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The Secular State, 1958–1971
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7. The Secular State, 1958–1971

The coup engineered by generals Iskandar Mirza and Muhammad Ayub Khan was a blow to the cause of Islamic constitutionalism and the Jama‘at-i Islami’s plans for the national elections. Its members were convinced that the generals had staged the coup to destroy the Islamic constitution of 1956, and eliminate the possibility of an electoral victory by Islamic parties. The military’s intentions were especially suspect as it lost no time in preparing a new constitution, setting up a committee for that purpose in December 1958. The Jama‘at’s performance in the Karachi municipal elections—winning eighteen of twenty-three contested seats—must have caused consternation among the supporters of secularism.[1] The coup, Mawdudi argued, was staged specifically to stop the Jama‘at and its allies from getting any closer to power. If General Mirza’s own memoirs are any indication, the Jama‘at’s conclusions were not that far off the mark:

On 8th January 1956, the draft of the proposed constitution was published. I was very doubtful about two of its features. I was opposed to inserting Islamic provisions into the machinery of government. We have seen how Liaqat Ali Khan’s “Objectives Resolution” gave a handle to the Ulama, and allowed them to go and almost destroy Pakistan in 1953. But the Muslim League never learnt anything from past experience. Despite my repeated warnings, Muhammad Ali deliberately created an “Islamic Republic” for Pakistan, giving the Ulama another invitation to interfere. Maulana Maudoodi and his party were given a heaven-sent opportunity to mess up the state.[2]

Iskandar Mirza singled out the Jama‘at, although in the preceding three years the biggest challenge to his authority had come from Suhrawardi, and the most formidable problems before the polity had been the feud between the Muslim League and the neophyte Republican party, the debate over consolidating West Pakistan provinces into a single unit, and the worsening economic situation. Iskandar Mirza also took seriously the possibility that either Noon or Suhrawardi would take control of the legislature and thereby challenge him for the presidency, a fact which may also explain why he delayed the general elections.[3] In justifying his preoccupation with the Jama‘at despite the more formidable challenges to his authority, General Mirza said the politicians were able neither to withstand the temptation of “flirting with the mullahs” nor to avert or contain the political crisis that resulted.[4] The progress of the country depended on purging Islam from the political process; secularism could be guaranteed only through martial rule.[5] The coup had been staged not only to arrest the decline of the country’s political institutions and to resolve the crisis of governability, but also to foil the “insidious” plans of the Islamic parties—the Jama‘at in particular—to manipulate the political process.[6]

The generals had done away with the fruits of a decade of Islamic activism and, at least according to the Jama‘at, had stolen the elections from them.[7] The party’s hostility toward General Mirza and, after his dismissal and exile later in 1958, toward General Ayub Khan is not surprising. Only the restoration of the constitution and the democratic order could bring the party to power. The alliance between secularism and martial rule reinforced the party’s commitment to Islamic constitutionalism, which would be the means for restoring the Jama‘at’s political fortunes.

The new secular composition of Pakistani politics led some in the Jama‘at to favor returning to the isolation and moral high ground of the holy community, but others, Mawdudi among them, believed that the Jama‘at could best fight the government by remaining in the fray as a political party, and over time this latter view gained the upper hand. As the generals sought to depoliticize the political process, the Jama‘at became more and more politicized but did not radicalize, a development which stands in clear contrast to revivalist movements in Pahlavi Iran and Nasser’s Egypt. The Jama‘at confronted a political and administrative establishment less willing to yield to pressure and more willing to exert it. The opposition also labored under the disadvantage that martial law at this stage enjoyed a certain popularity. The coup had brought a modicum of stability to a fractious polity. The new regime’s anticorruption, price-control, and economic readjustment policies, although not popular with business, were certainly welcomed by many Pakistanis, who had grown weary of food shortages and financial crises.[8] As a result, opposition to the new regime at first had little effect. Given the mood of the country at the time, even arguments for a constitution failed to rally the masses. The party was therefore compelled to look for another political program.

The Jama‘at’s problems were compounded by the changes in national politics which followed the coup. The generals instituted a new political system that sidelined the politicians, the power brokers who had the greatest need to appeal to religious symbols and slogans. They replaced them with the most anglicized, and hence least religiously inclined, Pakistani leadership from among the civil service and the military.[9] By suspending the democratic process, the coup immunized the power structure against political activism of any sort. The architects of the coup then set about changing the focus of the constitutional debates from “why Pakistan was created” to “where Pakistan is heading,” that is, from ideological to developmental concerns. The Bureau of National Reconstruction, established in January 1959 and directed by a military man, was charged with the task of devising a new outlook that would be both a secularizing and unifying force.[10] This agenda was supported by the national press[11] and had the blessings of the leftists, who could expect to benefit from the cleansing of Pakistani politics of its Islamic elements so the national political discourse could focus on socioeconomic concerns.[12]

This shift away from the symbiosis between Islam and Pakistan stretched the ties that bound the Jama‘at to the state to the point of rupture, but somehow the party remained within bounds. Faced with government hostility and the secularization of politics during the Ayub era, the Jama‘at resisted the temptation to withdraw from the political process. Mawdudi wanted above all to avoid the fate of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood under Nasser and to that end steered the Jama‘at clear of radical solutions to the challenges posed by the Ayub regime.[13] This was an arduous task which tested the limits of Mawdudi’s hold over the Jama‘at. “We put up with Ayub,” Mawdudi wrote, “with the patience of Ayub [Job].”[14]

The Jama‘at’s restraint during this period is all the more amazing when one realizes how radical Pakistani politics became during the 1958–1969 period. Modernization and industrialization, combined with the secularization of society in those years, divided Pakistani society into a secular and Westernized ruling class and the mass of people living according to time-honored Indo-Islamic traditions. Each adhered to its own cultural, social, and political outlook, which resulted in alienation between the rulers and the masses. Had the regime remained in power, such a cleavage could have eventually culminated in revolution and the collapse of the social order. To this extent the Jama‘at was more sensitive to the changes in the structure of Pakistani society than the government and did more to avert the polarization of the country.

Throughout the Ayub era, the Jama‘at continued to campaign for Islamic constitutionalism, with its mixture of Islam and democracy. At times Islam was even thoroughly overshadowed by democracy. This simultaneous appeal to tradition and modernity proved to be a way to bridge the widening political and cultural gap between the traditional and the modern and helped preserve the Pakistani state when the policies of the ruling establishment were pushing it increasingly to the brink of crisis.

Efforts to Eliminate the Jama‘at, 1958–1965

No sooner had martial law been declared than the new regime began to squeeze the Islamic parties out, both to eliminate religion from politics and to justify suspending the 1956 constitution. But given the nature of the Pakistan state and the complexities of Islam’s relation to it, such a radical measure proved not to be viable. The government turned to less drastic measures. It toned down its secular rhetoric, and pursued its agenda under the guise of religious modernism, hoping to negotiate a new role in society for Islam. Islam, it was apparent to the new regime, could not immediately be sidelined but it could be reformed, modernized, depoliticized, and eventually eased out of politics. In a surprise move, on May 3, 1959, Ayub Khan addressed a gathering of the ulama from both East and West Pakistan. He devoted his speech to exhorting the divines to do away with obscurantism and interpret religion in ways that were more relevant to the country’s developmental agenda and that would fight communism.[15]

The general’s speech set the tone for subsequent relations between the military regime and the Islamic groups. Thenceforth, the government sought to take the monopoly of interpreting Islam away from Islamic parties to control the nature and scope of religion’s interaction with society and politics. The national concern for “Islamicity” in literary and political circles quickly gave way to lip service to the “principles of Islam,” a change that in effect undermined the religiopolitical platform of parties such as the Jama‘at. The government sought to limit the scope of their activities and demands, exclude them from the political process, and subject them to state control. To accomplish this, Ayub Khan turned to state-sponsored institutions that could appropriate the right to interpret Islam and control its flow into politics.

This job was given to two ministries, interior and education, and information and broadcasting. Together they launched a propaganda campaign questioning the loyalty to Pakistan of the self-styled spokesmen of Islam, their knowledge of modern statecraft, and even their moral and ethical standing. Under the provisions of the Waqf (endowment) Properties Ordinance of 1959, religious endowments were nationalized, and the government took over the management of shrines and mosques. Then it formulated its own conception of Islam, and its own religiopolitical platform, thereby entering the domain of the ulama with the goal of appropriating for the state the right to interpret Islam and implement its teachings. The government’s synthesis was essentially modernist, premised on reforming Islamic law and interpreting its tenets liberally in light of the needs of the government’s developmental objectives. Qazi Shahabu’ddin, the minister of education, information, and broadcasting, was particularly vocal in furthering the government’s cause, and his pronouncements on a host of religious issues soon incensed the ulama.

