Pakistan's hybrid regime

Growing democratization, or increased authoritarianism?

Authored by: Ian Talbot

Routledge Handbook of Autocratization in South Asia

Print publication date:  December  2021
Online publication date:  December  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367486747
eBook ISBN: 9781003042211
Adobe ISBN:


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Since the end of the Musharraf era in 2008, Pakistan has been classified as a hybrid regime with elements of electoral democracy coexisting with continuing military influence. Hybrid regimes have been increasingly conceptualized as multi-dimensional, with varying degrees of democratic or authoritarian characteristics. This chapter examines Pakistan’s evolution as a hybrid regime since 2008 through an assessment of the electoral process, civil liberties and the extent to which civilians have been able to erode the military’s reserved domains. Have elections become more competitive and fairer? Have press freedoms increased? Does the state or other actors restrict civil liberties? To what extent have politicians reduced the military’s role in policy formulation? The examination is intended to provide insights into both Pakistan’s direction and speed of travel, along the democratization, authoritarianism continuum.

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