Religious institutions have currently emerged as more powerful actors than ever before in many Muslim countries. This matter necessitates reassessing the role of religious institutions in policy making processes in such countries. This paper is a comparative study, employing the ‘Most Similar System Design’ to analyze the role of the religious institutions, as pressure groups, in policy-making processes in Pakistan and Turkey. Since there have been very few research projects working on comparative studies on religious pressure groups in Muslim countries, this paper seeks to fill the gap through secondary research due to sufficient literature examining the political role of religious institutions. The findings indicate that in Turkey, the common interests have bound the Islamic parties and institutions together, emerging as a powerful actor, challenging the strict secular system of the country. The Pakistani religious institutions, however, have successfully exchanged violence for the implementation of Islamic law. Nevertheless, the Islamic movement in Turkey has a more united structure than in Pakistan. Nonetheless, the role and status of the clergy have changed over time in both countries. While the Turkish religious institutions use civic tactics to gain power from the people, the Pakistanis undertake sabotage activities as leverage against the government.
Keywords: Policy-making Processes, Pressure Groups, Organized Islam, Pakistan, Turkey