Pakistan, 1997

By Craig Baxter; Charles H. Kennedy | Go to book overview

6
Revivalism, Islamization, Sectarianism,
and Violence in Pakistan

Mumtaz Ahmad

After witnessing a powerful upsurge of religious revivalism and "Islamization" in the 1980s, Pakistan has come in the grip of intense sectarian violence on the eve of its fiftieth anniversary in 1997. The wave of Shia-Sunni violence, which has left many religious leaders dead on both sides, is being continually fueled and exacerbated by highly inflammatory speeches from the pulpits by the activists of the militant Sunni organization, Sipah-i-Sahaba ("Soldiers of the Companions of the Prophet") and, the equally militant Shia organization, Sipah-i-Muhammad ("Soldiers of Prophet Muhammad"). Pamphlets, posters, and handbills produced by the extremist ulama (religious scholars) from both sides are daily inciting their followers to "rise, take up arms, and seek paradise by eliminating the enemies of Islam." 1 While sectarian violence is not a new phenomenon for Pakistan, 2 the frequency of its occurrence and the numbers of its victims, particularly in Punjab, have assumed alarming proportions in recent years. Is this the way in which, after a decade of state-sponsored "Islamization," religious revivalism is being expressed in Pakistan at the popular level? What has been the nature of Islamic upsurge and "Islamization" in Pakistan? Is there a relationship between the processes of religious revival and the reawakening of sectarian consciousness? What has been the role of external forces and developments--also related to the world-wide upsurge of Islamic activism--in fostering sectarian division and conflict in Pakistan? Are

____________________
*
The author wishes to gratefully acknowledge research grants from the United States Institute of Peace ( 1992), the American Institute of Pakistan Studies ( 1991) and the Fulbright ( 1994-95) for field work in Pakistan. Needless to say, USIP, AIPS and Fulbright are not responsible for the views expressed in this chapter.

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Pakistan, 1997
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1 - Pakistan Elections 1997: One Step Forward 1
  • Conclusion 14
  • Notes 15
  • 2 - Is Pakistan's Past Relevant for Its Economic Future? 17
  • Notes 33
  • 3 - Pakistan and the Post-Cold War Environment 37
  • Notes 57
  • 4 - Judiciary in Pakistan: A Quest for Independence 61
  • Conclusions 73
  • Notes 75
  • 5 - Liberalization of the Economy Through Privatization 79
  • Conclusions 89
  • Notes 97
  • 6 - Revivalism, Islamization, Sectarianism, and Violence in Pakistan 101
  • Notes 118
  • 7 - Challenging the State: 1990s Religious Movements in the Northwest Frontier Province 123
  • Notes 138
  • 8 - Pakistan's Environment: Pressures, Status, Impact, and Responses 143
  • Notes 159
  • Chronology (september 1994-April 1997) 163
  • About the Contributors 181
  • Index 183
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