The actual task of devising a new vision of Islam was delegated to the Institute of Islamic Culture (Idarah-i Thiqafat-i Islam) of Lahore, headed by Khalifah ‘Abdu’l-Hakim (d. 1959), and, more significantly, to the Islamic Research Institute of Karachi, headed by Fazlur Rahman (d. 1988), a confidant of Ayub Khan. The two institutions outlined the government’s strategy against the ulama and Islamic parties, providing an intellectual rationale for the essentially political campaign against the religious forces. The polarity between traditionalists and innovators (ahl-i sunnat and ahl-i bid‘at), identified by Mawdudi in earlier times, had now taken shape in earnest. However, while the government’s attempts to appropriate Islamic symbols in politics undermined the Islamic parties, it also attested to the government’s inability to do away with religion altogether. Secularism had to be presented with a veneer of Islamization. Using this wedge, the Islamic parties soon regained their momentum and were able to find new links between religion and politics which provided them with additional strategies by which to gain entry into the political process.

The campaign against the ulama and the Islamic parties unraveled when the secular opposition found common grounds for cooperation with the Islamic parties. In December 1959, Ayub Khan introduced his Basic Democracy scheme, a system of political representation based on voter councils at various levels which officially did away with parties and ended political pluralism in Pakistan. Two months later he was elected president of Pakistan with the vote of the “basic democrats.” Soon thereafter he commissioned the chief justice of the supreme court Muhammad Shahabu’ddin to look into the causes of the “failure” of the 1956 constitution with a view to preparing a new one. The Jama‘at, aware that Islam would most likely be singled out as a negative influence to be excluded from constitution making, began to mobilize the dormant religious coalition. A meeting of ulama and Jama‘at leaders was convened in May 1960 in Lahore to present a set of proposals for future constitutional debates and to demand the abrogation of the marriage of convenience between “bureaucracy and autocracy” that Basic Democracy represented. They enjoined the government to hold national elections open to all. The government reacted by summoning Mawdudi to appear before the authorities in Lahore, where he was chastised for violating martial law regulations that prohibited political activities.[16] By and large, however, the government took little notice of this effort to revive the religious alliance and continued with its reform measures.

The government’s team of religious reformers drew up plans for a new family law, which was introduced as the Family Laws Ordinance of March 1961.[17] It was the first in a series of legal and social reform measures designed to hasten Pakistan’s development. The ordinance and the “fundamental changes” in Islamic laws governing marriage, divorce, and inheritance laws which it entailed suggested that government policy was no longer solely directed at limiting the influence of Islamic parties but was also beginning to encroach on the ulama’s domain. The Jama‘at took the lead in organizing street demonstrations and publishing pamphlets to inform the public of the government’s transgression.[18] The government, unwilling to compromise, set out to silence the opposition. Mian Tufayl Muhammad, who had published the fatwas of fourteen eminent ulama denouncing the ordinance, along with a number of Jama‘at workers, was put in prison.[19] For the Islamic parties, ending the government’s effort to loosen the hold of the ulama over the life and thought of Pakistanis was a question of survival. The lines of battle were drawn, and the ordinance served as the first test.

The draft constitution was introduced on March 1, 1962. It made some references to Islam: it was to be the official religion of Pakistan, and the “repugnancy clause” and other Islamic provisions of the 1956 constitution were kept intact. Their implementation, however, was no longer mandatory and was to be overseen by the Advisory Council of Islamic Ideology, which was to be controlled by the president. The constitution substituted specific references to the Qur’an and religious traditions (sunnah) with the word “Islam,” which made the sources of Islamic law much vaguer. Most procedural matters were also reformed to discourage the intrusion of religious forces into the constitutional process. To underscore the intent of the constitution, “Islamic” was dropped from the nation’s official name, which became merely “Republic of Pakistan.”

The new constitution represented a blow to the party’s fundamental interests; it was certainly a setback for the cause of Islam in Pakistan, one which, if allowed to stand, would be the end of the Jama‘at. In a decision that reflected its determination to survive, the Jama‘at decided not to respond until June when the new legislature was to meet and martial law to be lifted.[20]

After the Political Parties Act of July 17, 1962, the Jama‘at began to act. In August the shura’ prepared a resolution which called for the restoration of democracy and denounced both the new constitution and the Basic Democracy system. Thenceforth, Mawdudi systematically fused democracy and Islam in its campaign against the Ayub regime. Convinced that democracy alone could safeguard the interests of Islam before Ayub’s autocratic secularization policies, the party harped on the theme throughout Ayub Khan’s term of office. It was a curious feature of the Ayub Khan era that religious modernism went hand in hand with martial rule, while the fortunes of revivalism became intertwined with those of democracy.

The challenge of the authoritarian government and its determination to inculcate a modernist interpretation of Islam in Pakistan were too important to be tackled by the religious alliance alone. In October 1962, through the intermediary of Chaudhri Muhammad ‘Ali, the Jama‘at began negotiating with the secular political opposition to Ayub Khan, then led by Suhrawardi under the umbrella of the National Democratic Front. The rank and file of the Jama‘at did not approve of associating with this proponent of joint electorates, a man whom the Jama‘at had once attacked with the same fervor that it now used to challenge Ayub Khan.[21] The Jama‘at, however, had few other choices, and in the first of a series of rulings, Mawdudi argued that the dangers posed to Islam by Ayub Khan warranted compromise. The Jama‘at had to act as a party, making compromises that would not have been possible for a holy community.

After martial law was lifted, the Jama‘at intensified its activism. Initially a minor irritant, the party quickly became a thorn in the side of the government. Mawdudi pressed the government to amend the new constitution to add “Islamic” to Pakistan’s official name, demanded greater guarantees for fundamental individual rights, and excoriated the government’s overtly pro-Western foreign policy.[22] More disturbing to the government was that the Jama‘at emerged from the martial law period intact and, by 1962, was the most organized and robust of the Pakistani political parties. Generally concerned with controlling political activism in Pakistan, the government became particularly sensitive to the Jama‘at’s politics and began to look for a solution.

The government commissioned the Ministry of Information to conduct a study of the Jama‘at and to propose a course of action for containing its activities. A report presented to the cabinet in 1961–1962 argued that the Jama‘at was essentially a seditious and invidious force with the potential to become “yet another Muslim Brotherhood,”[23] and recommended measures similar to those taken by Nasser against the brotherhood in Egypt. The cabinet did not endorse this line of action, partly because although the report focused on the Jama‘at it had been vague in distinguishing between it and other Islamic parties the government was not willing to attack. The solution was also too drastic for the government to take seriously. Some in Ayub Khan’s coterie of advisers, such as Hakim Muhammad Sa‘id (the minister of health), Allahbakhsh K. Brohi (the minister of law), and Afzal Chimah (the speaker of the legislature), who were also religiously inclined, began to defend the Jama‘at.[24] Chimah advised Ayub Khan to mollify, and thereby co-opt, the party, a plan Ayub Khan favored. During a trip to Lahore in 1962 he invited Mawdudi to the governor’s mansion and suggested that he leave politics to the politicians and dedicate himself to religious studies instead. For encouragement he offered Mawdudi the post of vice-chancellor of the Bhawalpur Islamic University. In no mood to be appeased, Mawdudi rejected both the offer and the counsel, but he continued to keep the Jama‘at’s radical tendencies in check. When, soon after this meeting, he was pressed by his followers to take more militant measures, in a tone reminiscent of medieval Islamic political thinking, Mawdudi declared that he had no intention of creating “a chaotic situation in which forces inimical to the interests of Islam find an opportunity to capture power.”[25]

After their meeting, Ayub Khan kept a close watch on the Jama‘at. By 1963 it had become apparent that Suhrawardi’s national coalition had broken down, providing the government with an opportunity to finish off the opposition by attacking, one by one, the constituent parties of the National Democratic Front. The Jama‘at topped the government’s list of targets, especially so after September 1963, when in a defiant mood, Mawdudi had announced that “even if Convention Muslim League [Ayub Khan’s party] nominated an angel [in the future elections], the Jama‘at would oppose him.”[26]

When the Jama‘at submitted a request to hold an open meeting in Lahore in October 1963, the government first stalled, then refused them a permit to use loudspeakers. The Jama‘at petitioned the Lahore High Court for a ruling, but to no avail. The party held its meeting without loudspeakers. Halfway through the opening session, Mawdudi’s speech was interrupted by hecklers; then a gun was aimed at Mawdudi, and during the ensuing commotion, a Jama‘at worker was shot dead.[27] The Jama‘at criticized these tactics as undemocratic, but the campaign had only begun. Habibu’llah Khan, the minister of the interior, followed the Lahore clash with a highly publicized literary campaign against the Jama‘at, which within a year produced some seventy-two books and pamphlets against the party and its ideas.[28] The government now seriously contemplated liquidating the Jama‘at and looked for the appropriate excuse.

