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Pakistan - GOVERNMENT
NATION BUILDING REMAINS a difficult process in Pakistan. But although the country has undergone a succession of traumatic sociopolitical experiences since achieving independence in 1947, it continues to demonstrate its resilience and its capacity to survive and adapt to changing circumstances. Joining the community of nations as a bifurcated state, with its two wings separated by 1,600 kilometers of foreign soil, Pakistan was faced with the immediate task of absorbing large numbers of refugees from India in the months immediately following partition. The new nation struggled with severe economic disadvantages made acutely painful by a shortage of both administrative personnel and the material assets necessary to establish and sustain its fledgling government. With the death of Mohammad Ali Jinnah--the revered Quaid-i-Azam (Great Leader)--only thirteen months after independence, the nation was dealt another severe blow.
Created to provide a homeland for the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent, Pakistan was heir to a government structure and a political tradition that were essentially Western and secular. From its inception, Pakistan has worked to synthesize Islamic principles with the needs of a modern state. The young nation was immediately challenged by a host of other factors affecting national development, including ethnic and provincial tensions, political rivalries, and security considerations. The country subsequently survived civil war and the resultant loss of its East Wing, or East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh in December 1971, and has accommodated an influx of refugees resulting from the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (December 1979-February 1989), which over the course of the conflict exceeded 3.2 million people.
Pakistan has had difficulty in establishing stable, effective political institutions. The country has experimented with a variety of political systems, has endured periods of martial law, and has had five constitutions, one inherited from the British and four indigenous creations since independence. Its political parties have suffered from regionalism, factionalism, and lack of vision. Power has shifted between the politicians and the civilmilitary establishment, and regional and ethnic forces have threatened national unity. However, the impulse toward cohesion has been stronger than the impetus toward division, and the process of nation building has continued. The return to democracy in 1988, and the peaceful, constitutional transfer of power to new governments in 1990 and 1993 testify to Pakistan's progress in the quest for political stability.
<> Role of Islam
<> Regional and Ethnic Factors
<> The Civil Service
<> The Military
<> Early Constitution Building
<> Ayub Khan
<> Yahya Khan
<> Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
<> Zia ul-Haq
<> GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE
<> THE MEDIA
<> FOREIGN POLICY
Pakistan, in its comparatively short history, has tried various forms of parliamentary, military, and presidential governments in its efforts to achieve political stability. At independence Pakistan was governed by the Government of India Act of 1935 as amended by the authority of the India Independence Act of 1947. The amended act provided at the center for a governor general (as successor to the British viceroy) as head of state and for a Constituent Assembly with two separate functions--to prepare a constitution and to be a federal legislature until the constitution came into effect.
At the outset, however, this structure of governor general and parliamentary legislature took on singular characteristics tailored to the personality, prestige, and unique position occupied by Jinnah, Pakistan's first governor general. At independence, he was the supreme authority, the founder of the state, and the chief political leader. As head of the All-India Muslim League, in 1940 he mobilized the political effort that in just seven years won Pakistan's independence. His ultimate authority came not from military power, not from the support of the bureaucracy, and not from constitutional prerogatives but from the political support of the people. In these circumstances, Jinnah chose to unite in himself the functions of head of state and the power of chief executive and party boss. In addition to his position as governor general, he was elected president of the Constituent Assembly.
For the office of governor general to be held by an active party politician who continued as political leader was an innovation. Initially, the arrangement may have seemed necessary to preserve national unity after independence and to facilitate the work of the new government. When Jinnah died, the prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, and the cabinet assumed increased power, in more traditional roles, and Khwaja Nazimuddin, as the new governor general, became a more traditional, nonpolitical head of state. Liaquat, however, found it difficult to establish his political authority. Whether the transfer of effective power to Liaquat while Jinnah was still alive might have created a precedent for future political stability in Pakistan is a moot point. Liaquat's assassination, three years later in October 1951, was the catalyst for a series of constitutional and political crises that over the years seemed almost endemic.
Pakistan has provided a unique setting for experiments in synthesizing Islamic principles with the needs of a modern state. Although Pakistan's independence movement was articulated in Western terminology and centered on the right of national selfdetermination , it was also rooted in the Islamic concept of society and of what constitutes legitimate political authority for a Muslim. The basis of the ideal Muslim polity is the sharia, the sacred law of Islam as embodied in the Quran. Efforts to apply Quranic law in a modern political context have had a direct impact on Pakistan's political history and have also complicated the nation's constitutional evolution (see <>Politicized Islam).
Government and politics bear the imprint of Pakistan's diversity. Despite the loss of the country's East Wing in 1971, the body politic remains a varied and volatile mix of ethnic, linguistic, and regional groups, and provincialism and ethnic rivalries continue to impede the progress of national integration. Although Islam is a unifying force, and the majority of Pakistanis are Sunni Muslims, there is considerable cultural diversity within and among the country's four provinces, and coreligionists' identification as Sindhis, Punjabis, Baloch, or Pakhtuns is strong.
Added to the indigenous human mosaic are the more than 7 million muhajirs (refugees or immigrants from India and their descendants) from various parts of India. Economic and political rivalries persist between the muhajirs and the indigenous populations of the provinces of Pakistan. These contests often turn violent and have contributed significantly to national unrest and instability. Ethnic riots have cost hundreds of lives and destroyed millions of dollars worth of property. A further challenge to national stability results from the approximately 1.4 million Afghan refugees who in early 1994 still had not returned to their country. Linguistic diversity is also a divisive force. Some twenty languages are spoken, and although Urdu is the official language, it is not the native tongue of the majority of the population. Islam provides a tenuous unity in relation to such diversity. Efforts to build national consensus in the face of these obstacles remains central to effective government in Pakistan.
The bureaucracy, particularly the higher civil service, has been a continuing source of stability and leadership and a counterweight to political upheaval and government instability. This cadre originated in the prepartition Indian Civil Service, whose members were well educated, well trained, and dedicated to a tradition of efficiency and responsibility. In time, the British recruited indigenous people, who were among India's best and brightest, into the Indian Civil Service ranks.
At partition, out of more than 1,100 Indian Civil Service officers, scarcely 100 were Muslims, and eighty-three of them opted to go to Pakistan. Because none of them held a senior rank equivalent to that of a secretary (and administrators were urgently needed to staff senior posts in the new state), this initial group was augmented by quick promotions in the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) through ad hoc appointments from other services and through retention, for a time, of some British officers. The CSP prided itself on being the backbone of the nation, the "steel frame" as it was sometimes called, and played a key role in Pakistan's survival in the difficult years following independence. Although Jinnah commended its contribution, he also warned CSP cadres to stay out of politics and to discharge their duties as public servants. After Jinnah's death, however, in the subsequent absence of strong political leadership, members of the CSP assumed an extraordinary role in the country's policy-making process. When the CSP was disbanded in 1973 and the various services were amalgamated into one administrative system, the expertise of its former members was much valued, and they continued to hold critical positions in the country's administrative apparatus through subsequent transitions in government. It is not surprising, then, that a later president of Pakistan, Ghulam Ishaq Khan (1988-93) was once a member of the CSP.
Another significant aspect of Pakistan's political legacy is its military forces and, in particular, the role of the largest of these forces, the army. The military remains one of the country's most cohesive national institutions. Since independence it has oscillated between indirect and direct political control, remaining a major power. The military's sense of mission in defending and preserving the Islamic state of Pakistan has always been strong. For Muslim members of the British Indian Army, the transfer of loyalties from the colonial to the ideological state was not difficult. Successors to the historical legacy of the Muslim armies of the once powerful Mughal Empire, Muslim soldiers could relate to a new role of protecting the faith and the state embodied in Pakistan. The military also provided alternative political leadership in times of crisis. Military regimes in Pakistan have legitimated their actions by the doctrine of necessity, stepping in temporarily when political crises have reached a deadlock and threatened the state.
The path to the current constitution and government was often tortuous and accompanied by successive upheavals in the nation's political life. The years between 1947 and 1958 were marked by political chaos moderated by the administrative power and acumen of the CSP. They were also years in which the armed forces, especially the army, expanded its mission and assumed political influence alongside the CSP. Initially, the country was governed by a Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly had dual functions: to draft a constitution and to enact legislation until the constitution came into effect. It was nine years before Pakistan adopted its first constitution in 1956. Major conflicts in the Constituent Assembly included the issues of representation to be given to major regional groups (particularly the East Wing) and religious controversy over what an Islamic state should be.
The first major step in framing a constitution was the passage by the Constituent Assembly of the Objectives Resolution of March 1949, which defined the basic principles of the new state. It provided that Pakistan would be a state "wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed; wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunna; [and] wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to progress and practice their religions and develop their cultures." Seven years of debate, however, failed to produce agreement on fundamental issues such as regional representation or the structure of a constitution. This impasse prompted Governor General Ghulam Mohammad to dismiss the Constituent Assembly in 1954. The Supreme Court of Pakistan upheld the action of the governor general, arguing that he had the power to disband the Constituent Assembly and veto legislation it passed. This preeminence of the governor general over the legislature has been referred to as the viceregal tradition in Pakistan's politics.
The revived Constituent Assembly promulgated Pakistan's first indigenous constitution in 1956 and reconstituted itself as the national legislature--the Legislative Assembly--under the constitution it adopted. Pakistan became an Islamic republic. The governor general was replaced by a president, but despite efforts to create regional parity between the East Wing and the West Wing, the regional tensions remained. Continuing regional rivalry, ethnic dissension, religious debate, and the weakening power of the Muslim League--the national party that spearheaded the country's founding--exacerbated political instability and eventually led President Iskander Mirza to disband the Legislative Assembly on October 7, 1958, and declare martial law. General Mohammad Ayub Khan, Pakistan's first indigenous army commander in chief, assisted Mirza in abrogating the constitution of 1956 and removing the politicians he believed were bringing Pakistan to the point of collapse. Ayub Khan, as Mirza's chief martial law administrator, then staged another coup also in October 1958, forced Mirza out of power, and assumed the presidency, to the relief of large segments of the population tired of the politicians' continued machinations.
Although Ayub Khan viewed himself as a reformer, he was predisposed to the benevolent authoritarianism of the Mughal and viceregal traditions. He also relied heavily on the country's civilian bureaucrats, who formed the majority of his advisers and cabinet ministers. Ayub Khan initiated a plan for Basic Democracies, a measure to create a system of local government from the grass roots. The Basic Democracies system consisted of a mulitiered pyramidal hierarchy of interlocking tiers of legislative councils from the village to the provincial level. The lowest but most important tier was composed of union councils, one each for groups of villages having an approximate population of 10,000. The members of these union councils were called Basic Democrats. The union councils were responsible for local government, including agricultural and community development, maintaining law and order through rural police, and trying minor cases in conciliation courts.
In 1960 the Basic Democrats were asked to endorse Ayub Khan's presidency and to give him a mandate to frame a new constitution. Ayub's constitution, promulgated in 1962, ended martial law, established a presidential form of government with a weak legislature (now called the National Assembly) and gave the president augmented executive, legislative, and financial powers. Adult franchise was limited to the election of Basic Democrats, who constituted an electoral college for the president and members of the national and provincial assemblies. This constitution was abrogated in 1969 when Ayub, who by then had lost the people's confidence, resigned, handing over the responsibility for governing to the army commander in chief General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan (see <>Ayub Khan). Yahya Khan assumed the title of president and also became chief martial law administrator.
