Pakistan: 1995

By Borthwick, Bruce | The Middle East Journal, Spring 1996 | Go to article overview

Pakistan: 1995


Borthwick, Bruce, The Middle East Journal


Pakistan: 1995, ed. by Charles H. Kennedy and Rasul Bakhsh Rais. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995. v + 192 pages. Chron. to p. 212. Append. to p. 213. Contribs. to p. 217. Index to p. 229. $40.

Edited by two professors of political science, one at Wake Forest in North Carolina, the other at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, this is the second volume in a series sponsored by the American Institute of Pakistan Studies to assess biennially developments in this important South Asian country. The first volume had a similar title. '

The book is a collection of nine articles and begins with one by Rasul Rais summarizing political events in Pakistan between 1992 and 1994. Focusing on the polarization in the body politic between the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), led by Benazir Bhutto, and the Muslim League, led by Nawaz Sharif, Rais emphasizes that the country's transition from authoritarian rule to democracy has been rocky. "Constant decay of political institutions, erosion of the capacity of the state to govern, and the widening gap between popular expectations and the ability of the state to live up to them" (p. 1 ) bode ill for stability.

Also included is an article about the economic policies of various governments since the founding of the state. After looking at the privatization policies of some governments and the nationalization policies of others, it concludes that at present it is best to have both government-owned and private industry "working together in a well coordinated and symbiotic relationship for the good of the economy and the welfare of the public" (p. 44).

The status of women is also examined. The conclusion is that while promises have been many, advancement has been very limited, with definite deleterious effects on the nation's economy.

The condition of religious minorities, particularly the Ahmadis, is studied. Here the conclusion is more forceful: The 3 July 1993 decision by the Pakistan Supreme Court upholding a law making public practice of the religion of the Ahmadis a crime, goes against the fundamental "constitutional jurisprudence of the country, the implied covenant of freedom of religion between religious minorities and the Pakistan movement, and the dictates of international human rights law" (p. …

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