and political position. The most important of these are Chatan,Haftrozah Zindagi,Takbir,Qaumi Digest, and Urdu Digest. The Urdu Digest, first published in 1962, has extended the Jama‘at’s influence into the Pakistan armed forces, where it enjoys a certain popularity. All these publications print both social and political commentary and news analysis from Jama‘at’s perspective. The contribution of these ostensibly independent institutions to the dissemination of the Jama‘at’s views among the civil service, the military, and the political establishment has been substantial.
Affiliate institutions dealing with political matters are of even greater importance to the Jama‘at. For the most part they are unions which act both to propagate the Jama‘at’s views among specific social groups and to consolidate the Jama‘at’s power through union activity, especially among the new social groups that have been born of industrial change in Pakistan. Some of these unions, such as the Jama‘at’s semiautonomous student union, Islami Jami‘at-i Tulabah, were formed to proselytize but have since become effective politically as well. Others were launched in the late 1960s to combat the influence of leftist unions, and still others to expand the popular base of the Jama‘at following its defeat at the polls in December 1970. The most notable of these are the Pakistan Unions Forum, Pakistan Medical Association, Muslim Lawyers Federation, Pakistan Teachers Organization, Merchant’s Organization, National Labor Federation, Peasants’ Board, Pasban (Protector) Organization, Jami‘at-i Tulabah-i ‘Arabiyah (Society of Students of Arabic, which focuses on seminary students), and Islami Jami‘at Talibat (Islamic Society of Female Students).
Union membership runs the gamut of professions and classes in Pakistan from farmers and peasants to the educated middle class. The most important are the peasant, labor, and student unions. The Peasants’ Board was formed in 1976 to promote the Jama‘at’s views in the countryside and create a new voter pool for the Jama‘at to make up for the loss of voters in the elections of 1970. It was also part of the Jama‘at’s anti–People’s Party campaign, since it was meant to curtail the influence of the leftist peasants’ union, the Planters’ Association (Anjuman-i Kashtkaran) and to capitalize on opposition to Bhutto’s nationalization of agriculture in 1976. This dual objective informs the working of all Jama‘at unions. The Peasants’ Board has sought to lure the agricultural sector to the Jama‘at’s cause by remedying agricultural problems, but has thus far concerned itself only with the needs of small rural landowners and not the grievances of the more numerous landless laborers and peasants.
The National Labor Federation began its work in the 1950s but did not become prominent until the 1960s and the 1970s. It has the same objectives as the Peasants’ Board. The National Labor Federation and its subsidiary propaganda wing, the Toilers Movement (Tahrik-i Mihnat), were effective in countering some of the influence of the left among Pakistani laborers. In the late 1970s, with the weakening of the Bhutto government and rifts between the People’s Party and leftist forces, the National Labor Federation won important union elections at the Pakistan International Airlines, the shipyards, and Pakistan Railways and in the steel industry, causing consternation in Zia’s government. Soon after assuming power, Zia decided to ban all union activities, and the ban remained until 1988. Despite the National Labor Federation’s gains, the Jama‘at still has not learned to utilize its power base among the labor force effectively, because it is reluctant to engage in populist politics. Qazi Husain has promised his party to change that.
The National Labor Federation has served as a model and base for the expansion of the Jama‘at’s labor union activity. Since 1979 the party has formed white-collar unions among government clerical staff, which despite their small size have increased the Jama‘at’s control over the provincial and national civil service. For instance, in 1989 the clerical union at the University of Punjab was controlled by the Jama‘at, which allowed it to enforce a code of conduct, control curriculum and academic staff, and otherwise influence its running.