This essay will discuss the role of Islam in the politics of Pakistan. It will begin with an overview of the history of Pakistan, stating how the country was formed and the reason(s) for its formation. It will then discuss Shari'a/Islamic law. The essay will then discuss Islam as the law for Pakistan, how it became Pakistan's law, and whether or not Pakistan follows it indefinitely. Then the criminal justice system will be discussed, along with the rights of women in Pakistan. This will be followed by a full description of Pakistan's government. Finally, religious conflict, due to the Shi'a and Sunni groups, as well as its effect on national and international relations shall be discussed.
1.1 Defining Islam
Islam is described in terms of the basic religious duties of all Muslims; these are known as the 5 Pillars:
1) Shahada: this is a declaration of faith according to the formula: 'There is no god but God.
Muhammad is the messenger of God'.
2) Salat: this is where worship takes the form of ritual prostration. Precise bodily movements are considered to be as essential as the accompanying mental activity. Salat may be performed almost anywhere, at noon on Fridays, as long as the worshipper faces the direction of the Ka'ba in Mecca, known as the qibla.
3) Zakat: this is also known as alms-giving or compulsory charity. It is given once a year by all adult Muslims, and it is a giving of 2.5% of capital assets over and above a minimum, or nisab.
4) Sawm: This is the fast during Ramadan. The fast takes place during the daylight hours of the ninth month of the lunar calendar.
5) Hajj: This is the pilgrimage to Mecca, which all adult Muslims must make at least once in their lifetime.