Although Yahya Khan established a semimilitary state, he also introduced changes that led to the return of parliamentary democracy. These changes ultimately resulted in the division of the country in two. Yahya held national elections in December 1970 for the purpose of choosing members of the new National Assembly who were to be elected directly by the people. However, the results of these elections, which brought the politicians once more to the fore, led to the secession of East Pakistan and the creation of an independent Bangladesh in 1971.
Yahya accepted the demand of East Pakistan for representation in the new assembly on the basis of population. As a result, Bengali leader Sheikh Mujibur ("Mujib") Rahman's Awami League won all but two of the 162 seats allotted East Pakistan out of the 300 directly elected seats in the assembly (thirteen indirectly elected women were added), and Mujib wanted considerable regional autonomy for East Pakistan. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and his Pakistan People's Party (PPP) emerged as the political victors in West Pakistan in the 1970 elections. Bhutto's intransigence--he refused to participate in the discussions to frame the new constitution--led to the continuation of martial law and the eventual political and military confrontation between East Pakistan and West Pakistan, which precipitated civil war and the country's dismemberment in December 1971. With Pakistan's military in disarray, Yahya resigned, and Bhutto was appointed president and civilian chief martial law administrator of a truncated Pakistan.
Bhutto lifted martial law within several months, and after an "interim constitution" granting him broad powers as president, a new constitution was promulgated in April 1973 and came into effect on August 14 of that year, the twenty-sixth anniversary of the country's independence. This constitution represented a consensus on three issues: the role of Islam; the sharing of power between the federal government and the provinces; and the division of responsibility between the president and the prime minister, with a greatly strengthened position for the latter. Bhutto stepped down as president and became prime minister. In order to allay fears of the smaller provinces concerning domination by Punjab, the constitution established a bicameral legislature with a Senate, providing equal provincial representation, and a National Assembly, allocating seats according to population. Islam was declared the state religion of Pakistan.
Bhutto had the opportunity to resolve many of Pakistan's political problems. But although the country finally seemed to be on a democratic course, Bhutto lost this opportunity because of series of repressive actions against the political opposition that made it appear he was working to establish a one-party state. In a final step, he suddenly called national elections in March 1977, hoping to catch the opposition unprepared and give his party total control of the National Assembly. When Bhutto's party overwhelmingly won the election, the opposition charged voting irregularities and launched mass disturbances requiring action by the army to restore law and order. Bhutto was ousted by the military, which again took control. This action resulted not solely from sheer political ambition but from the military's belief that the law and order situation had dangerously deteriorated.
General Zia ul-Haq, chief of the army staff, became chief martial law administrator in July 1977 and president in September 1978. He suspended the constitution, with the army's stated objective being to create an environment in which fair elections could be held. However, Bhutto, his primary opponent, was tried and sentenced to death in 1978 on the charge of conspiring to murder a political opponent. The Supreme Court upheld the sentence, and Bhutto was hanged in April 1979. Zia cancelled the elections that had been promised and kept the country under martial law until 1985. During this time, Zia pressed the policy that Pakistan's survival and progress were dependent on building an Islamic state. A number of measures were taken to implement this policy, including the introduction of the Federal Shariat Court. A referendum held in 1984 confirmed Zia's policy of Islamization. In this referendum, a "yes" vote agreeing with Zia's Islamization policy was also to be interpreted as a vote for Zia to remain in office as president for another five years. According to the results reported by the government but contested by the opposition, Zia obtained 98 percent of total votes cast.
Zia's government also adapted Ayub's Basic Democracies structure to institute a new system of local government. Local councils were organized into tiers with union councils at the base, tehsil (subdistrict) councils above them, and zilla (district) councils at the apex. The system also included municipal committees and municipal corporations in the larger metropolitan centers. Councillors were elected for fouryear terms and could stand for reelection. The councils were designed to meet a need for grass-roots expression. Elections were conducted without formal political party affiliation or involvement. The councils were to concentrate on improving local development, including agricultural production, education, health, roads, and water supply.
In 1985 elections were held for both the national and the provincial assemblies, an amended version of the 1973 constitution was reinstated, and martial law was ended. Zia remained president, and the amended constitution, including the controversial Eighth Amendment passed by the National Assembly in November 1985, gave predominant political authority to the president. The president could appoint and dismiss the prime minister and the provincial governors and could dissolve both the national and the provincial assemblies. A significant feature of the 1973 constitution as amended in 1985, insofar as the Islamization process was concerned, was that the Objectives Resolution, adopted by the first Constituent Assembly in 1949 and made a preamble to the 1956, 1962, and 1973 constitutions, was incorporated as a substantive part (Article 2- A) of this restored constitution. The Objectives Resolution provided, in part, that Pakistan would be a state "wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and the Sunna."
Political parties were not allowed to participate in the 1985 elections, and the PPP, led by Benazir Bhutto (Zulfiqar's daughter), boycotted them. After the elections, Zia picked Mohammad Khan Junejo, a politician from Sindh and a minister in one of his earlier cabinets, as his prime minister. The ZiaJunejo period lasted three years until Zia dismissed the prime minister and dissolved the National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies. Zia cited incompetence, corruption, and failure to further the Islamization process as reasons for his actions. In addition, Zia came to regard Junejo as too independent, and the two men clashed on a number of issues including differences on policy relating to Afghanistan and promotions in the armed services. Zia also announced that new elections would be held.
Zia's sudden death in a airplane crash in August 1988 near Bahawalpur, a town in central Punjab, left Pakistan without a president, prime minister, or national or provincial assemblies. In a demonstration of the country's resilience, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, the chairman of the Senate--which had not been dissolved by Zia--and next in the constitutional line of succession, became interim president in December. Elections were held, Benazir became prime minister, and Ishaq Khan was subsequently elected president.
Data as of April 1994
Pakistan's independence was won through a democratic and constitutional struggle. Although the country's record with parliamentary democracy has been mixed, Pakistan, after lapses, has returned to this form of government. The constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan adopted in 1985 provides for a federal parliamentary system with a president as head of state and a popularly elected prime minister as head of government.
The president, in keeping with the constitutional provision that the state religion is Islam, must be a Muslim. Elected for a five-year term by an electoral college consisting of members of the Senate and National Assembly and members of the provincial assemblies, the president is eligible for reelection. But no individual may hold the office for more than two consecutive terms. The president may resign or be impeached and may be removed from office for incapacity or gross misconduct by a twothirds vote of the members of the parliament. The president generally acts on the advice of the prime minister but has important residual powers. One of the most important--a legacy of Zia--is contained in the Eighth Amendment, which gives the president the power to dissolve the National Assembly "in his discretion where, in his opinion . . . a situation has arisen in which the Government of the Federation cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and an appeal to the electorate is necessary."
The bicameral federal legislature is the Majlis-i-Shoora (Council of Advisers), consisting of the Senate (upper house) and National Assembly (lower house). Members of the National Assembly are elected by universal adult suffrage (over twenty-one years of age in Pakistan). Seats are allocated to each of the four provinces, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and Islamabad Capital Territory on the basis of population. National Assembly members serve for the parliamentary term, which is five years, unless they die or resign sooner, or unless the National Assembly is dissolved. Although the vast majority of the members are Muslim, about 5 percent of the seats are reserved for minorities, including Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs. Elections for minority seats are held on the basis of separate electorates at the same time as the polls for Muslim seats during the general elections.
The prime minister is appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly. The prime minister is assisted by the Federal Cabinet, a council of ministers whose members are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister. The Federal Cabinet comprises the ministers, ministers of state, and advisers. As of early 1994, there were thirty-three ministerial portfolios: commerce; communications; culture; defense; defense production; education; environment; finance and economic affairs; food and agriculture; foreign affairs; health; housing; information and broadcasting; interior; Kashmiri affairs and Northern Areas; law and justice; local government; minority affairs; narcotics control; parliamentary affairs; petroleum and natural resources production; planning and development; railroads; religious affairs; science and technology; social welfare; special education; sports; state and frontier regions; tourism; water and power; women's development; and youth affairs.
The Senate is a permanent legislative body with equal representation from each of the four provinces, elected by the members of their respective provincial assemblies. There are representatives from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and from Islamabad Capital Territory. The chairman of the Senate, under the constitution, is next in line to act as president should the office become vacant and until such time as a new president can be formally elected. Both the Senate and the National Assembly can initiate and pass legislation except for finance bills. Only the National Assembly can approve the federal budget and all finance bills. In the case of other bills, the president may prevent passage unless the legislature in joint sitting overrules the president by a majority of members of both houses present and voting.
Other offices and bodies having important roles in the federal structure include the attorney general, the auditor general, the Federal Land Commission, the Federal Public Service Commission, the Central Election Commission, and the Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman).
Pakistan's four provinces enjoy considerable autonomy. Each province has a governor, a Council of Ministers headed by a chief minister appointed by the governor, and a provincial assembly. Members of the provincial assemblies are elected by universal adult suffrage. Provincial assemblies also have reserved seats for minorities. Although there is a well-defined division of responsibilities between federal and provincial governments, there are some functions on which both can make laws and establish departments for their execution. Most of the services in areas such as health, education, agriculture, and roads, for example, are provided by the provincial governments. Although the federal government can also legislate in these areas, it only makes national policy and handles international aspects of those services.
The judiciary includes the Supreme Court, provincial high courts, and other lesser courts exercising civil and criminal jurisdiction. The chief justice of the Supreme Court is appointed by the president; the other Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president after consultation with the chief justice. The chief justice and judges of the Supreme Court may remain in office until age sixty-five. The Supreme Court has original, appellate, and advisory jurisdiction. Judges of the provincial high courts are appointed by the president after consultation with the chief justice of the Supreme Court, as well as the governor of the province and the chief justice of the high court to which the appointment is being made. High courts have original and appellate jurisdiction.
There is also a Federal Shariat Court consisting of eight Muslim judges, including a chief justice appointed by the president. Three of the judges are ulama, that is, Islamic Scholars, and are well versed in Islamic law. The Federal Shariat Court has original and appellate jurisdiction. This court decides whether any law is repugnant to the injunctions of Islam. When a law is deemed repugnant to Islam, the president, in the case of a federal law, or the governor, in the case of a provincial law, is charged with taking steps to bring the law into conformity with the injunctions of Islam. The court also hears appeals from decisions of criminal courts under laws relating to the enforcement of hudood laws that is, laws pertaining to such offenses as intoxication, theft, and unlawful sexual intercourse.
In addition, there are special courts and tribunals to deal with specific kinds of cases, such as drug courts, commercial courts, labor courts, traffic courts, an insurance appellate tribunal, an income tax appellate tribunal, and special courts for bank offenses. There are also special courts to try terrorists. Appeals from special courts go to high courts except for labor and traffic courts, which have their own forums for appeal. Appeals from the tribunals go to the Supreme Court.
