Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Criminology

Political Stability of Afghanistan: A Prerequisite for Stability of Pakistan and South Asia

Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Criminology

Political Stability of Afghanistan: A Prerequisite for Stability of Pakistan and South Asia

Article excerpt


Political stability of Afghanistan is a prerequisite for peace of South Asia in general and Pakistan in particular. It is the most unfortunate tragedy of contemporary history that the state of Afghanistan and its people have been seething under perpetual political unrest, violence and human sufferings for the last more than three and half decades. Afghanistan is virtually a war-ravaged and fragmented country. Generations after generations of Afghan people have been witnessing nothing but violence, bloodshed and chaos in their society, both when they were fighting against former USSR and now when they are involved in GWOT. No letup from this violence seems to be in the sight for Afghanistan and its neighbors, at least in the foreseeable future. Afghanistan's political situation directly impinges upon the security of Pakistan. Both these states share a long and porous border, stretching over 2590.4 kilometers, without any effective surveillance system, which becomes a major cause of cross-border movement of terrorists and criminals. Since the NATO's planned drawdown is fast approaching, fears and apprehensions loom large on our national horizon about likely fallouts of Afghanistan's instability and frictions. It is assumed that the political and security situation of Afghanistan has a direct linkage with the security and political stability of not only Pakistan but also the entire South Asia. This paper aims at distillation of Afghanistan's existing political and security system and chances of their survivability after NATO's drawdown, besides analyzing the current frictions between Pakistan and A fghanistan o n vari ous issues. Th e pa per also proffers certain policy recommendations for various stakeholders.

Political Stability of Afghanistan - Defining the Criteria

The subject of political stability is one of the most intractable concepts in modern academic debate.1 Hurwitz defines political stability as "the absence of violence, governmental longevity, the absence of structural change, legitimacy and effective decision-making".2 The key indicators of political stability, according to Hurwitz, therefore, would be:

* Absence of violence

* Governmental longevity

* Absence of structural change

* Legitimacy

* Effective decision- making

A number of empirical studies were conducted subsequently to further distil the themes related to political stability. The most common theme, related to degree of violence and strife and their intensity, was undertaken by Russet and Bunselmayer, in which they used a very rudimentary way of counting the number of deaths directly as a result of inter-group violence per 1,000,000 units of population.3 This technique was, however, considered as an insufficient indicator to assess political stability, because there could be many political actions that may not result in the loss of life but which can be detrimental to the stability of any country.4

Claude Ake elucidated this concept further by observing that members of any society strengthen or undermine political system to the extent that they obey or disobey the laws produced by that system. Obedience to the law constitutes political behavior just as much as contesting elections does," he opined. He further states, "if the incidence of violations of law continues to increase, political authority eventually atrophies; that is axiomatic."5

Another study was conducted by Ivo K. Feierabend and Rosalind Feierabend, who introduced a scale of 0 (extremely stable) to 6 (extremely unstable) ratings of eighty four nations over a time span of seven years (1955-1961).6 They defined the concepts of stability and instability as:

"The degree or the amount of aggression directed by individuals or groups within the political system against other groups or against the complex of officeholders and individuals and groups associated with them. Or, conversely, it is the amount of aggression directed by these officeholders against other individuals, groups or other officeholders within the policy. …

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