Earlier in 1963, during a trip to Mecca, Mawdudi had met with Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhu’llah Khumayni.[29] Soon thereafter Khalil Ahmadu’l-Hamidi, the director of the Arabic Translation Bureau, wrote an article in Tarjumanu’l-Qur’an in which he severely criticized the Shah of Iran’s regime and its secularizing policies.[30] The Iranian consulate in Karachi complained, and the government accused the Jama‘at of sabotaging Pakistan’s foreign policy and closed down Tarjumanu’l-Qur’an. In January 1964, backed by a lengthy charge-sheet which accused the Jama‘at of anti-Pakistan activities, the government halted the party’s operations. Mawdudi, Mian Tufayl, the entire shura’, and forty-four other members were arrested and put in jail.[31]

The Jama‘at challenged the government’s action before the provincial high courts of East and West Pakistan. It won its case in the East Pakistan High Court and lost in the West Pakistan High Court. The government appealed the first ruling, and the Jama‘at the second. The cases went before the Supreme Court, which declared the banning of the Jama‘at to have been illegal and ordered the party restored. Mawdudi and other Jama‘at leaders were freed from prison in October. The relations between the Jama‘at and the government were now visibly deteriorating.

While the Jama‘at’s leaders were incarcerated, Pakistan was gearing up for a presidential election, scheduled for January 1, 1965. The opposition parties, including the Jama‘at, had formed the Combined Opposition Parties, an electoral coalition which was led by such Muslim League leaders as Chaudhri Muhammad ‘Ali and Daultana. Once again the Jama‘at saw itself in an alliance of convenience with an erstwhile enemy, and this time the Jama‘at’s politically motivated compromises went even farther. In Mawdudi’s absence, the coalition’s leaders had agreed that Fatimah Jinnah—Muhammad ‘Ali Jinnah’s sister and a popular Muhajir leader—would be the opposition’s presidential candidate.[32] Chaudhri Muhammad ‘Ali was sent by the coalition to secure Mawdudi’s agreement to this unpalatable choice.[33] Muhammad ‘Ali met with Mawdudi in prison, and by playing on his increasing apprehension over the course the Ayub regime was taking, convinced Mawdudi of the urgency of the situation and the necessity of giving Fatimah Jinnah unwavering support. Mawdudi acceded to the coalition’s demand, partly because Jinnah was popular among Muhajirs, who then constituted the Jama‘at’s base of support. The decision opened Mawdudi to a barrage of criticism and provided the government with the opportunity to divide the Islamic parties and embarrass and paralyze the Jama‘at. The government appealed to conservative ulama for support in defeating a woman’s bid to rule Pakistan and received it; in the process it weakened both the Jama‘at and the Combined Opposition Parties. Numerous religious decrees were issued by the government’s newfound allies among the ulama, denouncing Mawdudi and his religiously dubious justification for supporting a woman’s candidacy.

The controversy was then used by the government to engineer a split in the ranks of the party by instigating Kawthar Niyazi to challenge Mawdudi’s authority in the party.[34] In this the government failed. Mawdudi retained control over the Jama‘at and undaunted by the fatwa campaign pushed the Jama‘at to the forefront of the opposition coalition’s campaign. Mawdudi himself toured Pakistan, denouncing Ayub Khan for his dictatorship and secularism, and demanded a restoration of democracy as the first step toward the establishment of the Islamic state. In his zeal to dethrone Ayub Khan, Mawdudi increasingly appealed to democracy and less to Islam. He reorganized the Jama‘at to match the government’s campaign operations. Despite his efforts and the hopes and aspirations of the Combined Opposition Parties, however, Miss Jinnah failed to unseat Ayub Khan, a defeat that was particularly ominous for the Jama‘at. Victory in the presidential elections gave Ayub Khan confidence and bestowed some legitimacy on his government, and with them the opportunity to hound the Jama‘at more effectively. That party, which following the elections had braced itself for renewed government pressure, was spared by the reemergence of problems in Kashmir and the resumption of war with India.

The End of Ayub Khan’s Rule

Throughout the presidential campaign, Ayub Khan and his foreign minister Zulfiqar ‘Ali Bhutto had sought to divert attention from democracy and Islamicity by rekindling passions over Pakistan’s irredentist claims to Kashmir. Having whipped up passions over Kashmir to generate demands for action, the general then led Pakistan down the path to war. Eager to consolidate his hold over the country, soon after the presidential election Ayub Khan decided to resolve the Kashmir issue once and for all and in the process redeem Pakistan’s strategic and national interests in the region. The subsequent escalation of conflict in Kashmir led to a costly war between Pakistan and India in September 1965.

War put a hold on the conflict between the government and the opposition parties. On September 6, 1965, Ayub Khan invited Mawdudi along with opposition leaders Chaudhri Muhammad ‘Ali, Chaudhri Ghulam ‘Abbas, and Nawwabzadah Nasru’llah Khan to a meeting in Islamabad, where they preached to him about his duties and obligations, none more than Mawdudi. Eager to secure their cooperation, and especially to get the Jama‘at’s blessing, the general chose to regard the meeting as a boost for his regime. A photograph of Ayub Khan talking with Mawdudi while surrounded by the other opposition leaders adorned the front page of Pakistani newspapers the following day.

Anxious to assist the state in this moment of crisis and to erase the memory of his stand on the jihad in Kashmir in 1948, Mawdudi declared a jihad to liberate Kashmir from India.[35] He was again invited to meet with Ayub Khan in September, this time alone, where he lectured the president on the virtues of the Islamic state. Ayub Khan talked Mawdudi into publicizing his declaration of jihad, this time on Radio Pakistan,[36] a clear indication of the Jama‘at’s importance and the government’s need to appeal to Islam to bolster its rule, the very notion which for seven years it had diligently worked to erase from the political scene.

Mawdudi was pleased with the government’s overtures and basked in his newfound status as senior statesman. Ayub Khan’s attentions had not only given him political prominence but had also attested to the continued salience of Islam, and hence the Jama‘at, in the political life of Pakistan. After the cease-fire between India and Pakistan was declared on September 23, 1965, Mawdudi again appeared on Radio Pakistan, this time to speak on jihad in peacetime.[37] The Jama‘at meanwhile focused its attention on relief work in the war-ravaged areas of Punjab[38] and pushed the government to agree to the cease-fire if it led to a plebiscite in Kashmir over the future of that territory.[39]

The Jama‘at did not intend to become religious window dressing for the government, nor to be restricted to religious affairs. Mawdudi used the thaw in the Jama‘at’s relations with the government to underscore his belief that the fate of Pakistan as a state was meshed with the Muslim reality of the country. He called upon the government to move toward the greater Islamization of Pakistan to strengthen the state and to realign Pakistan’s foreign policy by bringing the country closer to the rest of the Muslim world.[40] Mawdudi’s argument was not welcomed by the government, which, with the war at an end, no longer felt the need to placate its opposition. Moreover, the government saw Mawdudi’s proclamations as a criticism of its seven-year rule and as unsolicited interference with its management of the affairs of the country. Just as in the 1950s, the political benefits of Islamic symbols for the government were matched by their costs. Islam bolstered the stability of the state and legitimated the government’s rule, but it also sanctioned greater religious activism and led to the interference of Islamic parties in political matters, all of which bore consequences that the government, short of using force, was unable to control.

