- 一般財団法人 アジア政経学会
- アジア研究 (ISSN:00449237)
- vol.61, no.3, pp.1-17, 2015-07-31 (Released:2015-08-11)
This article discusses how Pakistani society has clearly distanced itself from terrorism. On 6th January 2015, the 21st Amendment Bill passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan has officially changed the constitutional definition of “Muslim terrorist(s)” into “terrorist(s) using the name of religion”. Pakistan has been called a hub of terrorists ever since several active terrorist groups are known to be based in Pakistan – such as the Sunni extremists Tahrik-e Taliban Pakistan (Pakistan Taliban Movement, TTP) or Sipah-e Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). Some of these groups are said to be supported by the Pakistani military and claim they will establish an Islamic order in society. However, Pakistani society itself has been suffering from terror and has been mobilized in the war on terror. This paper shows the transformation of Pakistani society concerning the concept of “Islamic-ness”.
Pakistan has been a frontline state in conflicts such as, the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, or the war on terror after 9/11. During the anti-Soviet war, Pakistan received huge financial and military assistance from both Western and Islamic countries. The Western countries supported Pakistan in the Cold War proxy war against the USSR, and Islamic countries provided assistance in the name of jihad against the Communists. In the 1980s, Muhammad Zia ul-Haq’s military regime promoted Islamization of society, a process which was never criticized by the international community which needed the Pakistani military regime’s cooperation in the war.
Needless to say, Islam is the national religion of Pakistan and 95% of the total population of Pakistan belongs to Islam. Although the peoples of Pakistan may have different religious practices in their everyday life, all of them are attached to a firmly based monotheistic faith, and regard Muhammad as the last Prophet. However, there has generally been widespread reluctance to criticize Islamization or even Islamic extremists who kill in the name of religion. Also, terrorists often expressed their disapproval of the Pakistani government as not being “Islamic” or being a “puppet of the US”. As a result, Pakistani society has often been confused concerning the “Islamic-ness” of its own governments. This may be one of the reasons why there was not much criticism of the extremists even if they killed in the name of Allah.
Since the tragic attack on a Peshawar school in December 2014, Pakistani society has evolved radically on that issue. Even Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who originally supported the idea of negotiating with the terrorists, has now approved an amendment to the Constitution establishing special military courts which are to be active for a two-year period only and designed to be rapidly dealing with crimes related to terrorism. The amendment states that Pakistan is willing to permanently wipe out and eradicate terrorism from the country. This decision shows not only the firm intention of the government on its war on terror, but also the decisive break with the terrorists who monopolize the cause of religion in Pakistani society. For Pakistan, it could be said that the consequence of voting such an amendment represents the greatest social transformation ever experimented since the Islamization of the 1980s.