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National Institute of Pakistan Studies
Name of ScholarAziz Ullah
Title of Dissertation Kinship Structure and Political Authority: Religious and Political Structure of Killa Saif Ullah Baluchistan
Issue Date2021
PublisherNational Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

The political rise of religious clerics, locally called Mullayan, predates the development at the national level which started in the 1970s elections. In that election campaign, the clerics in the research locale used Islam as a political tool to come into power and their rise in power led to the political decline of tribal chiefs. Furthermore, the religious clerics did not want to rely more on Islam as a political tool rather shifted their attention to kinship ties for electoral support. In the 1970s election campaign, the clerics called for the institutional implementation of Islam and Shariah whereas later on they started to capitalize on kinship ties for political allegiance.

In Pakistan, there is a common perception that throughout its political history the religious clerics have been fully supported by the state institutions especially the military. Also, the people think that throughout the electoral history of the country the elections are always won by the economically powerful and political influential persons. However, in the research locale under study both the notions are not applicable in one way or the other way. This study is not in tandem with the aforementioned perceptions.

My study of focus is on a majorly Pashtun populated Tehsil in the district of Kalat Baluchistan province, Pakistan. the Tehsil is situated in the Southern part of the province. There, the social composition of society is to a greater extent regulated on tribal lines. The people are very careful about their close relatives. Support on the basis of tribal lines is mutually exchanged in matters of revenge in murder, elopement and land disputes. Similarly, electoral support is largely gained through tribal lines. The voters are very conscious of their close relatives. First and foremost they prefer to cast votes in the favour of close ones. In a nutshell, kinship ties take precedence over forms of affiliation: political party, ideology etc.