A further feature of the judicial system is the office of Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman), which is provided for in the constitution. The office of Mohtasib was established in many early Muslim states to ensure that no wrongs were done to citizens. Appointed by the president, the Mohtasib holds office for four years; the term cannot be extended or renewed. The Mohtasib's purpose is to institutionalize a system for enforcing administrative accountability, through investigating and rectifying any injustice done to a person through maladministration by a federal agency or a federal government official. The Mohtasib is empowered to award compensation to those who have suffered loss or damage as a result of maladministration. Excluded from jurisdiction, however, are personal grievances or service matters of a public servant as well as matters relating to foreign affairs, national defense, and the armed services. This institution is designed to bridge the gap between administrator and citizen, to improve administrative processes and procedures, and to help curb misuse of discretionary powers.
Pakistan has had considerable difficulty developing stable, cohesive political organizations because they have suffered long periods of repression. Further, political parties, with few exceptions, have been founded as vehicles for one person or a few individuals, or to achieve specifically defined goals. When these individuals die or abandon their parties, or after party goals have been met, many organizations have lost their raison d'Ítre and have lacked the ability to carry on. In addition, political parties have been handicapped by regional and ethnic factors that have limited their national appeal and have also been torn by personal and class rivalries.
The Muslim League was founded in 1906 as the All-India Muslim League to protect the interests of Muslims in British India and to counter the political growth of the Indian National Congress, founded in 1885. Under the leadership of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Muslim League adopted the Lahore Resolution (often referred to as the "Pakistan Resolution") in March 1940 and successfully spearheaded the movement for the creation of an independent homeland for Indian Muslims. At independence the Muslim League was the only major party in Pakistan and claimed the allegiance of almost every Muslim in the country. However, with the deaths of its two principal leaders, Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan, shortly after independence and its central goal of creating Pakistan achieved, the party failed to develop a coherent, postindependence ideology. The Muslim League gradually came under the influence of West Pakistani, and particularly Punjabi, landlords and bureaucrats more concerned with increasing their personal influence than with building a strong national organization.
The Muslim League was further weakened by the constitutional impasse in the 1950s resulting from difficulties in resolving questions of regional representation as well as the problem of reaching a consensus on Islamic issues. Regional loyalties were intensified during the constitutional debates over the respective political representation of the country's west and east wings. In addition, East Pakistan had a larger Hindu population, and some strong provincial leaders believed their power depended on developing broad-based secular institutions. The Muslim League, however, pressed for provisions to establish Pakistan as an Islamic state.
Two powerful Bengali leaders and former Muslim League members, Hussain Shahid Suhrawardy and Fazlul Haq, used their own parties, the Awami League and the Krishak Sramik Party (Workers and Peasants), respectively, in a joint effort in 1954 to defeat the Muslim League in the first election held in East Pakistan after partition. Fazlul Haq had made the motion to adopt the historic "Pakistan Resolution" in 1940, and Suhrawardy, subsequently the last chief minister of undivided Bengal, had seconded it. But both men were alienated by West Pakistani domination of the Muslim League. Suhrawardy was elected leader of the opposition in the second Constituent Assembly and in 1956 was appointed prime minister, a further loss for the Muslim League because he was the first non-Muslim League politician to hold this position. By this time, the Muslim League had lost its influence in both East Pakistan and West Pakistan, having also lost its majority in the West Pakistan Legislative Assembly to the Punjab-centered Republican Party. The promulgation of martial law in 1958 and the dissolution of all political parties finally resulted in the demise of the Muslim League after its fifty-two- year existence.
General Ayub Khan formed a party called the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) in 1962, and Junejo established a party with the same name (PML-J) in 1986, but these two parties had little in common with the 1906-58 Muslim League in terms of their objectives and composition. After Junejo died in March 1993, Mian Nawaz Sharif took over the party and it became the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) for Nawaz Sharif. The death of Junejo signified the end to an uneasy coalition that had existed between the feudal lobby under Junejo and the representatives of the new industrialist classes who, under the guidance of Nawaz Sharif, were running the Islamic Democratic Alliance (Islami Jamhoori Ittehad--IJI) government of 1990-93.
Islami Jamhoori Ittehad
<> Pakistan People's Party
<> Muhajir Qaumi Mahaz
<> Awami National Party
<> The First Government of Benazir Bhutto
<> Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi
<> Nawaz Sharif
<> President Ghulam Ishaq Khan
<>Struggle Between Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Khan
<> Benazir Bhutto Returns
The Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) was formed in September 1988 to oppose the Pakistan's People Party (PPP) in elections that year. The alliance comprised nine parties, of which the major components were the PML and the Islamic Organization (Jamaat-i-Islami--JI). The IJI won only fifty-three seats in the National Assembly, compared with ninety-two won by the PPP. Most IJI seats were won in Punjab. Nawaz Sharif emerged from the 1988 elections as the most powerful politician outside the PPP. In December 1988, he succeeded in forming an IJI administration in Punjab and became the province's chief minister. It was from this power base that he waged the political battles that eventually led to his becoming prime minister in 1990. In the supercharged atmosphere of the 1990 elections, the electorate surprised observers. Neither the IJI nor the PPP was expected to come up with a firm mandate to rule. Yet the IJI received a strong mandate to govern, winning 105 seats versus forty-five seats for the Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDA)--of which the PPP was the main component in the National Assembly.
In the 1993 national elections, the IJI coalition no longer existed to bring together all the anti-PPP forces. The religious parties expended most of their energies trying to form a workable electoral alliance rather than bolstering the candidacy of Nawaz Sharif, the only person capable of challenging Benazir.
The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), the largest and most articulate of Pakistan's religious parties, was founded in 1941 by Maulana Abul Ala Maududi as an ideological movement to promote Islamic values and practices in British India. It initially opposed the Pakistan movement, arguing that Islam was a universal religion not subject to national boundaries. It changed its position, however, once the decision was made to partition India on the basis of religion. In 1947 Maududi redefined the JI's purpose as the establishment of an Islamic state in Pakistan. In order to achieve this objective, the JI believed it was necessary to purge the community of deviant behavior and to establish a political system in which decision making would be undertaken by a few pious people well versed in the meaning of Islam. Maududi's writings also gained a wide audience. He retired as head of the party in 1972.
In order to rid the community of what it considered to be deviant behavior, the JI waged a campaign in 1953 against the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan that resulted in some 2,000 deaths, brought on martial law rule in Punjab, and led Governor General Ghulam Mohammad to dismiss the Federal Cabinet. The antiAhmadiyya movement resulted in 1974 in a bill successfully piloted through the National Assembly by then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto declaring the Ahmadiyyas a non-Muslim minority.
The JI's views on Islamization and limited political participation were opposed by those people who saw the party's platform as advocating religious dictatorship. The question of whether the JI was a political party or an organization working to subvert legitimate political processes was raised in the courts. The Supreme Court ultimately decided in favor of the JI as a lawful political organization. Prominent in political life since independence, the JI was the dominant voice for the interests of the ulama in the debates leading to the adoption of Pakistan's first constitution. The JI participated in opposition politics from 1950 to 1977.
Under party chief Mian Tufail Muhammad, the JI supported the Zia regime's Islamization program, but it clashed with him over the 1984 decision to ban student unions because this ban affected the party's student wing, the Jamiat-i-Tulaba-i-Islam (Islamic Society of Students). The Jamiat-i-Tulaba-i-Islam had become increasingly militant and had been involved in clashes with other student groups on Pakistani campuses. Aspiring student activists, supportive of religious issues, have flocked to the Jamiat-i- Tulaba as a means of having an impact on national politics. The Jamiat-i-Tulaba-i-Islam also has been a major source of new recruits for the JI; it is thought that one-third of JI leaders come from the Jamiat-i-Tulaba-i-Islam. The JI envisions a state governed by Islamic law and opposes Westernization--including capitalism, socialism, and such practices as bank interest, birth control, and relaxed social mores.
The JI's influence has been far greater than its showing at the polls suggests. In 1986, for example, two JI senators successfully piloted the controversial Shariat Bill through the Senate, although it did not become law at that time. In addition, the movement of student recruits from the Jamiat-i-Tulaba-i-Islam into the JI has created a new bloc of Islamist voters. Through the Jamiat-i-Tulaba, the JI is working to leave a permanent mark on the political orientation of the country's future leaders. However, the Pakistani electorate has been resistant to making religion a central factor in determining statecraft. In 1990 the JI was an important component of the IJI but nevertheless won only four seats. Furthermore, in the 1993 national elections, the Islamization factor was even more muted because the religious parties--spearheaded by the JI--were not aligned with the two main contenders, the PML-N and the PPP. The JI and its political umbrella group, the Pakistan Islamic Front, captured only three seats in the National Assembly.
The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) represents another part of Pakistan's political spectrum. The PPP was a vehicle for the political ambitions of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. His immediate aim was to bring down the government of his former political mentor, Ayub Khan. The party's inaugural convention was held in Lahore in 1967. The PPP adopted the slogan "Islam our Faith, Democracy our Polity, Socialism our Economy." The party, like its founder, was enigmatic and full of contradictions. A left-leaning populist movement, the PPP attempted to blend Islam with socialism. The PPP espoused such policies as land reform to help the peasants; nationalization of industries to weaken the industrialists; and administrative reforms to reduce the power of the bureaucrats. The party, however, was built on the foundations of the wealthy, landed elite, Pakistan's traditional ruling class.
The PPP came to power in December 1971 after the loss of East Pakistan, when Bhutto was sworn in as president and chief martial law administrator. Bhutto lifted martial law in April 1972 and in 1973 stepped down as president and became prime minister. The PPP did little to advance the first two tenets of its platform, Islam and democracy, but promoted socialism with a vengeance. Bhutto nationalized large-scale industries, insurance companies, and commercial banks, and he set up a number of public corporations to expand the role of the government in commerce, construction, and transportation. The heavy hand with which Bhutto and the PPP exerted their power aroused widespread resentment. Matters came to a head in 1977 when the PPP won 155 of the 200 seats in the National Assembly with 58 percent of the total votes cast. The Pakistan National Alliance (PNA), a coalition of nine opposition parties and with 35 percent of the votes, won only thirty-six seats. The PNA charged widespread electoral fraud, and the resulting PPP-PNA confrontation and the accompanying civil unrest precipitated the imposition of martial law.
The survival of Bhutto's party after his execution in 1979 was facilitated by dynastic politics. His widow Nusrat and his daughter Benazir, led the party as cochairpersons. During martial law, the PPP joined with ten other parties in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) to pressure the Zia government to hold free elections under the 1973 constitution. Four of the MRD's component parties were members of the PNA, which had been formed to oppose the PPP in the 1977 elections. The PPP joined the MRD coalition, hoping the military would be prepared to negotiate with the MRD if it were part of a larger political alliance.
