Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Military, Authoritarianism and Islam: A Comparative Analysis of Bangladesh and Pakistan

  • Md Ziaul Haque Sheikh (a1) and Zahid Shahab Ahmed (a2)

Abstract

The years 1975 and 1977 witnessed a wave of de facto military regimes in Bangladesh and Pakistan, respectively. In Pakistan, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq operationalized the country's preexisting Islamic identity from emblematic to substantive at both domestic and international levels. General Ziaur Rahman and General Ershad of Bangladesh revived the country's Islamic identity at the domestic and international levels and reopened the space for religious fractions that were banned from politics constitutionally in the previous regime. Focusing on military regimes in Bangladesh and Pakistan between 1975 and 1990, this paper aims to bridge that gap by specifically examining the use of Islam. This study argues that dictators in both countries used Islam to support their survival strategies of legitimacy, repression, and social control. Authoritarian rulers did not have to use Islam to maintain military coherence, because of the military's culture of subordination to superiors.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Zahid Shahab Ahmed, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Hwy, BurwoodVIC 3125, Australia. E-mail: zahid.ahmed@deakin.edu.au

References

Hide All
Abhilash, T. 2012. “Role of the Bangladesh Army in the Political and Religious Affairs 1990–2009.” PhD thesis, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Abootalebi, Ali R. 1999. “Islam, Islamists, and Democracy.” Middle East Review of International Affairs 3 (1): 1424.
Ahamed, Emajuddin, and Nazneen, D. R. J. A.. 1990. “Islam in Bangladesh: Revivalism or Power Politics?Asian Survey 30 (8): 795808.
Ahmed, Zahid Shahab. 2012. “Political Islam, the Jamaat-e-Islami, and Pakistan's Role in the Afghan–Soviet War, 1979–1988.” In Religion and the Cold War: A Global Perspective, ed. Muehlenbeck, Philip E.. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 275298.
Ahmed, Zahid Shahab, and Balasubramanian, Rajeshwari. 2010. Extremism in Pakistan and India: The Case of the Jamaat-e-Islami and Shiv Sena. Colombo: Regional Centre for Strategic Studies.
Al-Sayyed, Maryam. 2015. “Democracy and Islam: The Incompatible Puzzle.” In Religion and Representation: Islam and Democracy, eds. Mattson, Ingrid, Nesbitt-Larking, Paul, and Tahir, Nawaz. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2036.
Ali, Mukhtar Ahmad. 2000. Sectarian Conflict in Pakistan: A Case Study of Jhang. Colombo: Regional Centre for Strategic Studies.
Anckar, C. 2012. Religion and Democracy: A Worldwide Comparison. London: Routledge.
Aslam, Imran, and Ali, Kamran Asdar. 2009. “Media Matters in Pakistan.” Middle East Report, no. 251. https://merip.org/2009/06/media-matters-in-pakistan/.
Awan, Shehzadi Zamurrad. 2016. “Impact of Zia-ul-Haq's Gender Policies on Pakistani Society.” Pakistan Journal of History and Culture 37 (1): 2137.
Baxter, Craig, and Rashiduzzaman, M.. 1981. “Bangladesh Votes: 1978 and 1979.” Asian Survey 21 (4): 485500.
Bhardwaj, Sanjay K. 2011. “Contesting Identities in Bangladesh: a Study of Secular and Religious frontiers.” Working Paper, LSE Asia Research Centre.
Bhattacharya, Rupak. 1999. “Military Rule in Bangladesh: a Study on its Impact on Polity.” PhD thesis, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Bhuiyan, Jahid Hossain. 2017. “Secularism in the Constitution of Bangladesh.” The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law 49 (2): 204227.
Brasted, Howard V. 2012. “Islam and Identity in South Asia: At the Crossroads of Confusion and Confrontation?” In Islam in World Politics, eds. Lahoud, Nelly, and Johns, Anthony H.. London: Routledge, 112133.
Brooker, Paul. 2009. Non-democratic. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Burki, Shahid Javed. 1986. Pakistan: A Nation in the Making. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
