You are on page 1of 11

ELITIST POLITICS AND POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT OF

PAKISTAN

Topic: Relationship between Elitism and 8th Amendment of Pakistan

Submitted to:

Mam Fauzia Ghani

Submitted by:

Syed Alamdar Raza Zaidi 0848-BH-PS-15

Salman Aslam 0404-BH-PS-2015

GOVERNMENT COLLEGE UNIVERSITY


LAHORE
Contents
Abstract: ..................................................................................................................................... 3

What is Elitism? ......................................................................................................................... 3

MILITARY ELITES .................................................................................................................. 4

Role of Colonial Powers for the Creation of Elites in Pakistan ................................................. 4

EIGHTH AMENDMENT:......................................................................................................... 4

Reaction to the bill: ................................................................................................................ 6

Consequences of the amendment: .......................................................................................... 6

Eight Amendment as Mean to Centralization of Power ............................................................ 6

Dissolution of Assemblies ..................................................................................................... 6

Abolishment of Student Unions ............................................................................................. 7

Delay in Elections .................................................................................................................. 7

Referendum: ........................................................................................................................... 7

Islamization ............................................................................................................................ 7

New Elite class of Mullahs and Clerics: ................................................................................ 8

Qanoon e Shahadat ................................................................................................................ 9

Parallel Courts System/Federal Shariat court ........................................................................ 9

Afghan War ............................................................................................................................ 9

Censorship of Regime .......................................................................................................... 10

Politics behind 8th amendment ................................................................................................. 10

Conclusion ............................................................................................................................... 10

BIBILOGRAPHY .................................................................................................................... 11
Abstract:
This paper is a critical analysis of the historic Eight amendment to the constitution of
Pakistan and its affect on the elitism. This paper also explains the ways through which the
eight amendment established a new class of elite which were kept always from the matters of
the state i.e. clerics. It also explains the Islamization policy of the Zia and its long-term
effects on Pakistan. It simply put light on the disruption and dysfunctionality of democracy
due to sudden Martial Laws which in result weakened the state apparatus and increased crisis
of Pakistan.

What is Elitism?
Elitism is the main aspect of political structure of Pakistan. A group of people who have
authority adn takes part in decision making process is known as elite. They are the power
holders in the body of politics and enjoy dominant positions in the political structure of states.
There vested interests revolved around the struggle for power and this of structure governing,
elites has direct control on political bodies.

Contrary to this, non-governing elites wield extensive institutionalized influence on them.


Moreover Pakistan’s power structure is relatively pluralistic one. There is no single elite
group able to control political power. They compete with each other in order to get dominant
position. This competition is held among various elite group which includes:

 Military elites
 Bureaucratic elites
 Land-owning elites
 Industrial elites
 Religious elites
 Professional Elites

These groups form horizontal and vertical alliances in order to strengthen their position. In
horizontal alliance, they maintain good relations with each other while in vertical alliance,
they take support from local masses.
MILITARY ELITES
Military Elites is the group of army officers who use authoritative action to maintain law and
order situation and under disguise to fulfil their personal interests. Military elites came to
existence since the inception of Pakistan. There are two main reasons why military elites
have entrenched their feet in politics of Pakistan.

First is the failure of Parliament and second is the formation of factions in Muslim League.
Both these factors paved the way for military elites to take over.

Role of Colonial Powers for the Creation of Elites in

Pakistan
Colonialism played an important role in the promotion of elitist perspective in subcontinent.
Before the advent of colonialism, military was not a formal institution. In order to rule over
India, the colonial masters transformed military into strong formal institution whose purpose
was to protect its colony from external threats as well as to maintain hegemony in
subcontinent. Furthermore, they turned their attention towards educational reforms. Their
intentions were to promote educational elite class. For this purpose, they promoted a class
whose features would be Indian in blood and colour but English in taste, opinion, in moral
and intellect. Colonizers institutionalized elitism through these steps.

EIGHTH AMENDMENT:
On Sept 10, 1985, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Iqbal Ahmad Khan presented a
draft bill which caused an unprecedented uproar in the parliament. This draft of the bill is
commonly known as the eight amendments.

Aim

The amendment was aimed at bringing balance of power between the prime minister and the
president saying precisely empowering more to the president by giving him the constitutional
power of dissolving the national assembly, dismissing the prime minister and dissolving the
other provincial assemblies resulting in seeking for the fresh mandate through the use of
famous Article 58(2) b.

What actually happened?

But the amendment changed the system of government from Parliamentary democracy to the
semi presidential which ultimately made Prime minister subordinate to the President. It also
resulted in minimising the power of the Parliament and cabinet and to do anything Prime
minister was bound to seek the consent of the President while in case of conflict and
disobedience President may dismiss the Prime minister and the cabinet as well the assemblies
while asking for the fresh mandate.

All actions of the martial law government since July 5, 1977 takeover legalised through
an act of Parliament.

Through this act the overthrow of the civilian government and act of martial law was
legalised and in the same way all the orders which were issued by the dictator were also
legalised through the very act of the parliament. In short the legal cover was provided to all
the act of the Zia ul Haq. This was basically the thing which Zia actually wanted.

