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• Dr. Muhammad Hanif Khalil has resumed the charge as Acting Director of the National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad w.e.f. 25-09-2023
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National Institute of Pakistan Studies
Name of ScholarSayyid Abdul Samad Pirzada
Title of Dissertation Ulama in Politics: A Case Study of the Jam’iyyat Ulama-i-Islam Pakistan (1971-77)
Issue Date1994
PublisherNational Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

The demand for the establishment of an Islamic State in Pakistan has been an important issue among the religious political parties in Pakistan, ever since the national achieved independence. They trace the origin of this issue to the association of Ulama with the demand for Pakistan by the All India Muslim league (AIML). After independence the Ulama increased their pressure on this point during the framing of 1956 Constitution. Their efforts in this direction continued during the Ayub Khan, Yaha Khan, and Z.A Bhutto regimes. The military dictator General Zia also justified his Martial Law on this ground. Since the concept of state based on Quran and Sunah had a popular appeal, it provided the military regime the necessary legitimacy.

Its significance in Pakistan’s political culture is so dominating that even parties committed to a socialist way of life mention Islam and Islamic system of government in their manifestos. This political attitude reflects the high regard of the overwhelming majority of the commoners for Islam. An evidence of this popular regard is the fact that even outright socialists cannot dare to reject religion in their personal as well as public life.

Despite the significance of this phenomenon, the scholarly studies on the topic are rare. The western scholars have done a substantial work in this field, but, generally they lack proper understanding of the phenomenon to appreciate this demand. Their writings speak of a fear of the re-emergence of Islam on global horizon; the present study is an endeavour to understand the consistent demand for an Islamic system of government.  In this regard the present study specifically focuses on the political role of Jam’iyyat Ulama-i-Islam Pakistan in the political system of Pakistan from 1971 to 1977. It is an attempt to explore the Jam’iyyat Ulama-i-Islam Pakistan’s world view and the system of government it proposed for the Pakistan society. The study also investigates their efforts to realise their agenda/plan and the difficulties they faced to materialized their plan. It also investigates about the impacts it had on the political system of Pakistan.