The MRD campaign launched in February 1981 appeared to gain momentum. In March 1981, however, a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft was hijacked by terrorists demanding the release of political prisoners. The hijacking was the work of an organization--Al-Zulfiqar--allegedly run by Bhutto's son, Murtaza. Although the PPP dissociated itself from the episode, the hijacking was a major setback for both the PPP and the MRD. Another MRD agitation failed in 1983. After Zia's death in 1988, the MRD was dissolved, and the PPP, the largest party in the alliance, contested the 1988 elections on its own. Although the PPP emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly as a result of the 1988 elections, it won a narrow plurality, and only with the support of the Refugee People's Movement (Muhajir Qaumi Mahaz--MQM) and other parties was it able to form a government. After a troubled period in power, the PPP government was dismissed by President Ishaq Khan in 1990. The PPP was the principal member of the Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDA), which lost the 1990 elections to the IJI. The PDA blamed its defeat on alleged tampering with the vote. The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, an international observer team, did note irregularities in the election but declared that the ultimate outcome was in general accordance with the popular will.
In the October 1993 general elections that returned Benazir to power, the PPP won eighty-six of the 217 seats in the National Assembly, while Nawaz Sharif's PML-N won seventy-two. The PPP was successful in forming a coalition with other parties to control a block of 121 seats.
The Muhajir Qaumi Mahaz (MQM), a party formed to represent the interests of the muhajir community in Pakistan, had a meteoric rise in the political life of the country. Founded by Altaf Hussain in 1984, the MQM won thirteen (out of 207) seats in the National Assembly in the 1988 elections, making it the third largest party in the assembly after the PPP and the IJI. MQM support of the PPP made it possible for Benazir to form a government and become prime minister. Shortly after the election, however, the coalition between the PPP and the MQM broke down, and the two parties' subsequently troubled relations contributed greatly to the instability of Benazir's first government. In the 1990 general elections, the MQM won fifteen seats in the National Assembly, remaining the third largest party. The MQM boycotted the 1993 National Assembly elections but won twenty-seven seats in the provincial assembly of Sindh.
The MQM had its origin in the All-Pakistan Muhajir Students Organization at Karachi University. At a large public meeting in Karachi in 1986, the MQM expressed the political and economic demands of the muhajir community. The MQM's political strength came primarily from the urban areas of Sindh, and its main emphasis was on securing better job opportunities for muhajirs. The MQM played an active role in the ethnic riots in Karachi in the winter of 1986-87. These disturbances brought prominence and notoriety to the MQM and its leader, Altaf Hussain. It was after these riots that the MQM leadership converted the movement into a political party. The MQM's full political weight was first felt in the 1988 elections.
The Awami National Party (awami means "people's"), which depends on Pakhtuns of the North-West Frontier Province and northern Balochistan as its political base, won six seats in the National Assembly in the 1990 elections. In the 1993 national elections, the party won three seats in the National Assembly. The Awami National Party was formed in 1986 by the merger of several left-leaning parties including the Awami Tehrik and the National Democratic Party. Khan Abdul Wali Khan was appointed its first president. Wali Khan's political career had been built on the tradition of intense Pakhtun nationalism inherited from his father, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. Both men were opposed to the creation of Pakistan, and after partition they were imprisoned. In 1956 Wali Khan joined the National Awami Party (NAP), led by a charismatic Bengali socialist, Maulana Bhashani. In 1965 the NAP split into two factions, with Wali Khan becoming president of the pro-Moscow faction. In 1972 the party was strong enough to form coalition provincial governments, with its partner the Jamiat-ul- Ulama-i-Islam (JUI) in the North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan. These governments were short lived. Wali Khan was again jailed, and his party was barred from politics when the Supreme Court upheld the finding of Bhutto that the NAP was conspiring against the state of Pakistan. General Zia subsequently withdrew the charges against the NAP. Wali Khan was released, joined the National Democratic Party, and ultimately formed the Awami National Party.
The Jamiat-ul-Ulama-i-Islam (JUI), led by Maulana Fazlur Rahman, had its origins in the Jamiat-ul-Ulama-i-Hind (JUH), founded by a group of ulama of the Deoband Movement in prepartition India. The JUH argued that Muslims could coexist with other religions in a society where they were not the majority. In 1945, however, a group of JUH ulama, led by Maulana Shabir Ahmad Usmani, split off from the JUH, formed the JUI, and gave their support to the movement for an independent Pakistan. Since 1947 the JUI has undergone a number of organizational and program changes. It developed strong support in the North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan. In 1972 it joined the NAP to form governments in those two provinces. In 1977 the JUI contested the National Assembly election as a component of the Pakistan National Alliance. The JUI did not sympathize with General Zia's Islamization program, and in 1981 the JUI joined the MRD to pressure Zia to hold free elections. The JUI won six seats in the National Assembly in the 1990 elections. In the 1993 national elections, the JUI was the main component of the Islami Jamhoori Mahaz, which won four seats in the National Assembly.
The Tehrik-i-Istiqlal (Solidarity Movement) was founded by retired Air Marshal Asghar Khan in 1969. The party's aim was to provide a vehicle, in the center of the political spectrum, for the growing middle class. Although the party acquired sizable support among the professional classes, including lawyers and doctors, it did not develop significant grassroots strength. In an effort to gain increased status, in 1981 Tehrik-i-Istiqlal joined a number of other parties in the MRD, but it left the movement in 1986. Tehrik-i-Istiqlal did not fare well in the elections of 1988, and Asghar Khan resigned as the party's chairman in 1989. In the elections of 1990, Tehrik-i-Istiqlal allied itself with the PPP in the Pakistan Democratic Alliance. In the elections of 1993, Tehrik-i-Istiqlal won no seats.
Benazir Bhutto, the first woman prime minister of a modern Muslim state, is clearly the beneficiary of dynastic politics and of the emotional ties of a large section of the electorate to her charismatic family. However, this legacy as the daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto has proven to be a mixed political blessing. Although she inherited her father's party, the PPP, and has led it to victory, the party won a very narrow plurality in the 1988 elections and was therefore forced to enter into a coalition with the MQM (representing Pakistan's muhajir community) and several other parties in order to form a government. Benazir wanted to repeal the Eighth Amendment in order to strengthen her position as prime minister but could not muster sufficient political support and soon abandoned the effort. Benazir also faced not only the old problems of the political role of the military forces, the division of power between the central and provincial governments, and the role of Islam, but also pressing new ones, including a large budget deficit and growing ethnic violence.
Several early actions appeared to strengthen Benazir's ability to deal with these problems. In choosing her cabinet, for example, Benazir kept the portfolios of finance and defense for herself but appointed a seasoned bureaucrat, Wasim Jafari, as her top adviser on finance and economic affairs. Her retention of Zia's foreign minister, Sahibzada Yaqub Khan, signaled continuity in pursuit of the country's policy on Afghanistan. Also, when working out their political coalition, the MQM agreed to support the PPP government at both federal and provincial levels. The agreement, signed by the Sindh-based MQM and the head of the PPP in Sindh, pledged to protect and safeguard the interests of all the people of Sindh, regardless of language, religion, or origin of birth, as well as to stamp out violence and to support the rule of law. The agreement--short-lived, as it turned out--was an effort to achieve peace and cooperation between the indigenous population and the muhajirs in Benazir's troubled home province.
Benazir's assumption of office brought great expectations from inside as well as outside Pakistan. In her first address to the nation, Benazir pledged to work for a progressive and democratic Pakistan--one guided by Islamic principles of brotherhood, equality, and tolerance. At the same time, she invoked the Quaid-i-Azam's vision for a Pakistan that would grow as a modern state. Benazir's rhetoric soared, promising much to an expectant nation: strengthened relations with the United States, the Soviet Union, and China; protected minority rights; increased provincial autonomy; improvement of education; introduction of a comprehensive national health policy; enhanced rights for women, with equal pay for equal work; and the like. When faced with the hard realities of government, however, most of Benazir's rhetoric did not translate into action. Although she was successful in advancing the democratization process in Pakistani politics and was able to achieve warmer relations with the United States and, for a short while, with India as well, Benazir's first term in office is usually looked back upon, by both foreign and domestic observers, as ineffectual--a period of governmental instability. Within months she had lost much of her political support.
The scion of the feudal elite of Sindh, the Harvardand Oxford-educated Benazir was often described as autocratic during her first term. Although she spoke of healing wounds and putting an end to the past, she was inexorably tied to her father's political legacy, which included harsh repression of political opposition. Further, her appointment of her mother, Nusrat, as a senior minister without portfolio, followed by the selection of her father-in-law as chairman of the parliamentary public accounts committee, was viewed in some quarters as ill-advised nepotism. Benazir's government also set up the controversial Placement Bureau, which made political appointments to the civil bureaucracy, although the bureau was later abolished. Benazir let the political legacy of her family intrude, for example, when able public servants, who had earlier harbored disagreements with her father, were dismissed for reasons other than job performance.
Benazir also had to contend with growing political opposition. As a political power broker, she was in the late 1980s no match for her main rival, then chief minister of Punjab, Nawaz Sharif. In the 1988 elections that brought Benazir to power, her party had won the largest number of seats in the National Assembly but controlled only one of the four provinces. Punjab, the most populous province, with over half of Pakistan's population, came under the control of the opposition IJI and of its leader, Nawaz Sharif, who was the only major political figure from the Zia era to survive the reemergence of the PPP. To maintain her power and implement her programs, Benazir would have needed to maneuver successfully between a powerful president and the military elite and to reach a political accommodation with Nawaz Sharif. Instead, she pursued a course of confrontation, including unsuccessful efforts to overthrow him in the provincial assembly. In addition, the failure of the PPP to share power and spoils with its coalition partners caused further alienation, including the withdrawal of the MQM from the government in October 1989.
The public's sense of disillusionment deepened as the government failed to deliver its promised employment and economic development programs. Inflation and unemployment were high, and the country's burgeoning population put increased pressure on already overburdened education and health systems. The government also failed to deal with the country's growing drug abuse problem, and there was opposition from religious conservatives who distrusted the degree of Benazir's commitment to the state's Islamic principles. Despite tensions, disagreements, and mutual misgivings, however, Benazir continued to be supported by the armed forces. The chief of the army staff, General Mirza Aslam Beg, publicly stated his intention to maintain a politically neutral army.
Benazir narrowly survived a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly in October 1989. Her government did not compile a record of accomplishment that might have helped to offset her other difficulties. No new legislation was passed, and fewer than a dozen bills, all minor amendments to existing legislation, passed the National Assembly. Benazir complained that legislation was stymied because the Senate was dominated by her opposition.
Benazir's problems were further accentuated in February 1990 when an MQM-directed strike in Karachi escalated into rioting that virtually paralyzed the city. The strike had been called to protest the alleged abduction of MQM supporters by the PPP. The resulting loss of life and property forced Benazir to call in the army to restore order. In addition to the violence in Sindh and elsewhere, she had to cope with increasing charges of corruption leveled not only at her associates, but at her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, and father-in-law. On the international front, Pakistan faced heightened tensions with India over Kashmir and problems associated with the unresolved Afghan war.
