Political action Political process


Islam’s contribution to Pakistan’s political and cultural unification has generated debate. Some groups contend that the only thing that can unite the nation’s many culturally distinct peoples is Islamic philosophy. In opposition to regional demands that were stated in secular and cultural vernacular, opposing elements have claimed that the reliance on Islamic ideology has alienated regional groupings and damaged national unity.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto founded the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in 1968 in collaboration with a handful of liberal leftists who wished to see Pakistan forego the use of religion in politics in favour of a programme of quick modernization and the implementation of a socialist economy. In the 1970 elections, the PPP became the majority party in West Pakistan (though the Awami League in East Pakistan won the largest number of legislative seats). Bhutto was asked to establish a government in 1972 after the upheaval of the subsequent war, which resulted in the separation of East Pakistan into the independent nation of Bangladesh.

Benazir Bhutto, the daughter of Benazir Bhutto, led the PPP back to power in 1988–90 and 1993–96 after it had been crushed by the military regime in 1977–88. After nine years of military control, the party joined a coalition government led by civilians in 2008. Under Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Muslim League, founded in 1906 in what is now Bangladesh, was the driving force behind the fight for Pakistan’s independence. The Conventionist Pakistan Muslim League and the Council Muslim League split away in 1962 after suffering numerous setbacks and division by the time of the military coup in 1958. It almost didn’t exist as a political party in the 1970 elections, but it was revived in 1985 and emerged as the key member of the Islamic Democratic Alliance, which seized control of Punjab’s government in 1988. Since then, important individuals have been linked to Muslim League factions (e.g., Nawaz Sharif and Pervez Musharraf).

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