It also provided the President with the power of appointing some higher officials including
the heads of the armed forces and other institutions prior which was the prerogative of the
Prime minister. It also caused in the change of the Electoral College for the president
including both the parliament and the provincial assemblies. It also provided the President
with the power of appointing the judges of the High court and the Supreme court.. He could
also ask the prime minister to hold a referendum on some thorny issues.

When the bill was first tabled it caused a tremendous anxiety among the members of the
parliament, they were not ready to even talk about it and considered it as signing their death
warrants by themselves. The reaction to the bill was unusual for the presidential camp so that
to make some way forward they tried to negotiate with the members of the parliament and
threatened them in case of the failure of this bill. General might have packed the assemblies
and everything. The seasoned politicians warned the MNA’s of the possible consequences.
Now the situation had arisen of ‘give and take’ for that purpose more and more meetings
were held but all in vain. Prime Minister Junejo tried to solve the problem by forming a
committee of liberals and the right wing politicians but it failed too.
Reaction to the bill:
General Zia discussed the situation with his minister and the ministers told him about the
moods of the MNA’s and convinced him to withdraw the first bill. So the first bill was
withdrawn while after a week second bill was presented which did not had much changes but
it had a softer tone as compared to the first one. It took many days to debate the second draft,
however, it was passed on Oct 17, 1985, after some reports of ‘special messages’ to the
groups of active members.

Consequences of the amendment:


The amendment had very serious consequences in the history of Pakistan which loomed long
after the death of the Zia. Three years later General Zia proved that the changes were not just
ceremonial but he had the intention to apply these changes when he had disagreement with
the Junejo’s government and overthrew his government through the use of 58(2) b on May
29, 1988. While four more governments were dissolved through the use of this power.

Eight Amendment as Mean to Centralization of

Power
When Zia came into power, his main focus was accumulation of power in his own institution.
For this purpose, he took many steps leading towards centralization of power making him the
strongest individual of his state. He was very much close to religious elites as we all know
that religious elites always try to centralize power into their own hands. 8 th amendment was
one of the most significant manoeuvres of constitution in order to strengthen his own office.

The initiatives which he had taken to serve his own self interest are as follows:

Dissolution of Assemblies
Assemblies of state have membership of the representative of people who are elected through
certain procedure. They are there to propagate the real needs of the ones who elected them as
their representation. The first and foremost step taken by every dictator is of dissolution of
the assemblies in order to take all power in his own hands. He centralized the fragmented
authority in one individual making him the supreme leader.
Abolishment of Student Unions
Student unions had an imperative role in the enhancement of political activities. They were
the ones increasing the culture of participant political society and raised slogans against the
ruling authority if it was making decisions against common mans choice.

Student unions were responsible for the nourishment of fellow citizens to take part in political
activities or at least stay updated about the ongoing situation. But unfortunately when Zia
took over, he banned the formation of any student union as it was a threat to his position
which he was attaining through exploitation of true democratic regime of Z.A Bhutto.

Delay in Elections
When Zia imposed martial law on July 5, 1977 under the operation Fair Play, it wasn’t
actually a fair play. He misguided the public by promising them election after 90 days since
the martial law was accentuated. He knew that if he let elections took place, then he will go
out of power as Z.A Bhutto was extremely popular among people. Z.A was a personality cult
at that time while calling him a Masiha and literally venerating him.

In order to tackle that, he used the method of red-tapism and later delayed the election.

Referendum:
To strengthen his office gen Zia also conducted a referendum under the umbrella of the Islam
on 19 December 1984. Voters were asked whether they want amending of constitution under
the light of Quran and Sunnah and want this process to continue and want more Islamic
policies. This referendum also extended the tenure of Zia ul Haq for five years. People
supported his referendum by casting in 98.5% in favour of the presidential camp. Zia
declared that the results show people are with him and they agree with his policies of
Islamization hence by manipulating the public opinion of Islamization he strengthen his
policies.

Islamization
The top priority of Zia regime was to implement Islamic code of conduct in Pakistan. The
process of Islamization started immediately, just five days after coming to power. According
to A.K Brohi, Zia’s law and religious affairs advisor, the main concern of the military coup
had been to put the country on Islamic system. In order to make a strong alliance with
religious elites he imposed Nizam e Mustafa (order of the prophet S.A.W). Basically Zia
wanted to please Right wing political parties under the disguise of Nizam e Mustafa. The
Pakistan National Alliance was formed to counter Z.A Bhutto. Zia took support from this
alliance in order to fulfil his personal political interests.

As Ali rightly states, whatever Islamization Zia had been enforcing was more to consolidate

his own personal power than to establish genuine Islamic order.

New Elite class of Mullahs and Clerics:

The idea of ‘Islamic Modernism’ held sway in Pakistan until the mid-1970s but
disappeared soon after1

Having a religious background and religious mindset Zia felt that religious elements have
been kept away from the matters of the state and government.