Finally, on August 6, 1990, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed the Benazir government, dissolved the National Assembly as well as the Sindh and North-West Frontier Province provincial assemblies, and appointed a caretaker government headed by Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, the leader of the Combined Opposition Parties in the National Assembly. In accordance with the constitution, the president scheduled national and provincial elections for October 1990. Ishaq Khan said his actions were justified because of corruption, incompetence, and inaction; the release of convicted criminals under the guise of freeing political prisoners; a failure to maintain law and order in Sindh; and the use of official government machinery to promote partisan interests. A nationwide state of emergency was declared, citing both "external aggression and internal disturbance." Benazir called her dismissal "illegal, unconstitutional, and arbitrary" and implied that the military was responsible. She added that the PPP would not take to the streets to avoid giving Ghulam Ishaq Khan's regime's any pretext for not holding scheduled elections. The military proclaimed that its only interest was in maintaining order.
Ironically, Benazir's successor, the caretaker prime minister, was one of Pakistan's largest landowners, also from Benazir's Sindh Province. Jatoi had joined the PPP when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had founded it in the late 1960s, was in Bhutto's first cabinet, and was later chief minister of Sindh until Zia overthrew Bhutto in 1977. Jatoi had remained supportive of the PPP during the martial law period and had spearheaded the campaign organized by the MRD against Zia's government. Following Benazir's return to Pakistan in 1986, however, Jatoi was removed as chairman of the Sindh PPP and subsequently formed his own political organization, the National People's Party. Known as a moderate, Jatoi said that his party's objective was to make Pakistan a modern, democratic, and progressive Islamic welfare state.
Jatoi's caretaker government instituted accountability proceedings against persons charged with corruption and, under the authority of laws enacted by both the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and the Zia regimes, set up special courts to handle accountability cases. The accountability process had traditionally been used to disqualify from public office those found guilty of corruption and wrongdoing. It had also been used as a weapon by politicians in power against their opponents. The period for accountability defined by the Jatoi government was limited to the twenty months of Benazir's regime. The PPP demand that Nawaz Sharif's Punjab government during that same time be subjected to similar scrutiny was rejected. Nevertheless, the Jatoi government defended the proceedings as fair and neutral. Although several charges were brought against Benazir, and her appearance before the accountability tribunals was required, she remained free and was able to lead her party in the October 1990 elections.
The Central Election Commission, consisting of three members of the senior judiciary, supervised preparation of the electoral rolls and the conduct of the 1990 elections as well as processing complaints and issuing reports. Although Pakistan has a large number of political parties, the two main contenders in the elections were both broad-based coalitions. One contender was the Pakistan Democratic Alliance, established during the campaign by Benazir's dominant PPP, together with the Tehrik-i-Istiqlal, headed by Asghar Khan, and two smaller parties. Asghar Khan had been Pakistan's first commander in chief of the air force and later became chairman of Pakistan International Airlines, before entering the political arena in 1969 and founding his own party. In the 1970s, Asghar Khan was one of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's harshest critics. Having helped to oust Bhutto, however, he did not benefit from the Zia military government, and in 1989 he resigned as Tehrik-i-Istiqlal's chairman. Political observers were surprised when the party joined the Pakistan Democratic Alliance.
The other major contender in opposition to the Pakistan Democratic Alliance was the IJI, the coalition that had also competed with the PPP in the 1988 elections. The Pakistan Muslim League was a major component of the IJI, as was the Jamaat-i- Islami. The three chief competitors for leadership in the IJI and specifically in the Pakistan Muslim League were Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo, and Ejaz ul-Haq, son of the late President Zia ul-Haq. These three men represented key groups in Pakistan's political culture. Junejo belonged to a major Sindhi landowning family and represented the feudal classes. Ejaz appealed particularly to Zia's Islamic fundamentalist supporters. His candidacy was weakened, however, by his relative lack of political experience. Nawaz Sharif, the ultimate victor, represented the country's growing business classes. The caretaker prime minister also aspired to remain in power, but his party was not a member of the IJI, and so he lacked sufficient political strength.
Other important parties included Altaf Hussain's MQM, representing the refugee community in urban Sindh, and Khan Abdul Wali Khan's Awami National Party, based in the North-West Frontier Province and northern Balochistan. Although in 1990 the PDA and the IJI were the major election contenders in Pakistan's three largest provinces (Punjab, Sindh, and the North-West Frontier Province), they had only a limited presence in the fourth province, Balochistan, where regional and religious parties, such as the Jamiat-ul-Ulama-i-Islam and the Jamhoori Watan Party, were of equal or even greater importance.
The central campaign issue in 1990 for IJI was the Benazir government's alleged corruption and wrongdoing in office. The principal issue for the PDA was the alleged unconstitutionality of her dismissal from office and the subsequent treatment of her, and her family and associates, by the caretaker government. The campaign was heated, including incidents of violence, harassment, and political kidnappings. Media coverage played an active role. During this campaign, the government no longer held a monopoly on television news because a second network, People's Television Network (PTN), had been started, to compete with Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV). The new network introduced Cable News Network (CNN) in Pakistan. The PPP filed a complaint against PTV, charging biased network election coverage by it, but the complaint was rejected by the Lahore High Court. Print media coverage offered more variety. Although government-controlled newspapers tended to be anti-Benazir, the larger private sector of print media provided more diversity of opinion. Both the PDA and the IJI predicted victory, but at least one detailed public opinion poll gave the edge to the PDA.
The election results were disastrous for the PDA, as the IJI won 105 of the 207 contested seats in the National Assembly. The PDA won only forty-five seats. The IJI attributed its victory to success in holding its coalition together as well as in establishing electoral alliances nationwide to ensure that PDA candidates would not run unopposed. The PDA blamed the defeat on alleged rigging of the elections. Although the elections were certainly not free of irregularities, observation teams both from inside the country and from outside, including a team from member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), concluded that the elections had been generally free and fair. Despite their problems, the 1990 elections were another step forward in the quest for political stability and democratic government. The constitutional transfer of power was achieved without direct military intervention.
When Mian Nawaz Sharif became prime minister in November 1990, his political coalition, the IJI, had more than a two- thirds majority in the National Assembly. The IJI alliance, a grouping of parties whose chief components were the PML and the JI, had been formed in 1988 to oppose the PPP in the elections of that year. In the 1988 elections, the PPP emerged as the single largest group in the National Assembly, and its leader, Benazir, became prime minister. At the same time, however, Nawaz Sharif emerged as the most powerful politician outside the PPP. Just two years later, the IJI under Nawaz Sharif's leadership achieved victory at the polls, and Nawaz Sharif took over in a peaceful, constitutional transfer of power--the third prime minister since Zia's death in 1988 ushered in a return to democracy. Nawaz Sharif's ascendancy also marked a transition in the political culture of Pakistan--a power shift from the traditional feudal aristocracy to a growing class of modern entrepreneurs. This transition mirrored the socioeconomic changes that had been at work in Pakistan, moving the country gradually from a feudal to an industrial society.
Nawaz Sharif, born in Lahore in 1949, belongs to a postindependence generation of politicians. Scion of a leading industrial family, he is a practicing Muslim, an ardent capitalist, and a political moderate. A graduate of Government College Lahore, with a degree from Punjab University Law College, also in Lahore, he rose to prominence representing an urban constituency seeking its own political identity. His family, along with other major industrial families, had suffered from the nationalization of large industrial enterprises during Bhutto's regime (1971-77). Nawaz Sharif had worked to build a political constituency that would favor private industrial and commercial entrepreneurship. He served in Punjab, first as finance minister and then as chief minister, before coming to national office. As finance minister, he presented development-oriented budgets. As chief minister, he stressed welfare and development activities and the maintenance of law and order.
In his first address to the nation after taking office as prime minister, Nawaz Sharif announced his government's comprehensive national reconstruction plan and said that its implementation would ensure the successful march of Pakistan into the twenty-first century. He stressed that proper use of the country's natural resources would be made, the pace of industrialization expedited, and the best use of talented manpower identified. Under his development policy, investment would be encouraged, and restrictions on setting up new industries would be lifted.
Early assessments of Nawaz Sharif and his government noted his initiative, youthful energy, and already proven ability and popularity in his home province, the country's power base. The newspaper Dawn pointed out, however, that his Punjab connection was both an asset and a liability and that "to acquire a genuinely all-Pakistan stature, he will have to have ingenuity, and acumen, magnanimity and vision, and the strength to take bold decisions."
Nawaz Sharif's cabinet initially included eighteen ministers: nine from Punjab, two from the Islamabad Capital Territory, six from Sindh, and one from Balochistan. His cabinet was later expanded to include representation from the North-West Frontier Province. Of paramount importance to the new government was implementation of Nawaz Sharif's program for strengthening the economy. Goals of the program included self-reliance, deregulation and denationalization, taxation reform, foreign- exchange and payment reform, administrative and law reform, and increases in agricultural productivity and exports. The government's economic strategy rested on streamlining the institutional framework for industrialization and on starting a new partnership with the private sector in order to promote common objectives. Nawaz Sharif regarded unemployment as Pakistan's major problem and believed it could be solved only by rapid industrialization. He said his government was considering special incentives for rural industrialization and agro-based industries and was fully committed to a policy of deregulation.
The IJI government was third in a line representing a dyarchical arrangement of shared power between Pakistan's civil- military and political forces. Nawaz Sharif and his predecessors, Junejo and Benazir, came to power under a constitutional framework in which, under the controversial Eighth Amendment introduced by Zia, the president was empowered to dissolve the parliament and dismiss the government. Both Junejo and Benazir had earlier been unceremoniously dismissed from office, and the constitutional framework limited Nawaz Sharif's ability to govern despite the support of a majority in the parliament. He, too, would be dismissed under the constitutional framework in 1993.
President Ishaq Khan had been credited with guiding Pakistan back to democracy after eleven years of autocracy and martial law under Zia. After Zia's death, Ishaq Khan, then chairman of the Senate, was next in the line of succession as stipulated in the constitution. The armed forces requested him to assume the presidency. As acting president, Ishaq Khan instituted an emergency council, and he and the council decided that general elections would be held in November 1988 and that political parties would be allowed to participate in them. When the PPP won these elections, Ishaq Khan called on Benazir to form a government, and she was sworn in as prime minister. Ishaq Khan was elected president by a combined sitting of the national and provincial assemblies, receiving 78 percent of the electoral votes. When Ishaq Khan dismissed Benazir and her government in 1990, he again called a general election. As a result, Nawaz Sharif was brought to power in 1990.
Pakistan's emerging two-party system was strengthened by the 1988 and 1990 elections and the constitutional transfer of power in 1990 from Benazir to Nawaz Sharif. In these elections, the two political alliances, the IJI and the PDA (headed by the PPP), became the main contenders for power. Although both alliances agreed on Pakistan's need for a liberal democracy and a market economy, the PDA opposition represented a real political challenge to the government, and Benazir conducted a relentless campaign to oust Nawaz Sharif.
From the outset, the Nawaz Sharif government's record was mixed. On the one hand, it achieved passage in May 1991 of the Shariat Bill, which declared the Quran and the sunna to be the law of the land. Islamic fundamentalists, on the other hand, did not think the bill went far enough. The more secular-minded Pakistanis feared that a theocracy was being established. A working group was set up to monitor and make recommendations for enforcing Islamic laws in the country. The working group adopted a nineteen-point plan that included calls for the implementation of all Islamic legislation, especially the laws creating sharia courts; transformation of the education system to reflect Islamic teaching; controls on the print and electronic media designed to ensure Islamic moral values; uniform and enforced prayer schedules; and the establishment of an Islamic banking system and the total abolition of interest.