The Tashkent agreement of January 1966, which marked the cessation of hostilities, proved to be unpopular. It fell far short of the expectations of the Muhajir community and the Punjabis, who had borne the brunt of the Indian offensive and wanted a favorable resolution to the dispute over Kashmir. Discontent first manifested itself in student demonstrations in Lahore[41] and soon extended beyond the Tashkent agreement to encompass a whole gamut of complaints. The country became the scene of large-scale leftist agitation which manifested pent-up socioeconomic frustrations. The Jama‘at was taken unawares and for the first time began to view socialism with greater alarm than the secular modernism of the regime.[42] On January 16, Mawdudi, who hoped to become the opposition leader, convened a meeting of the opposition at his house in Lahore, where he criticized the Tashkent agreement for sidestepping the future of Kashmir and for its tacit acceptance of a “no-war” arrangement with India.[43]

Despite their opposition to the government, it soon became apparent that Mawdudi and his supporters would be unable to successfully ride the tide of discontent. They, too, narrowly looked at Pakistani politics solely as a struggle for Islam and democracy and were oblivious to the significance of the socioeconomic changes that Pakistan had undergone in the meantime. Although the Jama‘at’s position supported the interests of the Muhajirs who were opposed to Ayub Khan, Bhutto and the Awami League, and favored Islamization, it failed to note the extent to which socioeconomic imperatives were propelling the mounting antigovernment agitations, regarding them instead as resulting from frustrations over Kashmir or Indian intrigues supported by atheists and unpatriotic Pakistanis. The realization of the depth and breadth of socioeconomic discontent which led Zulfiqar ‘Ali Bhutto to leave the cabinet and form the Pakistan People’s Party completely eluded the Combined Opposition Parties, still cast in the mold of the early 1960s and free of populism. In addition, emphasizing the role of Islam in Pakistan had committed the party to the unity of the state, therefore making it unsympathetic to ethnic and linguistic sentiments, which were now ineluctably predicated upon socioeconomic cleavages. The Awami League, and especially its left wing, led by Mawlana ‘Abdu’l-Hamid Khan Bhashani, was a bulwark of leftist agitation. Mawdudi was opposed to the left. That Shaikh Mujibu’l-Rahman, the leader of the Awami League, and Bhashani were behind the agitations was enough to prompt him to reaction. In the February gathering of the opposition parties, Mawdudi criticized the left and engaged Mujib in a bitter altercation over the Awami League’s controversial six-point plan for provincial autonomy.[44] This altercation also marked a major turning point in the Jama‘at’s ideological unfolding. Mawdudi’s discourse ceased to be preoccupied with the West, but became anchored in defense of Islam against socialism and communism. Many projects were abandoned to focus the party’s energies on preparing literature which could stem the rising tide of socialism in Pakistan.[45]

The Awami League’s politics were also interfering with the Jama‘at’s designs. Having gained prominence in the Combined Opposition Parties, the Jama‘at now had a vested interest in an orderly transfer of power from Ayub Khan to the opposition coalition, which Mawdudi hoped to lead. Opposition to the left combined with political self-interest blinded the Jama‘at to the grievances that underlay leftist agitation. Mawdudi kept the Jama‘at in the coalition and continued to demand Islam and democracy, while fighting to cleanse Pakistani politics of the menace of the left. The Jama‘at was particularly disturbed by the growing popularity of Maoism in Punjab, the fruit of China’s assistance to Pakistan during the war, as well as by Bhutto’s populism and “Islamic socialism.”

Confrontations were still largely restricted to polemical exchanges, however. In 1967, Muhammad Safdar Mir published a series of articles in the Pakistan Times criticizing Mawdudi for supporting capitalism and feudalism.[46] The articles soon generated a debate between the Jama‘at and the left, serving as a prelude to the more open hostilities that were soon to break out in Punjab, Sind, and East Pakistan.

In the meantime, relations between the government and the Jama‘at also continued to strain. Ayub Khan, as perturbed as he was with leftist agitations, proved to be equally impatient with the opposition coalition’s campaign, and especially with the Jama‘at’s activities. The main issue was, once again, the government’s intrusions into the jealously guarded domain of the ulama and the Islamic groups. In May 1966, Fazlur Rahman, director of Islamic Research Institute, declared that religious tax (zakat) rates should be increased to add to the state’s financial resources, and usury (riba’) should not be equated with interest but with the real rate of interest only, permitting the normal functioning of banks. The Jama‘at severely criticized the government’s “misguided tampering with Islam.”[47] Fazlur Rahman reciprocated by advising Ayub Khan that Mawdudi’s religiously controversial book, Khilafat’u Mulukiyat (Caliphate and Monarchy), published in June 1966, was a direct attack on his government.[48] The dispute culminated in another showdown between the government and the Jama‘at in January 1967, when Mawdudi and a number of ulama rejected the “scientifically” determined observation of the moon by the government—which is traditionally observed by the ulama to mark the end of the holy month of Ramazan.[49] The religious divines had again rebelled against the government’s attempt to interfere in their affairs and were once more jailed. Mawdudi remained in prison from January 29 until March 15, 1967, when the High Court of West Pakistan rejected the legality of the invocation of the Defense of Pakistan Rules under the provisions of which he had been jailed. The controversy, however, came to an end only when Ayub Khan agreed to dismiss Fazlur Rahman in September 1968.[50]

The Jama‘at attempted to use the entire episode to reinvigorate its campaign for an Islamic constitution, but to no avail. For while the Jama‘at had been deadlocked with the government over Fazlur Rahman, the Awami League had unabashedly escalated its agitations, further radicalizing Pakistani politics. Mawdudi had sought to diffuse the situation to the Jama‘at’s advantage by challenging Bhashani and Mujib in his speeches, demanding changes in the constitution of 1962, restoration of democracy, and redress for the political grievances of the East Pakistanis. The focus of the Jama‘at’s activism, however, had been shifting to street clashes with the Awami League in East Pakistan and with leftist groups in West Pakistan.

The main force behind this campaign was the Islami Jami‘at-i Tulabah, which since 1962 had successfully organized students to protest a number of antigovernment causes, usually unpopular educational reforms.[51] The government, already apprehensive about the Jama‘at’s activities, had tried to halt student unrest by restricting the IJT and arresting and incarcerating numerous IJT leaders. This served only to politicize and radicalize the student organization still further.

Given the Jama‘at’s antagonism to the left and that the party had arrogated the role of defender of Pakistan’s territorial unity, the student organization could not remain immune to provocations from the left, especially in East Pakistan. In the 1962–1967 period, the IJT developed into an antileft force, with the tacit encouragement of the government. The government actively encouraged the IJT in its clashes with the leftist National Student Federation in East Pakistan and with labor union activists in West Pakistan.[52] Its success in attracting new recruits from among the ranks of religiously conscious students in Punjab, and anti-Bengali Muhajirs in Karachi and Dhaka, further encouraged its antileft activities and showdowns with the left and Bengali nationalists. Opposition to the Tashkent agreement, however, continued to give the IJT its much needed antigovernment image, which helped consolidate the organization’s base of support on campuses. This two-tiered policy of simultaneous opposition to the left and to the government gradually disappeared as the student organization sublimated its opposition to Ayub Khan in favor of a crusade against the left, especially in East Pakistan. From 1965 onward, the IJT became increasingly embroiled in confrontations with Bengali nationalist and leftist forces in East Pakistan, first at Dhaka University, and later in pitched battles in the streets.

In May 1967 the Combined Opposition Parties, including the Awami League, formed a new coalition, the Pakistan Democratic Movement. In its first resolution, the new coalition demanded the reinstatement of the 1956 constitution, the restoration of democracy in Pakistan, the resolution of the Kashmir crisis, the adoption of a nonaligned foreign policy, and greater regional autonomy for East Pakistan. Mawdudi interpreted the resolution as a new call for an Islamic constitution and in his subsequent elaboration of the resolution throughout 1967 and 1968 launched into tirades against the Awami League’s six-point plan and Mawlana Bhashani’s homegrown version of Maoism. Mawdudi’s rhetoric combined with the IJT’s clashes with the Awami League in East Pakistan greatly weakened the Pakistan Democratic Movement, and the alliance finally collapsed when, implicated in an antigovernment conspiracy case, the Awami League withdrew from its fold. The movement was replaced by a new multiparty arrangement called the Democratic Action Committee.