Past historian Dr Ali Usman Qasimi explains how from 1947 till about the mid-1970s, the
state and subsequent governments consciously kept the Ulema away from directly
influencing government legislation. Usmani adds that this was not due to the fact that those
who ran the state and governments between the mentioned years were secular. Instead, their
idea of faith and its role in the formation of Pakistani nationalism was different from those
held by the Ulema and the clerics.2 Because the elite, at that time, had Muslim nationalism
which was preached by the Sir Syed Ahmad khan and like-minded because they were the
pioneers of Islamic modernization in South Asia.

In 1949 objective resolution was passed in which Pakistan was declared Islamic republic
Qasimi reminds still though no particular authority was assigned to the clerics and Ulema.

After coming to power General Ayub wrote in his diary to make Islam a force of progress
and unity (in Pakistan), it needed to be rescued from the influence of clerics and
“retrogressive Ulema.” 3

General Zia was of the opinion that the Clerics have always been depicted in a negative
sense. Former GM PTV wrote in his book ‘Uncensored’ that after coming to power Gen Zia
issued one advice to the PTV which was to depict the Ulema and Clerics in a positive light. It

1
Dawn, April 30th, 2017

2
Curbing the mullah, Dawn, April 30th, 2017
3
Friends not masters, Ayub khan
was basically the initiation of the paradigm shift inn which the Ulema were to play a great
role in matters of the state and legislation in long term. So this shift in paradigm affected long
after the demise of the Zia through the floundering idea of Islamic modernism.

Qanoon e Shahadat
Zia also Islamized the judicial structure of Pakistan. He accentuated that every legal matter
should be preceded according to Islamic code of conduct. The aim of Qanoon e Shahadat was
to amend, revise, and to consolidate the law of evidence. But on a critical note law of
evidence was severely amended to affect the right of women. More importantly Zia was
totally against the women empowerment.

Parallel Courts System/Federal Shariat court


Difficulties for judiciary were not yet over .Another blow of Zia was the introduction of the
parallel courts system in order to check on judiciary. The federal Shariat court was set up
with powers to declare invalid any law or provision of a law as repugnant to the injunctions
of Islam. This was another show of lack of confidence by Zia in superior. Basic aim was to
check on the activities of institutions and the provision of space to Religious Elites, in order
to consolidate his own position.

Afghan War:

Assuming the presidency in 1978 Zia played a key role in Soviet Afghan war backed by the
US systematically producing the Afghan Mujahedeen to fight against the soviet in
Afghanistan. This was another tactic to prolong and legalise his office because he was
considered a dictator and his authority was not considered legitimate in the eye of world so to
legitimize his rule he supported the agenda of the international establishment. By providing
support to US against the soviets he earned a soft corner in West especially in America. Zia
produced the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan provided them training and every kind of
intelligence, logistic and financial support. The Ulema and Clerics issued decrees to establish
credibility of the Afghan Jihad. Meanwhile the Ulema and Clerics were provided special
protocols and huge sum of finance and weaponry was provided to them. This culminated in
soviet’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 but also led to the proliferation of millions of
afghan refugees and mass spread of weapons in Northern Areas of Pakistan which ultimately
led to the extremist society and them terrorism in Pakistan.
Censorship of Regime
In order to avoid the criticism from media, Zia also imposed restrictions on the freedom of
expression. No one has the right to castigate on the policies of dictatorial regime. Many news
papers like Daily Masawat and Daily sadaqat were banned. Political flogging of journalists
was very common at that very time.

Politics behind 8th amendment


Politics behind eight amendment was to centralize power in the hand of president. The main
aim was to manipulate all institutions for the sake of personal interest. He simply gave more
power to the president over prime minister and the whole parliament. Article 58-2B became
the reason for dissolution of the parliament. Zia wanted to get rid of Junejo and his selected
cabinet. This amendment was used by him to manoeuvre the authority. He was a sycophant
and this lust for power gave him the sense of how to serve his own interest and concentrate
power in his own vested body.

Conclusion
Conclusively, whenever the military took over, its first and foremost step was to weaken the
civilian governing bodies. This leads to gaps in democracy which in result weakened the
political institutions. Dictatorship was exculpated by calling democracy a failure even before
it was properly implemented. Dictators, whom took over government, had a opinion that
people of Pakistan are meant to be dictated as they cant decide for themselves. The opinion
can be seen proven wrong.

According to my opinion, as long as the military elites worked side by side with the civilian
government, the state institution got strong and state’s political system remained stable. The
state cannot prosper until democracy stays for enough time without any disruptions.
BIBILOGRAPHY
Military, State and Society in Pakistan (London and New York:

Macmillan/Palgrave, 2000). The Pakistani edition was published in 2003 by

Sangemeel Publications, Lahore).

https://www.scribd.com/document/79232542/Pakistan-Studies-Zia

Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali. If I am assassinated (PDF) (1 ed.). Lahore: PPP. Retrieved 22


September 2017.

Talbot, Ian (1998). Pakistan, a Modern History. NY: St.Martin's Press.

Hyman, Anthony; Ghayur, Muhammed; Kaushik, Naresh (1989). Pakistan, Zia and
After--. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications.

Khan, Hamid (2017). Political and constitutional history of Paksitan, Oxford Press