Burki, Shahid Javed, Baxter, Craig, LaPorte, Robert, and Azfar, Kamal. 1991. Pakistan under the Military: Eleven Years of Zia ul-Haq. Boulder: Westview Press; Lahore: Pak Book Corp.
Burki, Shireen Khan. 2016. “The Politics of Misogyny: General Zia-ul-Haq's Islamization of Pakistan's Legal System.” Contemporary Justice Review 19 (1): 103119.
Centlivres, Pierre, and Centlivres-Demont, Micheline, 1988. “The Afghan Refugee in Pakistan: An Ambiguous Identity.” Journal of Refugee Studies 1 (2): 141152.
Chen, Naiwei, and Yang, Tsai-Chen. 2016. “Islam and Democracy—A Dynamic Perspective.” Japanese Journal of Political Science 17 (3): 329364.
CIA. 1981. Pakistan: Prospects for the Zia Government. Washington: Central Intelligence Agency.
CIA. 1983. Zia's Pakistan: The Politics of Survival. Washington: Central Intelligence Agency.
Esposito, John L., and Voll, John Obert. 1996. Islam and Democracy. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Finer, Samuel E. 1997. The History of Government from the Earliest Times. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Finer, Samuel E. 2002. The Man on Horseback: The Role of the Military in Politics. New Jersey: Transaction.
Fish, M. Steven. 2002. “Islam and Authoritarianism.” World Politics 55 (1): 437.
Franck, Hans Göran, and Nyman, Klas. 2003. The Barbaric Punishment: Abolishing the Death Penalty. New York: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.
Franda, Marcus. 1981. “Bangladesh after Zia: A Retrospect and Prospect.” Economic and Political Weekly 16 (34): 387394
Geddes, Barbara, Frantz, Erica, and Wright, Joseph G.. 2014. “Military Rule.” Annual Review of Political Science 17 (1): 147162.
Gerschewski, Johannes. 2013. “The Three Pillars of Stability: Legitimation, Repression, and Co-optation in Autocratic Regimes.” Democratization 20 (1): 1338.
Hashmi, Salima, and Batool, Farida. 2019. “Reframing the Contexts for Pakistani Contemporary Art.” In Intersections of Contemporary Art, Anthropology and Art History in South Asia, eds. Perera, Sasanka and Pathak, Dev Nath. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 7392.
Hashmi, Taj ul-Islam. 1994. “Islam in Bangladesh Politics.” In Islam, Muslims and the Modern State: Case Studies of Muslims in Thirteen Countries, eds. Mutalib, Hussin and Hashmi, Taj ul-Islam. New York: St. Martin's Press, 103104.
Hechter, Michael. 2009. “Legitimacy in the Modern World.” American Behavioral Scientist 53 (3): 279288.
Herb, Michael. 2005. “No Representation without Taxation? Rents, Development, and Democracy.” Comparative Politics 37 (3): 297316.
Hoodbhoy, Pervez. 2016. “Could Pakistan Have Remained Pluralistic?” In Faith-Based Violence and Deobandi Militancy in Pakistan, eds. Syed, Jawad, Pio, Edwina, Kamran, Tahir and Zaidi, Abbas. London: Macmillan Publishers, 3564.
Hossain, Akhand Akhtar. 2015. “Contested National Identity and Political Crisis in Bangladesh: Historical Analysis of the Dynamics of Bangladeshi Society and Politics.” Asian Journal of Political Science 23 (3): 366396.
Hossain, Ishtiaq, and Siddiquee, Noore Alam. 2004. “Islam in Bangladesh Politics: The Role of Ghulam Azam of Jamaat-I-Islami.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 5 (3): 384399. https://www.dawn.com/news/1364410.
Hussain, Iqbal. 2007. “Suffering for art in Pakistan.” The Guardian, 7 August 2007. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/aug/17/pakistan-prostitution.
Imran, Rahat, and Munir, Imran. 2018. “Defying Marginalization: Emergence of Women's Organizations and the Resistance Movement in Pakistan: A Historical Overview.” Journal of International Women's Studies 19 (6): 132156.
Iqbal, Nasir. 2014. “Marching on the Capital—A History.” Dawn, August 17, 2014.
Islam, Syed Serajul. 1984. “The State in Bangladesh under Zia (1975–81).” Asian Survey 24 (5): 556573.
Ispahani, Farahnaz. 2017. “Pakistan's Descent into Religious Intolerance.” Hudson Institute, Last Modified, 1 March 2017. https://www.hudson.org/research/13492-pakistan-s-descent-into-religious-intolerance.
