CECI n'est pas EXECUTE Mansoor Ahmed

Mansoor Ahmed

Mansoor Ahmed

PhD Student
Field(s): Ethnology / Social Anthropology
Institutional affiliation(s): EHESS

Professional contact information



Dissertation director: Michel Boivin

PhD program: EHESS - History and Civilizations

Initial registration: 2015


Governmentality in Pakistan: A Study of the Council of Islamic Ideology (1957-1988)


The Council of Islamic Ideology is a permanent institution established by the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan. It is composed of ‘ulema,’ ‘technocrats’ and ‘legal experts,’ numbering from eight to twenty. They are appointed for a three year stint, first to give recommendations to the legislature regarding the repugnancy of the laws referred to it, second to recommend those Islamic measures which can be given legislative effects and lastly to cross-examine the repugnancy of all the laws prevalent in the country. The Council had its predecessor institutions as well, namely the Advisory Council of Islamic Ideology and the Islamic Law Commission established by the previous constitutions of 1956 and 1962 respectively. Based on the examination of the Council of Islamic Ideology (Council) and its predecessors, this study will explore the inner thinking of the governments of Pakistan and their subsequent role in the Islamization of the country during the period from 1957 to 1988. The establishment of an institution to provide advice to make the country Islamic was due to the fact that the country was created under the heavy debt of the ulema, who assertively insisted that Islam should be the law of land and the ulema sould have the authority to determine the repugnancy of laws leading to the odyssey of Islam and politics in the country. Michel Foucault, a French philosopher, provided certain resources to think through and explore how states exercise power. One among them is Governmentality (Gouvernemental). It is concerned with the exercise of those techniques which conduct the behavior of the population as the government deems appropriate to better govern (Conduct of Conduct). However, this study would not be a condensed Foucauldian analysis. Instead, the study of the Council through the lens of governmentality should offer an access point for the new understanding of the inner thinking of the governments in Pakistan and the role of the Council in the Islamization drives during the period from 1957 to 1988. This study will attempt to answer the key questions about the intention of the governments behind its creation, its sustainability and mutation during the successive governments and furthermore to explore the role which the Council of Islamic Ideology and its predecessors manifested in introducing Islamic measures into the polity of the country during the said period. The working hypothesis of the study is that the purpose of its creation was to integrate ulema into the government as sources of knowledge to evolve techniques which suited the government’s political strategy to better govern the population and it played a significant role in the Islamization of the country during the said period but was largely invisible due to more visible manifestations and the nature of its ‘confidential’ reports.


Keywords: Governmentality; Islamization; Council of Islamic Ideology



Last update: 6 October 2017

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