Growing pressure from Islamic hard-liners to create an Islamic state in Pakistan appears to be working.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is pressing for a sweeping bill that would impose Islamic law, although hard-liners say his actions are just a ploy to consolidate power, reports the Associated Press (Oct. 23). The change could be seen in the way Islamic activists are being treated by the government. The last time the revivalist Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, tried to rally in the capital, the government, then led by Benazir Bhutto, resisted and hundreds of police stopped demonstrators at the city limits.
At a recent rally, however, Sharif’s government lent a helping hand, deploying extra traffic police and cooperating with organizers. One observer says the government is aware of the increasingly powerful religious lobby in Pakistan, which many people say motivated Sharif to try to amend the constitution to impose a new Islamic order.