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

Articles By Haris Gazdar

Holding Your Nose, Keeping Your Nerve

As Pakistan's elected government struggles to find its pitch amidst escalating problems on the security, economic, political and foreign policy fronts, there is much to rattle domestic and foreign supporters of democracy in Pakistan these days. Most of the looming crises were neither unexpected nor avoidable. No one said it was going to be easy, but there really are no serious alternatives to holding your nose and keeping your nerve.

No Economic Dissent but Plenty of Contest

For over two decades there has been neoliberal consensus on economic policy in Pakistan, with dissent being marginalised to a few individuals and fringe political groupings. Economic contest, however, has remained and has sharpened around the allocation of rents. While the new government is unlikely to break from the established neoliberal consensus, it is expected to redress some simmering inequities.

No Longer Worried about Becoming a 'Free Sex Zone'

High politics in Pakistan will continue to provide its share of thrills and frills, but this is an appropriate moment to take stock of the politics of the most fundamental relationship that helps to shape all others - that between women and men. Social policy retain huge potential for challenging patriarchy in many subtle but fundamental ways, and the present array of political forces offers as good an opportunity as any for pushing ahead with such an agenda.

Pakistan's Precious Parties

Vilified and marginalised, yet resilient, Pakistan's political parties go into elections on February 18, holding the keys to the country's future. They have survived through decades of military rule and are much bigger than the individuals that appear to dominate them. They have relatively well-defined ideological markers, support bases and ways of conducting business. These parties will now be called upon to resolve the crises in the state and the economy left behind by direct military rule. Whether they are up to it or not, it is time for supporters of democracy at home and abroad to close ranks around them.