Institutionalization of Islamic Political Parties in Pakistan: A Case Study of Jamiat Ulama-e-Pakistan
Islamic political parties (IPPs) have been a significant feature of the various Muslim states including Pakistan. There are around 25 registered IPPs in Pakistan and most of them are identified with a specific sectarian group or religious denominational. This research concerns Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP) which has been a renowned Barelwi-based Islamic political party. The party had often been divided into several factions and all factions of JUP adhered to more or less same party constitution as well as organizational structure. Keeping in view all major factions, this study explores whether JUP had practiced influence in the political landscape of Pakistan. The scholarly circle agreeing role of political parties in democratic states largely agree that only institutionalized political parties can exercise influence in any democratic state. In the light of this view, the study primarily analyzes JUP’s institutionalization as a party and its impacts on shaping its role in state’s politics from 1947 to 2018. In the present research, party institutionalization is measured in the light of the internal and external determinants outlined on the basis of scholarly and semi-scholarly books, articles and policy papers. These determinants include autonomy in decision making, party organization, coherence and roots in the society. The paper concludes that JUP did not practice a notable influence in the political landscape of Pakistan particularly due to falling short of meeting criteria set for party institutionalization. Decision making regarding critical issues were monopolized mostly by influential internal leadership and/or external actors seeking their personal political interests. Similarly, the JUP had hardly framed any common grounds acceptable to all party leadership for practical implementation of party constitution and developing basic organizational structure such as party offices, nationwide organizational presence, personnel and material sources etc. In fact, lack of autonomy in decision making had often led to controversies among party leadership and due to disorganization, the party had failed to accommodate those controversies. Consequently, the party had splintered into factions and had failed to strengthen its roots in the society.