Pakistan After Musharraf: An Emerging Civil Society?

Issue Date October 2008
Volume 19
Issue 4
Page Numbers 38-40
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Civil society became suddenly relevant to Pakistani politics following a 9 March 2007 incident in which military ruler General Pervez Musharraf demanded the resignation of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry from his seat on the Supreme Court, and then suspended him when he refused to comply. Almost immediately there arose a widespread protest movement—spearheaded by Pakistani lawyers—that denounced Musharraf’s action as illegal and demanded Chaudhry’s reinstatement. Is the lawyers’ movement evidence of a burgeoning civil society and a new democratic trajectory for Pakistan, or something more ambiguous?