Does Democracy Have a Future in Pakistan?

Issue Date January 2024
Volume 35
Issue 1
Page Numbers 30–42
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Pakistan marked a watershed in its history on 9 May 2023 with the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan, sparking nationwide protests and attacks on state institutions. These events, culminating in Khan’s incarceration and a ban from public office, have intensified questions about the future of democracy in Pakistan. Political uncertainties are hardly new in in the country, but the coming together of economic crisis, political strife, and climatic disas­ters such as drought have sharpened age-old concerns about the coun­try’s stability. The chances of a genuine democratic dispensation emerging anytime soon can be ruled out, but if the key institutional stakeholders undertake to work with politi­cians instead of using, exploiting, and defaming them, Pakistan may well succeed in regaining lost ground and return to at least a semblance of normalcy.

About the Author

Ayesha Jalal is Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University and author of The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics (2017).

View all work by Ayesha Jalal

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