ABSTRACT

The modernist elite that came to power in independent Pakistan tried to accommodate Islamic precepts and norms in the constitutional process with a view to making Pakistan both Islamic and democratic. What such a practice, however, facilitated was incremental movement of the constitutional process towards fundamentalist Islamic ideology at the expense of democracy and equal rights of citizens. In 1977, when power passed into the hands of a man with unequivocal fundamentalist sympathies — General Muhammad Ziaul-Haq, he unabashedly employed state power to enforce a comprehensive programme of ‘Islamization’ on Pakistan. Later, in the early 1980s when Pakistan became a front-line state in the jihad, sponsored by the United States and Saudi Arabia, against the Soviet Union’s intervention in neighbouring Afghanistan, fundamentalism was cultivated as a violent creed and holy warriors were trained to use force and violence to defeat the enemies of Islam. However, after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, General Pervez Musharraf, a modernist by conviction, was pressured by the United States and other nations to change course: Pakistan joined the ‘war on terror’. This greatly angered the fundamentalists, with the result that the Pakistani state came into direct confl ict with the fundamentalists.