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

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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.

Goodbye General Musharraf, Hello 'Troika'

As Pakistan faces the prospect of returning to the "troika" system of governance after eight years of direct military rule, political parties have important decisions to make about fighting elections and electoral fraud. They also need to keep an eye on history to make the most of the chances that the end of direct military rule is likely to offer.

The Serious Business Ahead in Pakistan

It is useful to look beyond the current political drama to see the hard policy work that must be done to reap rich rewards and avoid severe penalties for Pakistani society, regardless of who is around to do it.

Pakistan: Three Cheers for Tedious Resistance

As the bullying military regime slowly unravels in Pakistan, the courageous ones are those that tenaciously insist on order in the place of disorder. The regime's weakness reveals, paradoxically, the strength of the idea of a functioning state with constitutional government.

Art of the Possible

Art of the Possible Focus on Children Under Six: Abridged Report Citizens Initiative for the Rights of Children Under Six; December 2006; pp 147, price not mentioned.

Musharraf's Legacy

If the increasing protests against his regime are any indication, Musharraf's days as Pakistan's president appear numbered. The transition to democracy has to be carefully managed, with elements of continuity intertwined with some necessary changes.

Class, Caste or Race: Veils over Social Oppression in Pakistan

Pakistani society prefers to silence any discussion about caste-based discrimination and oppression in the public domain even though such marginalisation is widespread in many parts of the country.

Bugti and the Baloch Cause

The killing of Akbar Bugti, the rebellious tribal chief and leader of the Baloch nationalist Jamhoori Watan Party by state security forces in his mountain hideout marks an important watershed in the troubled history of relations between the Baloch political movements, the colonial British Indian empire and the post-colonial Pakistani state. The circumstances leading up to his death and the events following after also reveal something about the contradictions within the establishment.

Pakistan: Thinking about Regime Change

The Charter of Democracy agreed upon between Pakistan People's Party and the Nawaz Shariff-led Muslim League is a landmark document that creates the basis for a transition to durable civilian democracy. In contrast, Pervez Musharraf and his allies seem to have run out of ideas. The regime is left with just one positive achievement to speak about - strong economic performance. Paradoxically, economic management is one area that promises to undo whatever political legitimacy the regime might otherwise have acquired.

'Counter-insurgencies' in Pakistan

At a time when insurgencies have been making headlines across south Asia, it is useful to identify some historical and geographical patterns of such conflicts in Pakistan. State security forces have been engaged in counter-insurgency operations for 20 out of the last 35 years, and currently face two sets of insurgencies. A review suggests that there are a few positive commonalities between the various insurgencies in terms of the identity of the insurgents and their support bases, their organisational structures, ideologies, demands or methods. There are interesting patterns, however, in the state's approach to counter-insurgency, and in where these otherwise disparate insurgencies fit into the broader body politic of the country.

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