Understanding Pakistan Project Team June 25th, 2007
By: Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr
Prelude to Pakistan 1941-47 (Excerpt from: In the Vanguard of Islamic Revolution: Jama’at i Islami of Pakistan)
The development of the Jama’at’s political outlook and plan of action is largely a result of its interactions with the various Pakistani governments since 1947. The manner in which the Jama’at’s political agenda has unfolded to give shape to its plan of action cannot be examined apart from the political context in which the party operated. The Jama’at’s politics, and especially the manner in which they have changed over time, are a function of the party’s experiences with the political process in Pakistan and the vicissitudes of its continuous interaction with other actors in the political arena. This has defined the party’s role in the political process.
Three interrelated processes have together served as the fundamental determinant of the nature of the Jama’at’s political activism and have also outlined the historical paradigm which has governed the party’s development. The three are the emergence of a more balanced mix of ideological fidelity and pragmatism in the Jama’at’s politics, the enclosure of the party’s ideological perspective and political aspirations within the territorial boundaries of the Pakistani nation-state, and the articulation and unfolding of the Jama’at’s legitimating function within that state. Together these molded both the impact Islamic revivalism made on the state and, conversely, the influence involvement in the political process had on Islamic revivalism. The Jama’at’s political discourse and organizational consolidation interacted with the objectives and needs of the Pakistan state to produce a symbiotic relationship between the two, above and beyond the mutual antagonisms which have characterized the relations between the party and Pakistan’s various governments.
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When Pakistan was created in the summer of 1947, the Muslim League and the Jama’at were at loggerheads, though instances of cooperation continued both before and after.