The new coalition demanded the lifting of the state of emergency and the rescinding of the criminal law amendment which had been invoked to arrest Mujib for participation in the same conspiracy. These were both tools the government was using to deal with the worsening political situation and which the Jama‘at and the Awami League both wanted eliminated so they could pursue their political objectives more freely. Faced with Mujib’s rising popularity following his arrest, the government responded by lifting the emergency and abrogating the amendment. It was a Pyrrhic victory for the opposition. To begin with, it did away with the demands that the Jama‘at and the Awami League had shared and which had fostered a working arrangement between them. Instead, tensions between them escalated in East Pakistan following the government’s conciliatory overtures. It also removed the rationale for democratic demands from the political agenda and focused attention instead on provincial demands in East Pakistan and populist demands in West Pakistan. Consequently, Mawdudi’s efforts to revive interest in the Islamic constitution came to naught. The Jama‘at’s political agenda became completely divorced from the critical political issues in the country.

In August 1968 Mawdudi was taken ill and was compelled to leave Pakistan for medical treatment in England. During the months he was gone the Jama‘at’s affairs were overseen by Mian Tufayl. Mawdudi’s absence reduced both the Jama‘at’s prominence in the Democratic Action Committee and reduced the party’s flexibility. Mian Tufayl did not provide new strategies for confronting either the more rambunctious Awami League or the new force in Pakistani politics, the People’s Party and was unable to control the IJT, which soon became a force unto itself, drawing the Jama‘at into the quagmire of East Pakistani politics.

Mawdudi returned before the Round Table Conference between Ayub Khan and the Democratic Action Committee, which convened in March 1969 to reform the constitution of 1962 with a view to accommodating the Awami League’s demands for autonomy. No mention was made of the socioeconomic grievances which Mujib and Bhutto were manipulating so successfully. Mawdudi’s address to the conference was totally removed from the realities of Pakistani politics. He placed the entire blame for the crisis on the government’s intransigence over the demand for Islamization, which, he argued, was the only policy that could keep Pakistan united.[53] The conference not only left the committee more vulnerable than ever to the populist challenges of Mujib and Bhutto but also made clear the chasm that separated Jama‘at’s political outlook from that of the rest of Pakistan. The committee and the Jama‘at were only shadows of the Combined Opposition Parties in 1965. The real force in the polity was now the Awami League and the People’s Party.

This was not lost on the Jama‘at. Soon after the conference, the party stopped attacking the government and directed its invective more squarely against Bhutto, Bhashani, and Mujib, accusing them of encouraging violence and acting undemocratically and in violation of Islamic dicta. Mawdudi still resisted populism, however, and regarded with contempt Islamic thinkers such as Bhashani and Ghulam Ahmad Parwez who mixed Islam with leftist ideas, a course of action which distinguished the Jama‘at from Shi‘i revolutionaries in Iran.

On March 25, 1969, General Ayub Khan resigned. Mawdudi declared the move a victory for the Round Table Conference that would now allow the establishment of the Islamic order which he believed democracy would bring. In a display of political naïveté, he exhorted Bhutto and Mujib to demobilize their forces. To his dismay, however, he soon learned that democracy and Islam were for the moment irrelevant. With no political platform to lure the masses, the Jama‘at had to accept the martial rule of General Muhammad Yahya Khan and to follow the IJT into the streets against the Awami League and the People’s Party.

The Regime of Yahya Khan, 1969–1971

After Ayub Khan’s resignation, power was not transferred to the Democratic Action Committee, who had negotiated with the government in the Round Table Conference, but to a military government. The Jama‘at’s first reaction was to negotiate with the government rather than to appeal to the masses, who were clamoring for economic justice and provincial autonomy. When Yahya Khan assumed power, the Jama‘at quickly renewed its demands for the restoration of democracy and Islamization and for the reinstatement of the constitution of 1956 as the only satisfactory framework for putting the state on the road to Islam and democracy.[54] Although Yahya Khan, a Shi‘i with a reputation for heavy drinking, was by no means a favorite of the Jama‘at, the party once again acceded to an alliance of convenience. Both were opposed to the left and looked upon Bengali nationalism with suspicion. With no political manifesto to recapture popular support, the Jama‘at was compelled to cast its lot with the central government, hoping that the system could be democratized after the left had been routed. Without the left to turn to, the people would cast their vote for the Jama‘at in the elections. The party assumed that the investiture of Yahya Khan meant the army was going to crush both the Awami League and the People’s Party, because Yahya Khan had often declared that no party opposed to the “ideology of Pakistan”—by which the Jama‘at understood he meant Islam—would be acceptable to his government. The Jama‘at could only rejoice at the prospect and lend support to the regime and its promise of a democracy cleansed of the left.

These impressions were strengthened in personal contacts between the Jama‘at’s leaders and members of Yahya Khan’s circle of advisers, including Nawwabzadah Shair ‘Ali Khan, the minister of information, who was the main architect of the new regime’s political strategy,[55] through whom they lobbied to become the party that would inherit the reins of power. On March 23, 1969, Mawdudi and Mian Tufayl met with Yahya Khan in Lahore; they came back convinced that Yahya Khan was going to turn Pakistan over to them after the left and the Bengali nationalists had been dealt with. Mian Tufayl lauded Yahya Khan as a “champion of Islam” and declared that the basis for the general’s future constitution—the Legal Framework Order—not yet unveiled, would be “Islamic.”[56] Political exigency had led Islamic constitutionalism into an unholy alliance with the very regime it had fought against. Democracy, the condicio sine qua non of Islamization, for the duration of the Yahya Khan regime was replaced by martial rule. The Jama‘at’s shift, however, was not doctrinal; martial rule was merely to be the midwife of an “Islamic democracy.” This new strategy meant that all efforts to formulate a new political platform in place of Islamic constitutionalism were shelved, and the party’s energies became concentrated on combating the Awami League and the People’s Party. Fighting communism became a substitute for a sound and efficacious political platform, as the Jama‘at tried to alter the political climate rather than adapt to it.

In West Pakistan, Mawdudi launched a crusade against Bhutto and his economic policies, arguing that only Islam would remedy the socioeconomic grievances that Bhutto’s “Islamic socialism” falsely claimed to be able to solve. the Jama‘at’s attacks prompted Safdar Mir to resume his criticisms of Mawdudi and the Jama‘at in Nusrat, a pro–People’s Party monthly published in Lahore, but Bhutto, from his prison cell, ordered the articles stopped. Although the leftists in the People’s Party regarded the Jama‘at as the enemy, Bhutto hoped to mollify the party,[57] hopes that were soon dashed when violence broke out in Lahore, Multan, and Karachi.

In East Pakistan the Jama‘at launched a propaganda campaign to convince the Bengalis that their loyalties lay first with Islam and Pakistan, not with their ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and provincial roots. In the violent clashes with the Awami League that followed, an IJT worker was killed on the campus of Dhaka University, giving the party its first martyr in the battle against the left.[58] Mawdudi demanded that the IJT cleanse Pakistani universities of the left. Yahya Khan’s offer to hold elections in December 1970 only added fervor to the Jama‘at’s campaign to bring the party closer to Yahya Khan’s regime,[59] although it also continued to demand the reinstatement of the 1956 constitution to retain a semblance of an oppositional role vis-à-vis the government.

In December 1969 the Jama‘at published its election manifesto, with minor variations a reiteration of its Islamic constitutionalist platform and a testimony to the party’s obliviousness to sociopolitical issues. Forty years of drawing-room politics had left them without the means properly to interpret politics, much less turn popular demands into a plan of action. Its slow development into a party had denied it any mechanism for formulating policy positions the electorate could relate to. Pakistan’s economy had undergone a great many changes during the Ayub Khan era. The country had gained an industrial infrastructure and had made significant strides in developing its economy. This development had been accomplished at great social and political costs, however.[60] Rapid industrialization and growth through the “functional utility of greed” openly advocated by the regime and its host of foreign advisers had arrived hand in hand with a notable increase in poverty in both urban and rural areas, as well as a widening of the gap between rich and poor, giving rise to greater class consciousness.[61] Between 1963 and 1967, when opposition to Ayub Khan gained momentum, the percentage of the poor—those whose incomes were below Rs. 300 per month—had somewhat declined in both the rural and the urban areas, from 60.5 percent to 59.7 percent and from 54.8 percent to 25 percent, respectively,[62] but the disparity in the distribution of wealth between the provinces and between the propertied classes and the masses had increased.[63] According to Mahbub ul-Haq, “By 1968 22 families controlled 2/3 of Pakistan’s industrial assets; 80% of banking; 70% of insurance.”[64] Economic growth had favored the industrial sector at the cost of the traditional economy, the cities at the cost of the hinterland, and Punjab and West Pakistan at the cost of East Pakistan. The business elite had amassed great fortunes, as had senior civil servants and high-ranking members of the armed forces, while the middle class and the poor had lost ground. Corruption, which by 1967 had infested the country, had only further discredited the government’s promise of economic progress in the eyes of those who had not shared in its fruits. Agricultural policy had caused large-scale migration to the cities, while industrialization had generated grievances among the labor force, whose numbers had risen threefold in the 1960s. These statistics and their reflection in the political mood of the country explain, in good measure, the popularity of Mujib’s six-point program and Bhutto’s “clothing, bread, and shelter” (kapra, roti, awr makan) motto.

