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

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A Failed State or Failure of Pakistan's Elite?

Pakistan's economy has been growing rapidly and earlier this year it held its freest elections ever. Why then the new and growing description of the country as a failed/failing state? The United States continues to influence policy decisions and the military goes along with that country. It is the failure of Pakistan's elite to break free of the US that is preventing the completion of the transition to democracy and the establishment of full civilian control over state institutions.

Social and Structural Transformations in Pakistan

Structural developments over the last decade in Pakistan have resulted in numerous substantive transformations, which have altered social relations and societal structures. There are many reasons for this change such as capital inflows, globalisation, the media boom and trends in women's education. There is a need to interpret and further explore such developments to examine and understand what, if anything, they mean for political transitions and transformations.

Democracy Interrupted?

Pakistan has voted for a democratic future but Pervez Musharraf is still in the spotlight. Washington is fully capable of converting the victory of the people into a defeat by forcing a deal between the new government and the former general. Another factor that will outline the contours of "democratisation" is the tradition in Pakistani politics of accommodating and compromising with the military.

Democracy as Revenge

Besides being the biggest tribute to Benazir Bhutto, working towards "democracy as revenge" makes good sense in Pakistan. It can be achieved either through the ballot box or by boycotting the elections. Abstaining from voting may well be the best way to further democratise the political process. But both the main parties - Nawaz Sharif's Muslim League and the Pakistan People's Party - have decided to contest the polls. The chances of the election resulting in a compromise and legitimising the position of Pervez Musharraf cannot be ruled out.

Musharraf and His Collaborators

The emergency in Pakistan has revealed the truth not just about Musharraf's moderate enlightenment, but also about the country's liberal elite and the collaborationist political leaders, especially of the Pakistan People's Party.

Pakistan: Too Much Politics

The media in Pakistan has recently been dominated by current political issues such as those concerning the dismissal and subsequent reinstatement of the chief justice, the actions of president Musharraf, and the plans of Benazir Bhutto. The intrusion of politics into the daily lives of people has also drawn researchers and academics towards writing profusely on contemporary issues in newspaper columns. This may raise the standard of the newspapers, but it pushes out reflection on substantive issues such as the role of the military in government.

Pakistan: A Political Movement in the Making

The largely unexpected public response to the dismissal of the chief justice by Musharraf has significantly changed the political situation in the country. With the politicisation of the issue, the growing "movement" is creating a serious problem for the president.

Why Musharraf Succeeds

Military rule in Pakistan has had long spells because the army has learnt how to be repressive and yet accommodative, target only the marginalised and minority groups, buy off support from political groups and, in Musharraf's case, make use of the US fear of "Islamic" power.

Why Blame the Military?

There is no need or reason for Pakistanis to want democracy. The military has seldom had to face opposition in coming to power.

Pakistan: Civil and Uncivil Society

The classical and western understanding of civil society suggests that by being "against the state" in some way, and especially by being against an autocratic and undemocratic state, civil society is necessarily on the side of some form of democratic disposition. Not so in Pakistan, where the question has not been one of democracy versus non-democratic norms, but of "liberalism" against the perceived and variously interpreted Islamic symbols and values.

Does the Budget Matter in Pakistan?

Most of Pakistan's economic indicators have never looked so good. But a close scrutiny reveals a different picture. Income inequality has increased and inflation remains at 8 per cent per annum. Despite this, the recent federal budget addresses the needs of only a handful neglecting the requirements of the majority.

Is Pakistan Shining?

Despite a period touted as one of "high growth", growing inequality in terms of both income and regional, rising prices and growth that is not broad based, threatens to have the same serious political consequences as they did at the end of the Ayub Khan and Zia ul-Haq eras.


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