ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Ayesha SiddiqaSubscribe to Ayesha Siddiqa

Discovering Democracy

The fact that a democratically elected government in Pakistan has completed its five-year term is surely an achievement. However, the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, focused solely on surviving these five years and not being deposed by the military, did not focus on governance or on reading the changing political currents in the country. Thus it could not convert a democratic transition into a democratic transformation of the country.

Pakistan's Modernity: Between the Military and Militancy

In Pakistan economic progress does not automatically translate into liberal progressive modernity mainly due to the nature of the state. Pakistan's modernity is structured along two axes: neo-liberal nationalism and right-wing radical nationalism. While the neo-liberal nationalism axis depicts an authoritarian and top-down model of economic and political development marked with the expansion of a national security-obsessed middle class and ruling elite, the right-wing radical nationalism axis denotes the growth of religious radicalism and militancy as symbols of geopolitical modernity that are anti-imperialist in nature. This analysis argues that liberalism is one of the many consequences of modernity, but not the only one. The meeting point of both trajectories has resulted in turning Pakistan into a hybrid-theocratic state which encapsulates a mix of economic neo-liberalism, pockets of social liberalism, formal theocracy and larger spaces experiencing informal theocracy.
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