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Jurists and Bureaucrats

Of course, jurists and bureaucrats were central to the implementation of Nizam-i-Mustafa. For our purposes, three characteristics of such groups dovetail with Zia’s policy approach. First, both jurists and civil administrators in Pakistan are imbued with a strong sense of loyalty to the regime. Jurists and bureaucrats perceive themselves as “politically neutral” servants of the state. This orientation, perhaps under challenge since the administrative reforms of the early 1970s, nevertheless remains important in Pakistan. Second, jurists and bureaucrats are vitally concerned with maintaining stability and order in the state. Third, jurists and bureaucrats share common social characteristics. Both groups perceive themselves as members of a “service class,” which has its roots in the middle and upper socioeconomic strata of Pakistan. Both groups are also highly Westernized, educated in English and, in terms of ideological disposition toward Islam, overwhelmingly composed of “Islamic moderates.”

When combined, these characteristics resulted in policies congenial to those which were pursued by President Zia. Jurists and bureaucrats are predisposed to resist change. In particular, jurists have been loathe to write decisions in a way that might lead to what they would refer to as “judicial chaos.” Further, both groups take a jaundiced view of the importance of Islamic reforms. One finds little enthusiastic support for the Nizam-i- Mustafa among either jurists or civil bureaucrats. Finally, both groups remained politically loyal to President Zia, and were predisposed to follow his lead, particularly as long as his approach to Nizam-i-Mustafa remained cautious.


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Source: Islamization of Laws and Economy: Case Studies on Pakistan, Charles Kennedy. Republished with permission.