Additionally, in November 1991 the Federal Shariat Court, Pakistan's supreme religious court, declared the provisions of some twenty federal and provincial laws repugnant to Islam. A particular problem was the ruling that payment of interest (riba) was prohibited by Islam even if the loan involved was for productive purposes. Although the government had publicly committed itself to Islamization, its major domestic policy initiative was the liberalization of the economy. If the ruling on riba were fully implemented, this new economic policy likely would fail. With no consensus in Pakistan regarding either the content or the pace of Islamic reform, Nawaz Sharif sought to strike an acceptable balance to enable his government to remain in power.
The government also had to contend with rampant crime and terrorism, which continued to be a cause for alarm in the country, particularly in Sindh. Kidnappings, bombings, and murders persisted despite concerted efforts by the police and the military to stem lawlessness. Pakistanis called this state of affairs the Kalashnikov culture because the flood of available automatic weapons gave long-standing ethnic and political rivalries a deadly new significance. The arms were largely a legacy from the war in neighboring Afghanistan. The police were increasingly outgunned, and even foreigners were not immune from attack. In the summer of 1991, the prime minister was forced to cancel an important trip to Japan in quest of investment in order to calm a population shaken by a particularly savage string of murders in Punjab. In an effort to stem the violence, the government decreed that Pakistanis turn in their weapons, but, predictably, few of them did. The government also passed the Twelfth Amendment to the constitution, which provided for the further jurisdictional authority of Speedy Trial Courts to dispense summary justice. The opposition, however, criticized the law as suppressing fundamental rights.
Nawaz Sharif held to his conviction that the solution to Pakistan's political problems was free-market reform and economic growth, so he liberalized foreign-exchange regulations and denationalized public-sector industrial enterprises and financial institutions. Furthermore, government approval was no longer required for the establishment of new industrial enterprises (with some exceptions, particularly in relation to arms and explosives). A number of important industries such as electricity generation, shipping, airlines, highway construction, and telecommunications were opened up to the private sector. Although there was support for liberalizing and privatizing the economy, there was considerable criticism of the process of implementation. Some critics feared that moving too fast could produce turmoil, with the resultant demand for renationalization. Other critics asked for protection for the more vulnerable groups in society who would not be able to compete in a free market. The government's ability to focus effectively on and deal with these problems was weakened by its involvement with the Pakistan Cooperative Societies and the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) financial scandals.
In keeping with his goals of consolidating economic growth and overcoming the country's regional divisions, Nawaz Sharif was convinced of the need for a modern national infrastructure, regardless of cost. As a result, he launched the construction of a US$1 billion superhighway project, which National Highway Authority chairman Hidayat Niazi described as a step toward building a nation.
Nawaz Sharif's government continued to be under pressure from within and without, and his ruling coalition, the IJI, was plagued by internal dissention. Tensions, disagreements, and political rivalries were present within the IJI's largest component, the Pakistan Muslim League. In May 1992, the fundamentalist JI, the second largest member of the coalition, formally left the IJI. Since its inception, the IJI had been an alliance of varied right-of-center and Islamic parties in a marriage of convenience to oppose the PPP. However, the PML and the JI had long been antagonists, and their disagreements mounted over a number of issues. The JI was unhappy with the IJI government's support of Saudi Arabia and the United States during the Persian Gulf crisis (1990-91), fearing that the defeat of Iraq would transform Shia Iran into a major regional power. The JI also criticized the mainstream PML for what it perceived to be foot-dragging on Islamization, including the matter of riba, as well as its abandonment of support for the Afghan mujahidin in favor of efforts to establish a neutral, United Nations-sponsored government in Kabul. The JI also criticized the government's policy on Kashmir as not evidencing sufficient commitment to Islamic "freedom fighters" there.
The government's chief opposition, Benazir and the PPP, criticized Nawaz Sharif's efforts at privatization, calling them the "loot and plunder" of Pakistan and saying his plan favored large investors and ran roughshod over labor. Benazir was also critical of the government's Islamization policies and continued to allege that the 1990 elections, which brought Nawaz Sharif's government to power, were fraudulent. In late 1992, she tried to organize widespread protest marches against the government. In response, Nawaz Sharif banned Benazir from two of the country's largest cities and ordered police measures against her supporters.
Benazir ultimately did not muster enough demonstrators throughout the country to threaten the government. However, Nawaz Sharif's actions, in the eyes of some, made him appear too willing to espouse repressive measures rather than adhere to democratic principles. Subsequently, relations between Nawaz Sharif and Benazir appeared to soften somewhat. He reportedly ceased calling her an "enemy of Pakistan," and Benazir abandoned her demonstrations designed to topple Nawaz Sharif's government through street power.
The ruling coalition appeared to weaken by early 1993. The four major powers in Pakistan continued to be the president, the military, Nawaz Sharif's IJI government, and the PPP opposition led by Benazir. Reports of a growing rift between Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Khan became more commonplace. The military--which never had an overt constitutional role in the government but which had historically been a key player in the formation and dismissal of governments--was closely and nervously monitored by observers.
A powerful player in the political equation was President Ishaq Khan. The president, under the constitution, is elected by a majority of the members of the national and provincial assemblies. Ishaq Khan was a seasoned senior bureaucrat-turned politician who had been a key figure in Pakistan for more than three decades. Born in 1915 in the North-West Frontier Province, he was appointed to the prestigious Civil Service of Pakistan after independence in 1947. After holding various regional posts, including being chairman of the West Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (1961-66), he was appointed to several positions in the central government--first as secretary, Ministry of Finance (1966-70) and later as governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (1971-75). In the latter position, he questioned the wisdom of a number of the economic policies of then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. He was subsequently moved from the bank and made secretary general at the Ministry of Defence. Although an unusual post for a senior economics expert, it proved to be fortuitous in that it brought him into close contact with the senior officers of the armed forces. Among them was General Zia, who later ousted Bhutto and turned the management of the economy over to Ishaq Khan. During the martial law period (1977- 85), Ishaq Khan's titles changed, but he was responsible for all important economic decisions. Among other things, he supported the Zia government's efforts to Islamize the economy by changes in the fiscal and banking systems.
In 1985 Ishaq Khan was elected to the Senate and later became chairman of the Senate. The death of Zia in 1988 thrust Ishaq Khan to the center of the political stage. When the military decided to use the constitution to handle the issue of succession, Ishaq Khan, as chairman of the Senate and therefore next in the line of succession, became acting president. He and the emergency council he instituted decided to hold general elections and to allow political parties to participate. Thus, the country was guided back to democracy, Benazir became prime minister, and Ishaq Khan was subsequently elected president by the national and provincial assemblies.
Ishaq Khan's position was considerably strengthened by the Eighth Amendment to the constitution, introduced by President Zia, which allows the president to dismiss the government and to override the government's choice of army chief. When the previous army chief died unexpectedly, President Ishaq Khan reportedly turned down the government's choice and named General Abdul Waheed to head the army. General Waheed, who is not known to have any political ambitions, is from the same ethnic group as Ishaq Khan--the Pakhtuns of the North-West Frontier Province.
Intermittent and conflicting signals of rapprochement, realignment, and behind-the-scenes alliances among the various political players heightened the political tension in late 1992 and early 1993. There was speculation that the opposition and the government might join forces to muster a two-thirds majority in the parliament to repeal the Eighth Amendment or even that they might field a candidate against the president. However, it was also noticeable that Benazir had stopped openly attacking the president, and some observers considered that she might be playing for time, hoping to use the differences between the president and the prime minister to her own advantage. The army, however, always a key ingredient in the mix, continued to support the president as well as the continuation of the Eighth Amendment. Against this backdrop, Pakistan's developing democracy continued to be tested by economic problems, persistent violence, and corruption, as well as the power struggles of its leaders.
In 1993 a protracted power struggle between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Ishaq Khan played out as Pakistan's two leading politicians maneuvered each other out of power. This period of behind-the-scenes struggle was described by a Pakistani daily as a "Silent Revolution" and was watched with some concern by the international community, which feared that Pakistan could once again fall under military rule.
On April 18, 1993, the power struggle seemed to be resolved when President Ishaq Khan, exercising the extraordinary constitutional powers afforded the president by the Eighth Amendment, dismissed the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. For the second time, Ishaq Khan had invoked the Eighth Amendment to bring down an elected government. The charges of corruption and mismanagement of the economy that he leveled against Nawaz Sharif were almost identical to those he had earlier brought against Benazir in 1990. President Ishaq Khan appointed Balakh Sher Mazari, described by the New York Times as heading "a tribal clan of landowners," as caretaker prime minister and announced a new timetable for elections.
On May 26, 1993, the Supreme Court voted that Ishaq Khan's dissolution of the National Assembly and his dismissal of the prime minister were unconstitutional. The Supreme Court's action was a sharp rebuke of Ishaq Khan's heavy-handed exercise of presidential powers and was widely hailed as a victory for the advocates of democratization. Yet, although the Supreme Court was able to reinstate the Nawaz Sharif government, the status quo ante was not restored, and the struggle between the president and the prime minister continued unabated, making the pursuit of regular government workings impossible. Noting the mounting impatience of the Pakistani military with the endless machinations of the country's politicians, the United States and the European Community communicated their concern, warning against a military takeover.
The continuing political crisis in Pakistan came to an abrupt halt when the prime minister and president both resigned after two weeks of intense negotiations among the Nawaz Sharif government, Benazir, and the army. The resolution of the crisis was unique because for the first time in the nation's history a government had voluntarily stepped down in order to avoid a possible military intervention. Interestingly, the negotiations had been mediated by General Waheed, the chief of the army staff. The resultant agreement and its implementation followed strict constitutional procedure. Ishaq Khan was replaced by the chairman of the Senate, Wasim Sajjad, who functioned as acting president until the elections. More important, Moeen Qureshi, a former civil servant and senior World Bank official, agreed to serve as caretaker prime minister. Qureshi, a Pakistani national, had left the World Bank in 1992, obtained permanent residence status in the United States, and established his own company, Emerging Markets Corporation.
During his three-month tenure as caretaker prime minister, Moeen Qureshi initiated a substantial number of strong reform measures. He devalued the currency and cut farm subsidies, while raising the prices of wheat, electricity, and gasoline--strategies to reduce Pakistan's huge budget deficit-- 7.5 percent of the gross national product (GNP). Qureshi also cut public-sector expenditures by instituting austerity measures, including closing down ten embassies and abolishing fifteen ministries. Qureshi's most daring innovation, however, was a temporary levy on agricultural output--a measure resisted by powerful zamindari interests.
Qureshi next proceeded to single out those politicians who had outstanding loans obtained from state banks and institutions--loans received under easy terms in return for past political favors--a total estimated at US$2 billion. In a move calculated to shame these individuals, Qureshi added their names to a published list of 5,000 individuals who had not fulfilled their loan obligations. Approximately 15 percent of the individuals on the list had planned to run for office in the coming elections. These candidates included Benazir, Benazir s husband, and Nawaz Sharif's brother. Most candidates quickly repaid their loans; those who did not were barred from contesting the October 1993 elections. Drug-trafficking barons, however, a small but powerful group including some members of the parliament--were permanently barred from running in the elections. Anticipating a further crackdown, several of the drug barons fled the country.
