'The law is just background noise': the politics of land governance in urban Pakistan

Aisha’s project pertains to the acquisition of peri-urban land for the construction of luxury private housing schemes in Lahore, Pakistan. She is interested in the legal and regulatory infrastructure surrounding land use in the city. In a complicated and messy legal landscape where jurisdictions, laws and rules are many and overlapping, Aisha is specifically interested in how and why legal contradictions and clashes are resolved to pave the way for the continued conversion of arable peri-urban land into real estate.  

Focusing her analysis on an array of prominent land actors, namely, bureaucrats, real estate brokers and employees of the Lahore Development Authority, Aisha’s research pertains to how these actors strategically employ regulatory confusion and convolution for purposes of accumulation. Operating within David Harvey’s 'Accumulation by Dispossession' framework, Aisha seeks to extend structuralist theories of accumulation by looking at an angle that is often missed in the literature – that of the law. She seeks to do so with the help of scholarship in the realms of legal anthropology, law and society and other interdisciplinary investigations of law in the global south.

Aisha Ahmad
Research Student