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Ever since the fall of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government in Pakistan through a no-confidence motion in April 2022, the country has been enmeshed in a wide-ranging political crisis. The PTI chief Imran Khan has continued to stoke agitations against the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) coalition government, courted arrest but until recently avoided arrest, and fundamentally challenged core state institutions of the country: the judiciary, the bureaucracy and the military. These agitations and contention within and around the courts, parliament and the streets are set against the backdrop of deep and long-lasting economic distress, with the serious threat of default.
How do we understand the roots and contours of this crisis? How might it be resolved?
About the moderator
Christophe Jaffrelot is Avantha Chair and Professor of Indian Politics and Sociology at the King's College London. He serves as a Research Director at CNRS, teaches South Asian politics and history at Sciences Po, Paris and is an Overseas Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He was Director of Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI) at Sciences Po, between 2000 and 2008. His many books on the politics of South Asia include the Pakistan Paradox (Hurst, 2015).
About the participants
Asma Faiz is Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Lahore University of Management Sciences. She is the author of In Search of Lost Glory: Sindhi Nationalism in Pakistan (Hurst, 2021) and editor of Making Federation Work: Federalism in Pakistan after the 18th Amendment (Oxford, 2015). Her recent work has explored the phenomenon of right-wing populism in Pakistan, from its rise to its broader impact on the political system.
Mohammad Waseem is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Social Sciences, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). He has written on ethnic, Islamic, constitutional, electoral, sectarian, military and militant politics of Pakistan. His most recent book, Political Conflict in Pakistan (Hurst, 2021) examines conflict among groups, communities, classes, ideologies and institutions, which have shaped the country’s political dynamics. His other books include Politics and the State in Pakistan (1989), The 1993 Elections in Pakistan (1994) and Democratization in Pakistan: A study of the 2002 elections (2006).
Ayesha Siddiqa is a senior fellow at the Department of War Studies, King’s College, London. She is the author of two books on Pakistan’s military: Pakistan’s Arms Procurement and Military Build-up, 1979-1999 and Military Inc, Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy. She was a research associate at the Center for International Studies & Diplomacy (CISD) at SOAS, and a fellow at St Antony’s College Oxford. Her area of expertise is military decision-making, defence economics, civil-military relations and militancy and extremism in South Asia and the Middle East.
Yasser Kureshi is Lecturer in South Asian Studies at the University of Oxford. He is the author of Seeking Supremacy: The Pursuit of Judicial Power in Pakistan (Cambridge, 2022). Working at the intersection of political science and public law, his research looks at the politics of unelected state institutions outside democratic contexts. In particular, he studies the military and the judiciary and their impact on constitutional configurations and democratic outcomes in authoritarian and post-authoritarian states.
Zoha Waseem is Assistant Professor in Criminology at the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, and Co-Coordinator for the Urban Violence Research Network. Her book, Insecure Guardians (Hurst, 2022) explores the policing practices of an insecure state, foregrounding the experiences of officers on the frontline of Pakistan’s armed conflicts. Her research interests include policing, security/insecurity, armed violence, counterinsurgency, informality, militarisation, and migration in Pakistan, South Asia, and beyond.