In his three months in power, Qureshi exhibited an admirable degree of technocratic efficiency tempered by dogged determination. Yet it remained to be seen whether his achievements would be accepted without reversal by the subsequent administration. Indeed, the Qureshi caretaker government, some argue, because of its temporary nature, was not much constrained by the realpolitik of Pakistani society that the succeeding government would have to face. The Qureshi government had, nonetheless, set a standard--one with which past governments and the succeeding government of Benazir would no doubt be compared.
In the National Assembly elections of October 6-7, 1993, Benazir's PPP won a plurality--eighty-six seats--but not the absolute majority needed to immediately form a government in the 217-seat National Assembly. Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League ran a close second in gaining seventy-two seats. Over the next two weeks, Benazir was successful in mustering the allegiance of a number of small regional and independent members of the assembly and on October 19, 1993, was able to reclaim power with 121 seats in her coalition government. The October elections were hailed as the fairest in Pakistan's history and were, according to international observers, held "without hindrance or intimidation." Voter turnout, however, was lower than usual, as only about 40 percent of registered voters participated.
Benazir benefited in the 1993 national elections from the MQM's boycott. In the 1990 national elections, the MQM, which had captured fifteen seats, supported Nawaz Sharif's IJI coalition. Benazir also benefited by the poor showing of the religious parties.
After only one month in office, Benazir was able to strengthen her position considerably. On November 13, 1993, Benazir's candidate for president, Farooq Leghari, an Oxfordeducated PPP stalwart, easily defeated acting President Wassim Sajjad, who was backed by Nawaz Sharif. In a vote by the two parliamentary chambers--the National Assembly and the Senate--and the four provincial assemblies, Leghari won 273 votes to Sajjad s 167. Bhutto hailed Leghari's election as a triumph for democracy and predicted that he would contribute to the country's stability.
Although the new president retained the constitutional authority vested in the Eighth Amendment to dismiss the popularly elected National Assembly as well as the prime minister, he appeared willing to support Benazir in curbing the power of his office. Leghari promised not only to support a constitutional amendment to annul the extraordinary presidential powers granted by the Eighth Amendment but also to challenge restrictive laws that related to Islamic religious courts and to women's rights. In order to amend the constitution, however, a three-quarters majority in the parliament is needed--a formidable task, considering the strength of Benazir's opposition and the unproven staying power of her coalition. Leghari's victory, nonetheless, was expected to end the pattern of disruptive power struggles between prime minister and president that had so undermined previous governments.
Early in her term, Benazir declared that she would end Pakistan's isolation and, in particular, that she would strive to improve her country's troubled relations with the United States. At the same time, however, she vowed to maintain Pakistan s nuclear program and not allow the "national interest to be sacrificed." Relations between the United States and Pakistan had deteriorated sharply during 1992 when the former threatened to classify the latter as a terrorist state because of its aid to militants fighting in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Although the United States withdrew its threat in mid-July 1993, the Kashmir issue still loomed large and threatened to complicate Pakistan's relations with both India and the United States.
Benazir faced another, personal challenge. As her administration settled into office, a bitter Bhutto family feud played out on the front pages of the Pakistani press. The feud pitted Benazir against her younger brother Murtaza and her mother, Nusrat, over dynastic control of the PPP. Nusrat organized Murtaza's election campaign for the Sindh provincial assembly, in which her son contested (in absentia) more than twenty constituencies as an anti-Benazir candidate. Although he could only occupy one seat in the assembly, Murtaza contested multiple seats because if he had won more than one, his political stature would have risen. The electorate gave Murtaza only one victory, however, and as he returned to Pakistan from years in exile in Damascus, he was jailed by the government on long-standing terrorist charges. In retaliation for her mother s championing of Murtaza's political ambitions over her own, Benazir ousted Nusrat from her position as cochairperson of the PPP, further deepening the family rift. These family squabbles were a distraction for the new government, but Benazir was expected to make progress on a wide variety of social, educational, and cultural issues.
The press, television, and radio are vital forces in Pakistan's political life. The importance of the press was evident even before independence. In prepartition India, Muslim journalism flourished until the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857-58, when many Muslim newspapers were shut down. Between 1857 and the Government of India Act of 1935, which gave a large measure of self-government to Indians, none of the major newspapers were owned or edited by Muslims. However, when Indian Muslims began to organize and rally to the political platform of the All-India Muslim League, concerted efforts were made to develop a strong press to support the Muslim national cause. A number of Muslim-owned newspapers were established, including Azad, a Bengali-language daily founded in Calcutta in 1936. Two English-language newspapers, Morning News in Calcutta and Dawn in Delhi, began publishing in 1942. In the late 1930s, the first Indian Muslim news agency, the Orient Press of India, was founded.
On the eve of independence, however, only four major Muslimowned newspapers existed in the area constituting the new state of Pakistan: Pakistan Times, Zamindar, Nawa-i- Waqt, and Civil and Military Gazette, all located in Lahore. A number of Muslim newspapers moved to Pakistan. Dawn began publication as a daily in Karachi, then the federal capital, on the day of independence in 1947. Other publications were also shifted to Pakistan including the Morning News and the Urdu-language dailies Jang and Anjam.
In the early 1990s, there are over 1,500 newspapers and journals in the country, including publications in Urdu, English, and in regional languages. The major national daily newspapers in Urdu are Jang, Nawa-i-Waqt, Jasarat, Masawat, Mashriq, and Hurriyat. The major national dailies in English are Dawn, Pakistan Times, Muslim, Morning News, Nation, Frontier Post, and News. Herald is an important English-language magazine.
Newspapers and periodicals are owned by either private individuals, joint-stock companies, or trusts. The National Press Trust, a nonprofit organization that is a major newspaper publisher, was established by businessmen in 1964 and taken over by the government in 1972. There are several other large newspaper and journal publishers. The two major news agencies in Pakistan are the Associated Press of Pakistan and Pakistan Press International. The Associated Press of Pakistan was taken over by the government in 1960. Pakistan Press International is a private joint-stock company.
Radio also has been an effective method of communication because the literacy rate is low and other methods of communication are sometimes not available. The Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation has played a key role in disseminating information and transmitting government policies as well as promoting Islamic principles and their application. Another state-run organization, Azad Kashmir Radio, broadcasts in Azad Kashmir. Television, although newer, has also been effective, with coverage in the mid-1990s reaching more than 80 percent of the population. Until August 1990, the only television channel was the government-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV). At that time, however, another television channel, People's Television Network was established. People's Television Network brought Cable News Network (CNN) to Pakistan.
The media played an active role in all three national elections from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s. Although the government-owned radio and PTV presented a progovernment line, the establishment of People's Television Network ended government monopoly of television news. In the case of the print media, government-controlled newspapers tended to express the government's viewpoint, but the large private sector of print journalism furnished a much greater variety of opinion.
The imposition of regulations based on the sharia was also reflected in the media. For example, the government required all women to wear dupattas, or scarfs, over their heads on newscasts and other PTV programs. Such restrictions, for instance, prevented the women's swimming events of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games from being telecast to Pakistan because the swimsuits were regarded as immodest. Radio censors also ordered a number of controversial songs dropped from broadcasting.
Pakistan's foreign policy has been marked by a complex balancing process--the result of its history, religious heritage, and geographic position. The primary objective of that policy has been to preserve Pakistan's territorial integrity and security, which have been in jeopardy since the state's inception.
A new era began with the partition of British India in 1947 and the formation of two independent, sovereign states--India and Pakistan. Both nations searched for their place in the world order and aspired to leadership roles beyond the subcontinent.
India and Pakistan became adversaries at independence and have so remained. The two countries fought each other shortly after partition, in 1965, and in 1971, causing the dismemberment of Pakistan and the creation of still another new sovereign entity--Bangladesh. India-Pakistan rivalry intensified rather than diminished after the Cold War, and the Kashmir territorial dispute remains dangerous and recurrent.
Pakistan sought security through outside alliances. The new nation painstakingly worked on building a relationship with the United States, in which the obligations of both sides were clearly defined. The Western-oriented, anticommunist treaties and alliances Pakistan joined became an important part of its foreign policy. Pakistan also saw itself as a vanguard of independent Muslim states.
Foreign Relations with ...
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A major focus in Pakistan's foreign policy is the continuing quest for security against India, its large, more powerful, and generally hostile neighbor. Pakistan was created despite the opposition of the most powerful political party in prepartition India, the Hindu-dominated Indian National Congress, and the suspicion remains among Pakistanis that India has never reconciled itself to the existence of an independent Pakistan. Several events further soured the relationship. One of these was the massive transfer of population between the two countries at partition, with its attendant bloodshed as Muslims left India and Hindus and Sikhs left Pakistan. There was also bitterness over the distribution of financial assets left by the British, with India initially blocking payments to Pakistan from the joint sterling account. An even more complex issue was the sovereignty of Kashmir, a concern arising from the accession of the princely states to India or Pakistan at partition. Although almost all of these states made the choice quickly, based on geographic location and the religious majority of their population, several delayed. One of these was Hyderabad, with a predominantly Hindu population and a Muslim ruler who did not want to accede to India. Hyderabad was a landlocked state in the south of India, and Indian military intervention was used to incorporate it into India.
The princely state of Jammu and Kashmir (usually referred to as Kashmir), however, had a Hindu ruler and boundaries with both Pakistan and India. Although Muslims constituted a majority of the state's population, the Hindu-Sikh community made up the majority in the province of Jammu, and Buddhists predominated around Ladakh. After a popular uprising against the Hindu ruler in late 1947, supported by Pakistani tribesmen and some military units, the ruler panicked and acceded to India. The subsequent Indo-Pakistani War of 1947-48 over control of Kashmir concluded with a cease-fire brokered by the United Nations (UN), which took effect on January 1, 1949. Kashmir was divided by a UN line between the areas held by the two countries, and a 1949 UN Security Council resolution provided for a plebiscite to be held under UN auspices to decide the issue of accession. India has refused to hold the plebiscite, and the dispute has continued. In 1965 war broke out again between the two countries over Kashmir, ending in another cease-fire in September. The Tashkent Declaration, signed on January 10, 1966, under the auspices of the Soviet Union, provided for restoration of the India-Pakistan international boundary and the Kashmir cease-fire line but did not result in a permanent solution to the problem.
Relations between the two countries reached a new low in 1971, when India intervened militarily in support of secessionist forces in East Pakistan, thus playing an instrumental role in the creation of independent Bangladesh. Although the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was fought over East Pakistan, heavy fighting also occurred along the Kashmir cease-fire line. Consequently, under the Simla Agreement of 1972 following the end of that war, the cease-fire line in Kashmir was redefined (it is now usually referred to as the Line of Control), and India and Pakistan agreed not to use force in Kashmir. The agreement also improved relations sufficiently for India to release some 90,000 prisoners of war taken when Pakistan's army had surrendered in East Pakistan.
