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

Articles by S Akbar ZaidiSubscribe to S Akbar Zaidi

State, Military and Social Transition

It is because social groups and classes, who have the most to gain from establishing democratic institutions in Pakistan, already have access to the state and to the nexus of power, that they have little need for "messy" democracy, participation and accountability. Pakistan may be increasingly dominated by urban middle class factions and groups and has an "urban, modern, feel to it". Unlike other countries where the rising urban middle classes have struggled for collective social emancipation and democracy, Pakistan's middle classes, as this paper argues, have preferred to become partners of authoritarian and military governments. Moreover, Pakistan's experiment with democracy in the 1990s was one that was controlled and dominated by the military; thus, the idea of democracy itself has found few enthusiasts in Pakistan.

Busharraf: Four More Years

With four more years of Bush as US president, and his war on terror continuing with even greater messianic zeal, General Musharraf?s political longevity in Pakistan is assured. But this bodes ill for the people of Pakistan and for any hope that democracy will be restored, strengthened and matured.

Elected Representatives in Pakistan

The first-ever survey of the background of the members of Paksitan's parliament since general elections in 1970 shows that elected representatives are immensely wealthy and their incomes are far, far, higher than average Pakistani incomes. Without doubt, on average, elected representatives come from the ultra-rich elite of Pakistan. Moreover, it seems that the longer the elected representatives stay in politics the richer they tend to get, and, the higher the electoral tier of the representative, the richer s/he is likely to be. Many of the elected representatives are also ill-informed about social and economic facts about Pakistan.

Peace, Human Security and Regional Cooperation

The declaration and enforcement of peace between India and Pakistan will ensure that development and social well-being take precedence over more statist notions of 'security'.

Musharraf's 'Silent Revolution'

Pakistan's local/district government system is being seriously undermined by the provincial governments, casting doubts on the prospects of success for Musharraf's devolution plan. The tussle indicates a systematic problem preventing the coexistence of these systems of government, and also shows that the survival of the devolution plan is in peril unless it is brought into the mainstream of democratic politics.

Politics of Opportunism

Political developments in Pakistan since 1999 have seen growing moves at power centralisation, accompanied by a curtailment of constitutional directives and other institutions of democratic governance. With western powers paying mere lip-service to universal civilisational principle, it is the politics of opportunism that now forms the new guiding principle much as it had during military regimes in another era.

Pakistan: Elections: Continuity Rather Than Change

The military donning some civilian clothes and Pervez Musharraf gaining further support to his authoritarian regime are two obvious outcomes of the elections.

Dismal State of Social Sciences in Pakistan

This paper attempts to explain and understand the dismal condition of the social sciences and social science research in Pakistan. It establishes some encompassing parameters which help explain why things are the way they are. These include attempts to place the role of Pakistan's state and its bureaucracy in a certain context, and also delineates on the collapse of institutions in Pakistan leading the way for individuals, rather than institutions, to undertake and produce research. The dominance and presence of international donors and their roles with regard to social science research are also discussed at length. There is no 'community of scholars' in Pakistan, nor any social science professional association to speak of. The paper argues that with current trends in the academic community, the future for social science and social science research in Pakistan looks even more bleak.

Pakistan: Legitimising Military Rule

Return to democracy, of any kind, in Pakistan is now a thing of the past. The only road-map which now exists is the one leading to Afghanistan. The parallels between 1979 and 2001 are so striking that one is left wondering whether Pakistan has at all moved forward in these two decades.

Pakistan : Deepening Schisms

Pakistan is a country that has undergone tremendous changes, but it is difficult to interpret the nature of these changes. Urbanisation and globalisation are important factors contributing to economic and social changes in Pakistan. It is not clear whether these alterations can be termed 'progress' or whether they are indicative of deeper schisms in the path of development.

Playing with Numbers

Statistics has once again been used to tell lies - this time in Pakistan's budget for 2000-01. Defence expenditure figure is lowered through a sleight of hand and allocation for development expenditure is no higher in real terms, contrary to press reports.

Pakistan: Has the Unravelling Begun?

Has the Unravelling Begun? The Musharraf regime in Pakistan is the most isolated of the past three decades. It has no support base at all. It is frightening to think of the desperate measures it may take in the face of a fiscal crisis and the traders


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