The Jama‘at’s manifesto made only token references to economic grievances; they were by and large left to the Islamic state to solve. It attacked feudalism and capitalism, promised to limit land ownership to two hundred acres, and proposed a minimum wage of Rs. 150–Rs. 200 and better working conditions, but these promises were divorced from any concerted political attack on the ruling classes and buried among demands for Islamization, greater democratization, and opposition to the idea of “sons of the soil,” a reference to Bengali and Sindhi nationalist sentiments. This treatment of socioeconomic issues in the manifesto therefore fell far short of attracting support from the Pakistani electorate.

The manifesto bore the unmistakable imprint of Mawdudi’s thinking. It posed three questions, the answers to which Mawdudi assumed were self-evident to Pakistanis, since he was convinced that they were more concerned with Islam and patriotism than socioeconomic issues. The questions were (1) Should Pakistan retain its Islamic foundations?[65] (2) Should Pakistan remain united? and (3) Is not the Jama‘at the only party running in the elections which is capable of maintaining the primacy of Islam while fostering national unity? Mawdudi believed that once the Pakistani electorate had confronted these questions squarely, they would vote for Islam, national unity, and the Jama‘at. His campaign was therefore designed to place these three questions at the center of the national political debate.

That the strategy would not work became apparent first in East Pakistan. The party’s campaign there came to an abrupt end when Mawdudi was prevented by Awami League supporters from reaching a Jama‘at rally in Dhaka. Clashes followed which led to the death of three Jama‘at workers.[66] After that there were bloody confrontations between Jama‘at workers and Mawlana Bhashani’s supporters in East Pakistan and Punjab. In West Pakistan the Jama‘at had more room to maneuver. There it launched a campaign against the People’s Party’s platform, the watershed of which was the Glory of Islam Day (Yawm-i Shawkat-i Islam), on May 30, 1970. The Jama‘at organized rallies, marches, speeches, and political meetings across West Pakistan to bring Islam back into the center stage of Pakistani politics.[67] Convinced the celebration was a great success and had popularized the party’s election manifesto,[68] the Jama‘at decided to field 151 candidates for National Assembly seats, challenging nearly every seat the People’s Party was contesting.

In fact, however, the Glory of Islam celebrations had not improved the Jama‘at’s support and had done nothing to derail the electoral campaigns of either the People’s Party or the Awami League. They had produced one unexpected side effect, however. They caused a serious rupture in the religious alliance, which since 1958 the Jama‘at had led by awakening the heretofore dormant Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam and Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Pakistan and bringing them into the political arena. The Jama‘at believes that this development resulted from the machinations of the People’s Party, KGB, or the CIA.[69] The two parties were apparently convinced by the Glory of Islam celebration that a religious platform was politically viable. The ulama, since 1947 willing to cooperate with the Jama‘at in politics, were not prepared to submit to Mawdudi in religious matters. As the anti-Mawdudi fatwa campaign of 1951 and the clamor against Mawdudi’s book Khilafat’u Mulukiyat in 1965–1966 indicate, they were not pleased with Mawdudi’s religious views. They decided that the Glory of Islam celebration represented a concerted effort by Mawdudi to monopolize religious thought and become the cynosure of the religious establishment. To the ulama this was a danger much greater than any posed to Islam by the Awami League or the People’s Party. The Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam’s Mawlanas Mufti Mahmud and Hazarwi thereafter criticized the celebration, and the Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Pakistan proceeded to field forty-two candidates for National Assembly seats in competition with Jama‘at’s candidates. These moves divided the religious and anti–People’s Party vote and took seats away from the Jama‘at. This division accounts in part for the success of the People’s Party and the Jama‘at’s defeat. In eighty-two electoral constituencies in Punjab, where the People’s Party was strongest, 260 candidates from right-of-center parties and another 114 independent rightist candidates divided the vote. Four parties had the demand for an Islamic constitution on their election manifestos, and another four favored it.[70]

The Elections of 1970 and Their Aftermath

Between May and December 1970 the Jama‘at campaigned frantically. Competition with the Awami League and clashes with Bhashani’s supporters escalated tensions in East Pakistan and Punjab, and clashes with the People’s Party tied down the Jama‘at in West Pakistan. These conflicts, combined with the challenge from the party’s religious flank, taxed the Jama‘at’s energies. Despite untiring efforts, it won only four of the 151 National Assembly seats which it contested, all in West Pakistan, and only four of the 331 provincial assembly seats it had aimed for, one in each province except Baluchistan (see tables 8–11). It trailed far behind the Awami League and the People’s Party in the final tally of seats and to its dismay and embarrassment finished behind the Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam and Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Pakistan. The Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam even gained enough seats to serve as a partner to the National Awami party (National People’s Party) in forming provincial governments in Baluchistan and North-West Frontier Province. To the Jama‘at’s surprise the two ulama parties did better than the Jama‘at, although they had contested fewer seats and received a lower percentage of votes cast. In elections to the National Assembly, the Jama‘at’s share of the total vote was at 6.03 percent, as opposed to the Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam’s 3.98 percent and the Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Pakistan’s 3.94 percent. Where the Jama‘at had won only four seats (and none in East Pakistan, where its share of the total votes cast was 6.07 percent) the ulama parties had won seven seats each. In provincial elections the Jama‘at received 3.25 percent of the votes cast, the Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam 2.25 percent, and the Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Pakistan 2.11 percent. In contrast with the Jama‘at’s four provincial seats, the Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam had won nine and the Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Pakistan eleven. The Jama‘at’s 6.03 percent of the votes cast in National Assembly elections had yielded only 1.3 percent of the seats, and its 3.25 percent share of the vote in provincial elections a mere 0.67 percent of the seats. The results turned the Jama‘at into an ardent advocate of proportional representation for Pakistan. Finally, partly because they had competed with one another, the Islamic parties taken together did poorly in both parts of Pakistan. This limited the political power of Islam and further constricted the Jama‘at.

8. Votes Cast for the Islamic Parties in the 1970 National Assembly Elections
  East Pakistan Punjab Sind NWFP Baluchistan Total
Source: Report on the General Elections, Pakistan 1970–71 (Islamabad, n.d.) 2:68–69.
Jama‘at-i Islami 1,044,137
Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam, West Pakistan 158,058
Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam / Jami‘at-i Ahl-i Hadith 485,774
0 7,744
0 521,764
Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Pakistan 0 1,083,196
0 1,299,858
9. National Assembly Seats Contested and
Won by the Islamic Parties in the 1970 Elections
  East Pakistan Punjab Sind NWFP Baluchistan Total
Source: Report on the General Elections, Pakistan 1970–71 (Islamabad, n.d.) 2:70–99, 100–21.
Jama‘at-i Islami
Seats contested 71 44 19 15 2 151
Seats won 0 1 2 1 0 4
Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam, West Pakistan
Seats contested 15 46 21 19 4 105
Seats won 0 0 0 6 1 7
Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam/Jami‘at-i Ahl-i Hadith
Seats contested 49 3 0 2 0 54
Seats won 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Pakistan
Seats contested 0 41 8 1 0 50
Seats won 0 4 3 0 0 7
Total seats contested 781 460 170 143 25 1579
Total seats won 162 82 27 25 4 300
10. Votes Cast for the Islamic Parties in the 1970 Provincial Assembly Elections
  East Pakistan Punjab Sind NWFP Baluchistan Total
Source: Report on the General Elections, Pakistan 1970–71 (Islamabad, n.d.) 2:268–69.
Jama‘at-i Islami 678,159
Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam, West Pakistan 76,735
Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam/Jami‘at-i Ahl-i Hadith 223,634
0 241,289
Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Pakistan 0 448,008
0 0 632,159
11. Provincial Assembly Seats Contested and Won by the Islamic Parties in the 1970 Elections
  East Pakistan Punjab Sind NWFP Baluchistan Total
Source: Report on the General Elections, Pakistan 1970–71 (Islamabad, n.d.) 2:270–355.
Jama‘at-i Islami
Seats contested 174 80 37 28 12 331
Seats won 1 1 1 1 0 4
Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam, West Pakistan
Seats contested 23 72 23 35 14 167
Seats won 0 2 0 4 3 9
Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam/Jami‘at-i Ahl-i Hadith
Seats contested 63 4 5 2 0 74
Seats won 1 0 0 0 0 1
Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Pakistan
Seats contested 0 73 15 0 0 88
Seats won 0 4 7 0 0 11
Total seats contested 1,850 1,323 579 319 164 4,235
Total seats won 300 180 60 40 20 600

