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

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Inquilab in Pakistan

The political agitations led by Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri in Pakistan for the past few weeks had been billed as inquilab for a "Naya Pakistan". Even though they did not, and could not have lived up to their promise of revolutionary change, these two movements have unsettled the status quo of the elites and have politicised new sections of the population. This in itself may well have opened up some spaces which were unavailable earlier.

Reassessing Secularism and Secularisation in South Asia

Secularisation, once a key concept in debates about modernisation and modernity, has received very little academic attention over the last half century. In fact, it is often seen as a subset of or engulfed within secularism, which has been central to academic and political debates about democracy, nationalism and contemporary politics. In this special issue, we focus on both in their mutual interaction. It provides a mix of theoretically informed pieces with detailed, contextualised research adding granularity to the discussions by asking: Can secularisation happen without secularism? Or vice versa? What kinds of secularisation have specific versions of secularism promoted? Have there been reversals in secularisation, or has it been a largely linear process in south Asia?

Pakistan Elections - I

Not since the 1970 elections have the people of Pakistan turned out in such great numbers to vote. Two differences are notable, however. First, while in 1970 they voted the Pakistan Peoples Party to power, this time they came out in droves to boot it out. And second, while 1970 was a time of great hope and optimism, this year their cynicism was palpable even as they voted. This was understandable as all the main contesting parties appeared committed irrevocably to the same market liberalism that has characterised Pakistan's governments for the last three decades. In the end, people followed the only path open to them in most democracies: vote the incumbent out, even if the alternatives promise more of the same!

Pakistan Election 2013: More Rejection, Less Election

Not since the 1970 election have the people of Pakistan turned out in such great numbers to vote. Two differences are notable, however. First, while in 1970 they voted the Pakistan People’s Party to power, this time, they came out in droves to boot it out. Second, while 1970 was a time of great hope and optimism, this year cynicism was palpable even as they voted. This was understandable as all the main contesting parties appeared committed irrevocably to the same market liberalism that has characterised Pakistan’s governments for the last three decades. In the end, people followed the only path open to them in most democracies: vote the incumbent out, even if the alternatives promise more of the same!

Secularism and Secularisation

Much has been written about secularism and secularisation, yet the precise modalities of their relationship have received little attention. The vague but generally accepted assumption seems to be that secularisation in Europe led to secularism, and secularism in non-western societies will lead to secularisation. Often the two terms are used synonymously. It seems particularly imperative, both for academic and political reasons, to think through the implications of these two terms and their relation. Does secularism inevitably lead to secularisation? Can secularisation happen without secularism? How precisely are secularism as state policy and secularisation as a societal process, related?
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