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

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Associational Politics in Punjab

Contemporary scholars of Pakistan are in agreement about the defining characteristics marking the changing nature of capital accumulation in the country. Notable features include the rise of the retail, wholesale and small-scale manufacturing sector; a decline in the contribution of farm activity to both employment and national income; informalisation, flexible accumulation and “depeasantisation”; and finally, rapid urbanisation, especially in Punjab. Populating this changing landscape are emergent socio-economic entrepreneurs – often collectively grouped as the intermediate classes – and religious groups of both statist and anti-state dispositions (cf Zaidi 1999).

While there is substantial agreement on these broad trends in the nature of capital accumulation, topics of debate remain. The characterisation of the Pakistani state along a strong-weak spectrum is one such source of contention amongst scholars of Pakistan. In the course of engaging this very topic, Zaidi (2014) touches upon several related and considerably understudied aspects of the Pakistani state. These include institutional fluidity, its relative autonomy compared to societal groups (emergent and extant), and its place in the structure of contemporary political and economic power.

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