The election results dealt a severe blow to the morale of Jama‘at members. Mawdudi’s leadership was questioned, as was the party’s time-honored reliance on Islamic symbols and the putative Islamic loyalties of Pakistanis. The election results, moreover, effectively eliminated the Jama‘at as a power broker. The Jama‘at quickly regrouped, however, this time to defend Pakistan against the polarization of the country between the Awami League and the People’s Party. The Jama‘at leaders encouraged Yahya Khan not to discriminate against the Awami League and to allow Mujib to form a government.[71] When Yahya Khan refused, the party broke with him, accusing him of unfair partiality toward the People’s Party, which the Jama‘at was convinced would have disastrous consequences for Pakistan. Meanwhile, the Jama‘at excoriated the People’s Party for lobbying with the generals to deny the Awami League the fruit of its victory.

The Jama‘at’s argument did not endear it to the Awami League; Mawdudi’s attacks on Bhashani and Mujib, the former for his religious views and the latter for his rapacious political ambition, had continued with his criticisms of Yahya Khan and Bhutto. Its pro-Pakistan and anti–Awami League propaganda had increased the violence between IJT supporters and Bengali nationalists following the elections. As the situation in East Pakistan deteriorated throughout 1971, the Jama‘at members became convinced of a Communist-Hindu plot to dismember Pakistan. Driven by its dedication to Pakistan’s unity and unable to counter the challenge of the Awami League, the Jama‘at abandoned its role as intermediary and formed an unholy alliance with the Pakistan army, which had been sent to Dhaka to crush the Bengali nationalists.

After a meeting with General Tikka Khan, the head of the army in East Pakistan, in April 1971, Ghulam A‘zam, the amir of East Pakistan, gave full support to the army’s actions against “enemies of Islam.” Meanwhile, a group of Jama‘at members went to Europe to explain Pakistan’s cause and defend what the army was doing in East Pakistan; another group was sent to the Arab world, where the Jama‘at drew upon its considerable influence to gain support.[72] In September 1971 the alliance between the Jama‘at and the army was made official when four members of the Jama‘at-i Islami of East Pakistan joined the military government of the province.[73] Both sides saw gains to be made from their alliance. The army would receive religious sanction for its increasingly brutal campaign, and the Jama‘at would gain prominence. Its position was, in good measure, the result of decisions made by the Jama‘at-i Islami of East Pakistan, then led by Ghulam A‘zam and Khurram Jah Murad. This branch of the Jama‘at, faced with annihilation, was thoroughly radicalized, and acted with increasing independence in doing the bidding of the military regime in Dhaka. The Lahore secretariat often merely approved the lead taken by the Jama‘at and the IJT in Dhaka. Nowhere was this development more evident than in the IJT’s contribution to the ill-fated al-Badr and al-Shams counterinsurgency operations.

In the civil war, two thousand Jama‘at and IJT members, workers, and sympathizers were killed and upward of twelve thousand held in prison camps.[74] The East Pakistan war also had its bright side insofar as the nationalist credentials of the party, which had repeatedly been accused of being “anti-Pakistan,” could no longer be questioned. As one Jama‘at leader put it, “While the Muslim League youth took refuge in their opulent homes, it was the Jami‘at [IJT] which gave its blood to save Pakistan.”[75] The party, which had been routed at the polls only a year earlier, now found a new measure of confidence that facilitated its return to the political arena.


1. Interview with Mian Tufayl Muhammad in Takbir (November 16, 1989): 53. [BACK]

2. General Iskandar Mirza’s unpublished memoirs, 109–10. [BACK]

3. U. S. Embassy Karachi, disp. #537, 12/20/1957, 790D.00/12–2057; tel. #1470, 12/20/1957, 790D.00/12–2057; and tel. #1471, 12/20/1957, 790D.00/12–2057, NA; and U. K. High Commissioner, Karachi, disp. #21, 4/14/1958, DO35/8936, 5–7, PRO. [BACK]

4. General Mirza’s unpublished memoirs, 110. [BACK]

5. As early as 1953 General Mirza had hinted at changing the regime because of “a growing possibility that unprogressive and anti-Western Moslem religious elements might become dominant in Pakistan”; U. S. Embassy, Karachi, tel. #278, 11/2/1953, 790D.00/11–253, NA. [BACK]

6. In December 1957 he accused the Jama‘at of making Islam into an “elastic cloak for political power.” Cited in U. S. Embassy Karachi, tel. #1549, 12/31/1957, 790D.00/12–3157, NA. [BACK]

7. TQ (June 1962): 322. [BACK]

8. Syed Ahmad Nur, From Martial Law to Martial Law: Politics in the Punjab, 1919–1958 (Boulder, 1985), 405; also see U. K. High Commission, Karachi, preliminary report, 10/25/1958, 4–5, DO134/26; U. K. High Commissioner, Karachi, fortnightly summary, 10/29/1958, DO134/26; and U. K. High Commission, Dacca, report, 11/7/1958, DO134/26, PRO. [BACK]

9. Altaf Gauhar, himself a high-ranking Pakistani civil servant during the Ayub Khan era, writes that since 1947 the civil bureaucracy, given its British traditions, had been the repository of the greatest animosity toward Mawdudi in Pakistan; Altaf Gauhar, “Pakistan, Ayub Khan, Awr Mawlana Mawdudi, Tafhimu’l-Qur’an Awr Main,” HRZ, 41–42. The fact that following the coup the military did away with the ministerial position and appointed eleven civil servants to oversee various government operations, forming a quasi-cabinet under Ayub Khan, further strained relations between the Jama‘at and the government. [BACK]

10. U. K. High Commissioner, Karachi, disp. #INT.83/6/2, 3/10/1959, DO35/8949, PRO. [BACK]

11. Noteworthy in this regard are the editorials of Z. A. Suleri in Pakistan Times, which articulated the government’s position to a large number of Pakistanis. On Suleri’s views, see Anwar Hussain Syed, Pakistan: Islam, Politics, and National Solidarity (New York, 1982), 109–11. [BACK]

12. Quraishi claims that the left eagerly pushed Ayub Khan to clamp down on the Islamic groups, and especially the Jama‘at. Leftist propaganda soon created a climate wherein any talk of religion was derided as “Jama‘ati” and hence deemed as insidious; see Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi, Education in Pakistan: An Inquiry into Objectives and Achievements (Karachi, 1975), 268–69. [BACK]

13. Mawdudi, in fact, disapproved of the brotherhood’s increasing radicalization; TQ (April 1956): 220–28. [BACK]

14. Sayyid Asad Gilani, Maududi: Thought and Movement (Lahore, 1984), 135. [BACK]

15. The text of the speech is enclosed with U. K. High Commission, Karachi, disp. #INT.48/47/1, 5/25/1959, DO35/8962, PRO. [BACK]

16. SAAM, vol. 2, 121. [BACK]

17. The Commission on Marriage and Family Law was first set up in 1955 with a view to enhancing the legal status of women. The Family Law Ordinance began with the report of that earlier committee, which had been presented in 1956. [BACK]

18. On March 14, 1961, ulama led by the Jama‘at issued a statement in Lahore denouncing the ordinance; SAAM, vol. 2, 65, and Khurshid Ahmad, Studies in the Family Law of Islam (Karachi, 1961). [BACK]

