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

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The End of Democracy or a New Resurgence in Pakistan?

Pakistan’s general elections are scheduled to be held in July 2018. Contrary to the popular argument that the Pakistani military has revived complete dominance and hegemony over civilian and electoral politics, fewer people are now buying into the opinion in Pakistan that the military is somehow “better” than democracy. Unlike 1958, 1977, or 1999, when an outright military coup was welcomed and embraced, the options for the military are fewer and limited in 2018.

Undermining Democracy in Pakistan

With an election due by late summer, the Pakistani military and its clandestine wings have begun attempts to manage, if not control and influence, events leading up to the polls. Journalists and bloggers have been picked up and beaten by “masked armed men,” and mentioning Balochistan or talking and writing about what is happening in one of Pakistan’s provinces is dangerous to life and liberty. The silenced, missing Baloch has become a symbol of the Pakistani state’s intransigence, not much reported in the local or international media.

Pakistan in the Post-Taliban Present

The political leadership in Pakistan, even when democracy has grown and strengthened, has limited writ over what it can do regarding what the military considers its terrain. The Taliban may have been partially eliminated, but other equally odious militants continue to find protection through some organisations and individuals in the military. Dealing with the threats to Pakistan’s future and stability entails a deeper look within rather than blaming India or Afghanistan.

Undermining the Pakistan Military's Hegemony

There is a political transition taking place in Pakistan. Although the dominance of the army has not diminished, in the last two decades there has been a noticeable deepening of democratisation processes. In the future, if there is another attempt to impose military rule, there could be greater opposition; processes to undermine the military's hegemony are already evident.

The Process of Undermining Pakistan's Military Hegemony May Have Begun

There is a political transition taking place in Pakistan. Although the dominance of the army has not diminished, in the last two decades there has been a noticeable deepening of democratisation processes. The writer argues that in the future, if there is another attempt to impose military rule, there could be greater opposition and processes to undermine the military’s hegemony are already evident.

How Not to Write History

The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics by Ayesha Jalal; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014; pp xii + 435, $35.

Uncontested Engagements

In the Preface to a new book (to be published next month) which examines Pakistan’s political economy afresh, having lamented the state of social science discourse in Pakistan, I write, I have more hope and expectation from a growing set of younger academics who proceed for, or have just completed...

Rethinking Pakistan's Political Economy

Examining the numerous and often contradictory issuesand problems that emerge in trying to look at a statist or Islamist Pakistan, this paper points out that both undermine the vast array of processes that are at work and feed into the nature of Pakistan's state and society. Scholarship on Pakistan's political economy still lacks a comprehensive theory of the Pakistani state and of its society. The attempt here is to identify and explain the issues and constraints in doing so.

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