Zia's philosophy of governance

Exploring Zia’s Nizam-e-Mustafa: An Overview of Islamic Governance Model

Zia’s philosophy of governance: Nizam-e-Mustafa

Zia’s Philosophy of governance is based upon the Nizam-e-Mustafa. He gave a comprehensive plan of government.

It is important to note that previous rulers of Pakistan, including President Zia’s predecessors, were also forced to deal with the necessity of what is sometimes referred to as “Pakistan’s Islamic mandate.” In response to the aspirations of Muslim nationalists for establishing an Islamic state, Pakistan came into existence. The religion of Islam is practised by the vast majority of Pakistan’s inhabitants. Pakistan’s policymakers have varying opinions on what this means or what it should signify for politics and policy. However, it is abundantly evident that all of them must consider Islam’s significance.

Islamic Socialism

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

The term “Islamic politics” refers to majority-based politics, and Pakistan’s heads of government have been aware of this reality throughout history. For instance, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who is arguably Pakistan’s most “secular-minded” leader, referred to his economic reforms as “Islamic socialism,” and the manifesto of the Pakistan People’s Party was “Islam is our ideology, socialism our economy, and democracy our politics.”

Zia’s Islamic governance Model

In the face of the reality of the Islamic mandate, President Zia turned to Islam as a means of legitimising his government. Popular legitimacy was a problem that persistently hampered Zia’s administration. President Zia used Islam as a technique to justify his government. Zia came to power as a direct result of a military coup that removed a self-styled populist from office. From this perspective, Nizam-i-Mustafa can be understood as a strategy developed partly to offer an Islamic justification for continuing a military-dominated system.

Zia’s political ideology centred on these three basic tenets, which are described in more detail below:

Depoliticising the Politics

Zia-ul-Haq, the General, was the one who established the new depoliticised system. It was a one-of-a-kind system since its development was based on ethics rather than bureaucracy. He placed a strong emphasis on the purification of society. In his view, moral values were more significant than those administered. He relied extensively on the practice of religion as a tool.

Local Governments

He gave an excellent model for the local government that was entirely distinct from the models before. He had the only means at his disposal to win the trust of the general populace. He turned to the local body system for assistance to win the general population’s confidence.

Nizam-e-Mustafa: Islamic order

He placed a strong emphasis on the implementation of the Islamic order named Nizam-e-Mustafa as a process throughout the nation. To accomplish this, he promulgated several regulations, including the Hadood, Qazaf, Zakat, and Ushr Ordinances. In addition, he instituted the Federal Shariat courts, an interest-free banking system, the Ramzan-ul-Mubarak sanctity ordinance, Nizaam-e-Salaat committees, and outlawed nudity. In Pakistan, he also made it mandatory for students to study Pakistani and Islamic studies at the intermediate level.

Significance of Nizam-e-Mustafa on a global level

The Nizam-i-Mustafa has significant repercussions on the international stage as well. Pakistan derives a significant economic advantage from its connections to the oil-producing states in the Gulf, most notably Saudi Arabia. Around one million Pakistani employees are employed in the Gulf states, and the money that these people send back to their home country accounts for around 40 percent of all export earnings in Pakistan. In addition, during Zia’s reign as president, Pakistan rose to prominence as a member of the Islamic ummah (community of Muslims). It assumed a leadership position within the Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC). Moreover, as a direct result of the Nizam-i-Mustafa, Mustafa’s Pakistan has developed into one of the most important centres of intellectual activity in the world relating to Islam.

Zia: The Political Strategist

Also, it is essential not to lose sight of the fact that President Zia was an expert political strategist who purposefully supported policies that proceeded slowly in areas of Islam. This is something that should not be forgotten. This can be seen in several different ways, including the gradual establishment of the Federal Sharia Courts utilising presidential ordinances; his appointment of mainstream jurists to positions on the court; and his cautious approach to the implementation of legal reforms, such as the Qanoon-i-Shahadat, the Enforcement of Sharia Ordinance, and the qisas and diyat legislation. Throughout the ordeal, Zia’s primary interests were preserving the state’s status quo and stopping the more ardent supporters of Islamic reform.

In actuality, Zia’s pursuit of his interests led to developing an integrated plan to approach Nizam-i-Mustafa. He repeatedly emphasised his administration’s adherence to the Nizam-i-Mustafa by indulging in purposeful political overemphasis regarding the accomplishments and initiatives of his administration. While this was happening, he carefully directed and influenced the political process to ensure that the Islamic reform was systematic and well-organised.


In a nutshell, Zia’s policy gave the Islamic mandate lip service, which assisted in legitimising his government and helping to strengthen ties with the rest of the Islamic world. In addition to this, it did not pose a threat to the entrenched interests of Pakistan’s military and bureaucratic elites.

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