Political Conflict in Pakistan
Part of the Comparative Politics and International Studies Series Christophe Jaffrelot (ed.) Series
A deeply considered reappraisal of Pakistani politics as a permanent state of struggle and contention between actors, mindsets and interests.
May 2021 • £30
9781787384002 • 304pp
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This book is a major reinterpretation of politics in Pakistan. Its focus is conflict among groups, communities, classes, ideologies and institutions, which has shaped the country’s political dynamics. Mohammad Waseem critically examines the theory surrounding the millennium-long conflict between Hindus and Muslims as separate nations who practiced mingled faiths, and the Hindu, Muslim and Sikh renaissances that created a twentieth-century clash of communities and led to partition.
Political Conflict in Pakistan addresses multiple clashes: between the high culture as a mission to transform society, and the low culture of the land and the people; between those committed to the establishment’s institutional constitutional framework and those seeking to dismantle the ‘colonial’ state; between the corrupt and those seeking to hold them to account; between the political class and the middle class; and between civil and military power. The author exposes how the ruling elite centralised power through the militarisation and judicialisation of politics, rendering the federalist arrangement an empty shell and thus grossly alienating the provinces. He sets all this within the contexts of education and media as breeders of conflict, the difficulties of establishing an anti-terrorist regime, and the state’s pragmatic attempts at conflict resolution by seeking to keep the outsiders inside. This is a wide-ranging account of a country of contestations.
Mohammad Waseem is Professor of Political Science at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. Formerly a Fulbright fellow at Columbia and the Brookings Institution, and Pakistan chair at St Antony's College, Oxford, he specialises in Pakistan's ethnic, constitutional, electoral, sectarian, military and militant politics. His books include Politics and the State in Pakistan and Democratization in Pakistan.