Kabir, Bhuian MD. Manohar. 1999. Politics of Military Rule and Dilemmas of Democratisation in Bangladesh. New Delhi: South Asian Publishers.
Kanwal, Lubna. 2015. “Zia, Islam and Politics of Legitimacy.” Al-Adwa 43 (30): 3952.
Kasparov, Garry, and Halvorssen, Thor. 2017. “Why the Rise of Authoritarianism is a Global Catastrophe.” The Washington Post, 13 February 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2017/02/13/why-the-rise-of-authoritarianism-is-a-global-catastrophe/.
Kaufman, Michael T. 1982. “Pakistan Accused of Rights Abuses.” The New York Times, 12 January 1982. https://www.nytimes.com/1982/01/13/world/pakistan-accused-of-rights-abuses.html.
Khan, Zillur R. 1981. “Politicization of the Bangladesh Military: A Response to Perceived Shortcomings of Civilian Government.” Asian Survey 21 (5): 551564.
Khan, Zillur R. 1985. “Islam and Bengali Nationalism.” Asian Survey 25 (8): 834851.
Kienscherf, M. 2016. “Beyond Militarization and Repression: Liberal Social Control as Pacification.” Critical Sociology 42 (7–8): 11791194.
Kochanek, S. A. 1993. Patron-client Politics and Business in Bangladesh. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 5863.
Lewis, Bernard. 1988. The Political Language of Islam. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Linz, Juan. 1964. “An Authoritarian Regime: The Case of Spain.” In Cleavage, Ideologies, and Party Systems, eds. Allardt, Erik and Littunene, Yrko. Helsinki: The Academic Bookstores, 251283.
Maniruzzaman, Talukdar. 1990. “Bangladesh Politics: Secular and Islamic Trends.” In Religion, Nationalism and Politics in Bangladesh, ed. Ahmed, Rafiuddin. New Delhi: South Asian Publishers, 6391.
Mannan, Md Abdul. 2015. “Islamic Identity as a Domestic Variable in Bangladesh's Foreign Policy towards India and Pakistan under the BNP's Rule.” PhD thesis, The University of Melbourne.
March, Andrew F. 2003. “State Ideology and the Legitimation of Authoritarianism: The Case of Post-Soviet Uzbekistan.” Journal of Political Ideologies 8 (2): 209232.
Mayer, Robert. 2001. “Strategies of Justification in Authoritarian Ideology.” Journal of Political Ideologies 6 (2): 147168.
Mishra, Jitendra. 1981. “Military Regimes in Bangladesh and Pakistan: Strategies of Sustenance and Survival.” India Quarterly 37 (4): 522546.
Nordlinger, Eric A. 1977. Soldiers in Politics: Military Coups and Governments. (Prentice-Hall contemporary comparative politics series). Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.
Omelicheva, Mariya Y. 2016. “Authoritarian Legitimation: Assessing Discourses of Legitimacy in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.” Central Asian Survey 35 (4): 481500.
Özler, Hayrettın, and Ergün, Yildirim. 2008. “Islam and Democracy: A False Dichotomy.” Insight Turkey 10 (3): 8799.
Pattanaik, Smruti S. 2012. “Consonance and Dissonance: Issues and Trends in India Bangladesh Relations” in Four Decades of India-Bangladesh Relations.” In Historical Imperatives and Future Direction, ed. Pattanaik, Smruti S.. Delhi: Gyan Publishing House, 22. Peace 24 (2): 25–35.
Perlmutter, Amos. 1977. The Military and Politics in Modern Times: On Professionals, Praetorians, and Revolutionary Soldiers. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Philip, George. 1984. “Military-Authoritarianism in South America: Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina.” Political Studies 32 (1): 120.
Pipes, Daniel. 1983. In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power. New York: Basic Books.
Qadeer, Mohammad. 1997. “The Evolving Structure of Civil Society and the State in Pakistan.” The Pakistan Development Review 36 (4): 743762.
Rashiduzzaman, M. 1978. “Bangladesh in 1977: Dilemmas of the Military Rulers.” Asian Survey 18 (2): 126134.
Razi, G. Hossein. 1990. “Legitimacy, Religion, and Nationalism in the Middle East.” American Political Science Review 84 (1): 6991.
Rehman, I. A. 2017. “40 years of Zia: How Zia redefined Pakistan.” Dawn, 2 July 2017. https://www.dawn.com/news/1342697.