19. SAAM, vol. 2, 65–66. Also see Mian Tufayl Muhammad, ed. and trans., Statement of 209 Ulema of Pakistan on the Muslim Family Law Ordinance (Lahore, 1962). [BACK]

20. SAAM, vol. 2, 58. [BACK]

21. Kawthar Niyazi, Jama‘at-i Islami ‘Awami ‘Adalat Main (Lahore, 1973), 19. [BACK]

22. SAAM, vol. 2, 128–34. [BACK]

23. Interview with S. M. Zafar. [BACK]

24. Interview with Hakim Muhammad Sa‘id, and personal correspondence with Allahbakhsh K. Brohi, 1985–86. [BACK]

25. Cited in Muhammad Saeed, Lahore: A Memoir (Lahore, 1989), 224–25. [BACK]

26. SAAM, vol. 2, 156–57. Ayub was particularly riled by Mawdudi’s attacks on his person and decided to retaliate; interviews with Hakim Muhammad Sa‘id and S. M. Zafar. [BACK]

27. SAAM, vol. 2, 187. [BACK]

28. Sarwat Saulat, Maulana Maududi (Karachi, 1979), 59. [BACK]

29. In Mecca, Mawdudi had delivered a lecture about the duties of Muslim youth in contemporary times. Khumayni, who had attended the lecture, was impressed with Mawdudi, and stood up and praised him for his views. Later that evening, along with a companion, Khumayni went to Mawdudi’s hotel, where the two men met and talked for half an hour, aided by Khalil Ahmadu’l-Hamidi, Mawdudi’s Arabic translator. Khumayni described the outlines of his campaign against the Shah to Mawdudi during that meeting; interview with Khalil Ahmadu’l-Hamidi; and Bidar Bakht, “Jama‘at-i Islami ka Paygham Puri Duniya Main Pahila Raha Hey,” Awaz-i Jahan (November 1989): 33–34. [BACK]

30. Khalil Ahmadu’l Hamidi, “Iran Main Din Awr La-Dini Main Kashmakash,” TQ (October 1963): 49–62. [BACK]

31. SAAM, vol. 2, 169–70; and ISIT(1), 6–7. [BACK]

32. On the reasons for the Combined Opposition Parties’ choice of Miss Jinnah, see Rounaq Jahan, Pakistan: Failure in National Integration (New York, 1972), 150–51. [BACK]

33. Nawwabzadah Nasru’llah Khan, “Ham Unke, Vuh Hemarah Sath Rahe,” HRZ, 39. [BACK]

34. Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani, the senior statesman and governor of Punjab in 1953–1954 who later became a close friend of Mawdudi, had related to the Jama‘at’s leaders that Kawthar Niyazi had, since the 1950s, maintained close contacts with the Punjab government and was put up to challenging Mawdudi by the authorities; interviews. [BACK]

35. MMKT, vol. 6, 63–67. [BACK]

36. Gauhar, “Pakistan,” 43. [BACK]

37. MMKT, vol. 6, 85–94. [BACK]

38. ISIT(1), 8–9. [BACK]

39. MMKT, vol. 6, 78–79. [BACK]

40. Ibid., 97–102, and 138–43. [BACK]

41. Salim Mansur Khalid, “Talabah Awr I‘lan-i Tashqand,” TT, vol. 1, 216–23. [BACK]

42. For instance, in 1967 the Jama‘at journal Chiragh-i Rah dedicated an entire issue to the study of socialism. [BACK]

43. SAAM, vol. 2, 209. [BACK]

44. Chaudhri ‘Abdu’l-Rahman ‘Abd, Mufakkir-i Islam: Sayyid Abu’l-A‘la Mawdudi (Lahore, 1971), 361. [BACK]

45. Interview with Na‘im Siddiqi in Takbir (September 26, 1991): 28. [BACK]

46. Mir’s articles were later published as Muhammad Safdar Mir, Mawdudiyat Awr Mawjudah Siyasi Kashmakash (Lahore, 1970). [BACK]

47. MMKT, vol. 6, 279–82. [BACK]

48. ‘Abd, Mufakkir-i Islam, 361–64. [BACK]

49. Fazlur Rahman meanwhile declared that the government’s position on the citation of the moon was binding on the religious divines, a position which only incensed the Jama‘at and the ulama further; see Pakistan Times (January 16, 1967): 1. [BACK]

50. The resignation followed wide-scale opposition, mounted by the Jama‘at against Fazlur Rahman’s book Islam (Chicago, 1966); see Israr Ahmad, Islam Awr Pakistan: Tarikhi, Siyasi, ‘Ilmi Awr Thiqafati Pasmanzar (Lahore, 1983), 55–60. [BACK]

51. Zia Shahid, “Amiriyat, Talabah, Awr Garmi Guftar,” TT, vol. 1, 180–82. [BACK]

52. Interviews with Shaikh Mahbub ‘Ali and Muti‘u’l-Rahman Nizami in JVNAT, vol. 2, 16–17 and 223–25, respectively. [BACK]

53. MMKT, vol. 8, 188–92; and S. M. Zafar, Through the Crisis (Lahore, 1970), 204–5. [BACK]

54. On demands put before the Yahya Khan regime, see ISIT(1), 15. [BACK]

55. On the minister’s views on the notion of the “ideology of Pakistan,” see Nawwabzadah Shair ‘Ali Khan, Al-Qisas (Lahore, 1974). [BACK]

56. Cited by Sayyid As‘ad Gilani in an interview in Nida (April 17, 1990): 14–15. [BACK]

57. Interview with Muhammad Safdar Mir. [BACK]

58. SAAM, vol. 2, 328. [BACK]

59. For instance, in the fall of 1969 the IJT entered into direct negotiations with the martial law administrator of the province, General Nur Khan, who hoped the IJT would be able to repeat its successful drive to control the University of Punjab in East Pakistan; see interview with Muhammad Kamal in JVNAT, vol. 2, 186–87. [BACK]

60. One observer has even challenged the veracity of the rates of economic growth cited for the Ayub era, arguing that they did not reflect indigenous economic activity but were bolstered by foreign aid. See Rashid Amjad, Pakistan’s Growth Experience: Objectives, Achievement, and Impact on Poverty, 1947–1977 (Lahore, 1978), 6. [BACK]

61. Khalid B. Sayeed, Politics in Pakistan: The Nature and Direction of Change (New York, 1980), 54–83. [BACK]

62. See S. M. Naseem, “Mass Poverty in Pakistan: Some Preliminary Findings,” Pakistan Development Review 12, 4 (Winter 1973): 322–25. [BACK]

63. For a discussion of the impact of economic changes during Ayub Khan’s rule on the distribution of wealth between the provinces, see Jahan, Pakistan, 51–107. [BACK]

64. Mahbub ul-Haq, The Poverty Curtain: Choices for the Third World (New York, 1976), 7–8. [BACK]

65. ISIT(1), 18–19. [BACK]

66. Ibid., 17. [BACK]

67. On the events of this day see ibid., 18. [BACK]

68. Pakistan Times (December 7, 1970): 1 and 7. [BACK]

69. Interviews with Khurshid Ahmad and Sayyid Munawwar Hasan. [BACK]

70. Sharif al Mujahid, “Pakistan’s First General Elections,” Asian Survey 11, 2 (February 1971): 170. [BACK]

71. Mashriqi Pakistan Talib-i ‘Ilm Rahnima, “Mashriqi Pakistan Akhri Lamhih,” TT, vol. 1, 316. [BACK]

72. Kalim Bahadur, The Jama‘at-i Islami of Pakistan (New Delhi, 1977), 133. [BACK]

73. The four portfolios given to the Jama‘at’s provincial ministers were revenue, education, commerce and industry, and local government; see ISIT(1), 23. [BACK]

74. Interview with Khurram Jah Murad. The interviewee, an overseer of the Jama‘at-i Islami of East Pakistan at the time, was kept at a prison camp between 1971 and 1974. Also see interview with Tasnim ‘Alam Manzar in JVNAT, vol. 2, 258, and ISIT(1), 24. As in 1947, the Jama‘at decided to divide in accordance with the new political reality. The Jama‘at-i Islami of Bangladesh was formed in 1971 and began to reorganize in 1972 under the leadership of Ghulam A‘zam. [BACK]

75. Interview with Khurram Jah Murad; a similar view was expressed by Liaqat Baluch (interview). [BACK]

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