The circumstances surrounding the conflict over Kashmir changed considerably over the years, as have the levels of UN involvement in the dispute. The military balance between India and Pakistan after the latter's defeat in the 1971 war heavily favored India. Another changed circumstance is that beginning in 1989, India has had to face a virtual "Kashmiri intifada" in its repressive efforts to keep a sullen and predominantly Muslim Kashmiri populace under control. This insurrection, India claimed, was supported by the "hidden hand" of Pakistan. Furthermore, the situation became even more complex with a growing movement among certain factions of Kashmiri militants for an independent Kashmiri state, precluding accession to either India or Pakistan. The volatile and potentially explosive situation in Kashmir continued to be monitored in 1994 by a team of UN observers, who operated under significant constraints. The Kashmir dispute continues to be the major deterrent to improved relations between the two countries.
Pakistan's suspicions of Indian intentions were further aroused by India's entry into the nuclear arena. India's explosion of a nuclear device in 1974 persuaded Pakistan to initiate its own nuclear program. The issue has subsequently influenced the direction of Pakistan's relations with the United States and China. United States-Pakistan relations over the nuclear issue are particularly prickly. Pakistan's relations with China on this issue, however, have been influenced by both countries' suspicions of India. In 1991 China called on India to accept Pakistan's proposal of a nuclear-free weapons zone in South Asia. In the same year, Pakistan and China signed a nuclear cooperation treaty reportedly intended for peaceful purposes. This agreement included provision by China of a nuclear power plant to Pakistan.
An added source of tension in Indo-Pakistani relations concerned the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. India refused to condemn the Soviet action, while Pakistan provided sanctuary for Afghan refugees and was a conduit for supplying arms from the United States and others to the Afghan mujahidin. During the Soviet Union's military intervention in Afghanistan, therefore, Pakistan felt an increased threat on both its eastern and northwestern borders. The rise of militant Hinduism in India, and the accompanying violence against Muslims there, was a further source of uneasiness between the two countries.
In November 1992, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, and the five former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan created an extended Muslim economic block linking Asia and Europe. As a result, the expanded Economic Co-operation Organization (ECO), in terms of geographic territory covered, became the largest economic bloc after the European Community. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif noted in a speech marking the occasion that the ECO "now corresponds to the boundaries of the ancient area, which brought prosperity and civilization. . . through fruitful exchanges along the historic silk route. The people of these lands have a shared history and common spiritual and cultural values." Nawaz Sharif added his belief that extensive investment in infrastructure and encouragement of the private sector were the most important immediate objectives. He noted that Pakistan was building a major highway network to link Central Asia to the Arabian Sea and that its railroads were "poised to link not only member states but also ECO with Europe, Russia, and South Asia." He added that "peace in Afghanistan is essential for political harmony and fruitful cooperation in our entire region."
Pakistan's desire for maximum balance and diversification in its external relations has also led to close relations with China--a valuable geopolitical connection. In 1950 Pakistan recognized the new People's Republic of China, the third noncommunist state and the first Muslim country to do so. The deterioration in Sino-Indian relations that culminated in the 1962 border war provided new opportunities for Pakistan's relations with China. The two countries reached agreement on the border between them, and a road was built linking China's Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region with the Northern Areas of Pakistan. China supported Pakistan diplomatically in both its 1965 and 1971 wars with India and provided Pakistan with economic and military assistance. Pakistan's China connection enabled it to facilitate the 1971 visit of United States secretary of state Henry Kissinger to that country, and in the 1980s China and the United States supplied military and economic assistance through Pakistan to the Afghan mujahidin fighting the Soviet occupation forces. Pakistan's ties with China remain strong, and friendly relations between the two countries continue to be an important factor in Pakistan's foreign policy.
Pakistan also maintains close relations with the Islamic countries of the Middle East. These ties are important for religious, strategic, political, and economic reasons. In 1955 Pakistan, together with Iran, Iraq, and Turkey, joined the Baghdad Pact, a security arrangement later called the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) after Iraq's withdrawal. CENTO was buttressed in 1964 by a regional arrangement among Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey called the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD), and economic cooperation activities overshadowed the security aspects of the countries' relations. CENTO was disbanded in 1979 with the overthrow of Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi's government in Iran, and the RCD dissolved. The RCD was effectively revived in 1984 as the ECO.
Pakistan's foreign policy fostered stronger ties with the Middle East through expanded trade. In addition, Pakistani workers employed in the Persian Gulf states, Libya, and Iran provided remittances to Pakistan that were a major source of foreign-exchange earnings. The loss of remittances caused by the 1991 Persian Gulf War was a serious concern to Pakistan. During the war, Pakistani units were sent to Saudi Arabia as components of the multinational forces. Pakistan has also contributed to the defense systems of several Arab states, supplying both officers and men. Pakistan has strengthened its Islamic ties by playing a leading role in the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and has also supported the Palestinian cause, withholding recognition of Israel.
Pakistan's ties with Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states were strained during the 1990-91 crisis in the gulf. Although a member of the United States-led international coalition, Pakistan played only a limited role, sending a force of 11,000 troops tasked with "protecting" religious sites in Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, during the war a vocal segment of public opinion in Pakistan supported ousting the Kuwaiti monarch and approved of Saddam Husayn's defiance of the United States-led coalition. The then chief of the army staff, General Mirza Aslam Beg, also expressed support for Iraq, resulting in further embarrassment for Pakistan's government. Following the Persian Gulf War, Pakistan undertook diplomatic efforts to recover its position in the region. In addition, many Pakistani expatriate workers returned to their jobs, and cooperative defense training activities continued. As a result, Pakistan largely restored its position as an influential player in the region.
Although Pakistan's foreign policy has been dominated by problems with India as well as by efforts to maximize its own external support, its relationship with the West, particularly Britain and the United States, was of major importance. At independence in 1947, Pakistan became a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. After independence Pakistan retained Britons in high administrative and military positions. Britain also was the primary source of military supplies and officer training. Many of Pakistan's key policy makers, including the nation's founding father, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, had studied in Britain and had great faith in the British sense of justice. Over the years, however, there was disillusionment at what Pakistanis perceived as Britain's indifference toward Pakistan and its failure to treat Pakistan fairly in dealings where India was involved. Nevertheless, Pakistan remained in the Commonwealth even after the country became a republic under the constitution of 1956. Pakistan withdrew its membership in the Commonwealth in 1972 to protest the recognition of Bangladesh by Britain, Australia, and New Zealand but rejoined in October 1989 under Benazir's first government.
Pakistan's relations with the United States developed against the backdrop of the Cold War. Pakistan's strategic geographic position made it a valuable partner in Western alliance systems to contain the spread of communism. In 1954 Pakistan signed a Mutual Defense Agreement with the United States and subsequently became a member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and CENTO. These agreements placed Pakistan in the United States sphere of influence. Pakistan was also used as a base for United States military reconnaissance flights over Soviet territory. During the Cold War years, Pakistan was considered one of Washington's closest allies in Asia.
Pakistan, in return, received large amounts of economic and military assistance. The program of military assistance continued until the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War when President Lyndon B. Johnson placed an embargo on arms shipments to Pakistan and India. The United States embargo on arms shipments to Pakistan remained in place during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and was not lifted until 1975, during the administration of President Gerald R. Ford.
United States-Pakistani relations preceding the 1971 war were characterized by poor communication and much confusion. The administration of President Richard M. Nixon was forced to formulate a public stance on the brutal crackdown on East Pakistanis by West Pakistani troops that began in March 25, 1971, and it maintained that the crackdown was essentially an internal affair of Pakistan in which direct intervention of outside powers was to be avoided. The Nixon administration expressed its concern about human rights violations to Pakistan and restricted the flow of assistance--yet it stopped short of an open condemnation.
Despite the United States widely publicized "tilt" toward Pakistan during the 1971 war, Pakistan's new leader, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, felt betrayed. In his opinion, the United States could have prevented India from intervening in Pakistan's civil war, thereby saving his country the trauma of defeat and dismemberment. Bhutto now strove to lessen Pakistan's dependence on the United States.
The foreign policy Bhutto envisioned would place Pakistan at the forefront of Islamic nations. Issues central to the developing world would take precedence in foreign affairs over those of the superpowers. Bhutto called this policy "bilateralism," which implied neutrality in the Cold War with equal treatment accorded both superpowers. Bhutto's distancing of Islamabad from Washington and other Western links was accompanied by Pakistan's renewed bid for leadership in the developing world.
Following the loss of the East Wing, Pakistan withdrew from SEATO. Pakistan's military links with the West continued to decline throughout Bhutto's tenure in power and into the first years of the Zia regime. CENTO was disbanded following the fall of the shah of Iran in March 1979, and Pakistan then joined the Nonaligned Movement. Zia also continued Bhutto's policy of developing Pakistan's nuclear capability. This policy had originated as a defensive measure in reaction to India's explosion of a nuclear device in 1974. In April 1979, President Jimmy Carter cut off economic assistance to Pakistan, except for food assistance, as required under the Symington Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. This amendment called for ceasing economic assistance to nonnuclear weapon countries that imported uranium-enrichment technology. Relations between the United States and Pakistan were further strained in November 1979 when protesters sacked the United States embassy in Islamabad, resulting in the death of four persons. The violence had been sparked by a false report that the United States was involved in a fire at the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 revived the close relationship between Pakistan and the United States. Initially, however, the Carter administration's offer the following month of US$400 million in economic and military aid to Pakistan was spurned by Zia, who termed it "peanuts." Under President Ronald Reagan, the United States agreed in 1981 to provide US$3.2 billion to Pakistan over a period of six years, equally divided between economic and military assistance. However, although the Symington Amendment was waived, the amount was subject to the annual appropriation process. A second economic and military assistance program was announced in 1986, this time for over US$4.0 billion, with 57 percent for economic assistance. The continuation of the war in Afghanistan led to waivers--in the case of Pakistan--of legislative restrictions on providing aid to countries with nuclear programs. The Pressler Amendment of 1985 required that if the United States president could not certify to Congress on an annual basis that Pakistan did not possess a nuclear weapon, United States assistance to that country would be cut off. For several years, the United States president, with Pakistan's assurances that its nuclear program was for peaceful uses, was able to make this certification. However, with the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 and the end of the Cold War, the United States took a harder position on the nuclear weapons issue. In 1990 President George Bush refused to make the certification required under the Pressler Amendment, and assistance to Pakistan was subsequently terminated.
After 1990 Pakistan's retention of the nuclear option became a defining issue in its relations with the United States. Pakistan, like India, considered the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons to be discriminatory--allowing the five acknowledged nuclear states to keep their weapons while banning others from joining the club. Pakistan declared that it would sign the treaty only in the unlikely event that India did so first. India refused to join any regional accord as long as China possessed nuclear weapons. Although the United States government continued to push both India and Pakistan for a regional solution to the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation, Pakistan complained that it bore the brunt of United States antiproliferation policies.
The underpinnings of the long and close security relationship between the United States and Pakistan existed as of early 1994, although the 1954 Mutual Defense Agreement on which the relationship rested was increasingly regarded by some in the United States government as outdated--and thus less pertinent to the post-Cold War period. Moreover, despite Pakistan's differences with the position of the United States on nuclear and other issues, both countries were determined to maintain friendly relations.
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