Riaz, Ali. 2018. “More Than Meets the Eye: The Narratives of Secularism and Islam in Bangladesh.” Asian Affairs 49 (2): 301318.
Rizvi, H. 1993. Pakistan and the Geostrategic Environment: A Study of Foreign Policy. London: Macmillan Press Ltd, Springer.
Robinson, Francis. 1989. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 219222.
Rørbæk, Lasse Lykke, Skaaning, Svend-Erik, and Tolstrup, Jakob. 2014. “Autocratic Regime Duration and State Repression.” European Consortium for Political Research. https://ecpr.eu/Filestore/PaperProposal/df68944a-74ad-4161-a894-ea56f7fcc1e1.pdf.
Sachedina, Abdulaziz. 2001. The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism. New York: Oxford University Press.
Savory, Roger. 1989. “Islam and Democracy: The Case of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” In The Islamic World: From Classical to Modern Times: Essays in Honor of Bernard Lewis, eds. Bosworth, Clifford Edmund, et al. Princeton: Darwin Press, 821843.
Schöch, Rüdiger, 2008. “UNHCR and the Afghan Refugees in the Early 1980s: Between Humanitarian Action and Cold War Politics.” Refugee Survey Quarterly 27 (1): 4557.
Sen, Rangalal. 1994. “The Movement for Restoration of Democracy in Bangladesh 1982–1990: A Theoretical Framework and Social Background.” In Society, Polity and Economy of Bangladesh, ed. Chakravarty, S. R.. New Delhi: Har-Anand Publications, 122.
Shuja, Sharif. 2007. “Pakistan: Islam, Radicalism and the Army.” International Journal on World Peace 24 (2): 2535.
Smith, Donald Eugene. 1970. Religion and Political Development: An Analytical Study. New York: Little, Brown.
Tamimi, Azzam S. 1997. “Democracy in Islamic Political Thought.” Encounters-Leicester 3: 2144. See https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/14517149.pdf (Retrieved by December 17, 2018).
The Asian Recorder. 18–24 June 1990.
The Bangladesh Observer. 2 May 1976.
The Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. 1979.
The Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. 1990.
Uddin, Sufia M. 2006. Constructing Bangladesh: Religion, Ethnicity, and Language in an Islamic Nation. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Victor, Jean-Christophe. 1986. “Afghanistan: A Protracted Conflict.” Security Dialogue 17 (1): 437446.
Warde, Ibrahim. 2010. Islamic Finance in the Global Economy. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Wasti, Tahir. 2009. The Application of Islamic Criminal Law in Pakistan: Sharia in Practice. Boston: Brill.
Weinbaum, Marvin G. 1991. “War and Peace in Afghanistan: The Pakistani Role.” Middle East Journal 45 (1): 7185.
Wolf, S. 2013. “Civil–Military Relations and Democracy in Bangladesh.” Spotlight South Asia, Special Issue, Foundation for Applied Political Science of South Asia (APSA), Heidelberg.
Yaseen, Zahid, Ahmad, Muhammad Abrar, and Butt, Tahir Mahmood. 2016. “Hypothetical Political System of Martial Laws: A Case Study of General Zia-ul-Haq.” South Asian Studies: A Research Journal of South Asian Studies 29 (1): 122132.
Yasmin, Lailufar. 2013. “Religion and After: Bangladeshi Identity Since 1971.” Open Democracy 19.
Zahid, Masood Akhtar. 2011. “Dictatorship in Pakistan: A Study of the Zia Era (1977–1988).” Pakistan Journal of History and Culture 32 (1): 127.
Zaidi, S. Akbar. 2017. “Special Report: Darkness Descends 1977–1988.” The Dawn, 1 November 2017.
Zaidi, Syed M. Zulqurnain. 2003. The Emergence of Ulema in the Politics of India and Pakistan 1918–1949: A Historical Perspective. Lincoln: Writers Club Press.
Zhao, Dingxin. 2009. “The Mandate of Heaven and Performance Legitimation in Historical and Contemporary China.” American Behavioral Scientist 53 (3): 416433.
Zieck, Marjoleine. 2008. “The Legal Status of Afghan Refugees in Pakistan, a Story of Eight Agreements and Two Suppressed Premises.” International Journal of Refugee Law 20 (2): 253272.

Military, Authoritarianism and Islam: A Comparative Analysis of Bangladesh and Pakistan

  • Md Ziaul Haque Sheikh (a1) and Zahid Shahab Ahmed (a2)

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed