2022 Sarfaz Lecture | Beyond the hybrid regime: establishing a stable locus of power in Pakistan

The sick man of Asia, Pakistan has fallen behind its peers across a range of development indicators. The reasons are often debated in binary terms: is the country a development laggard because of the military’s security agenda or the civilian leadership’s poor governance? The lecture will present a different hypothesis: Pakistan’s failure to progress is a result of the hybrid regime. First witnessed in the late 1980s and on vivid display since 2018, the hybrid regime separates authority and responsibility and divides power between civil and military. An unequal partnership, the hybrid regime has the military arrogating to itself national security and key foreign policy relations, while human and economic development are foisted on the civilian leadership as residual responsibilities. But the hybrid regime - also an amorphous, de facto division of power between civil and military - is inherently unstable and therefore inimical to development progress. Drawing upon personal experience as a journalist in Pakistan since 2008, it will be shown that the military’s interference in politics and the political leadership’s willingness to cohabit with the military have both helped perpetuate the unstable hybrid regime. The lecture will conclude with an evaluation of possible paths to a constitutional democracy with a limited role for the military. In the absence of a democratically rejuvenated civilian leadership, the role of the media and organised civil society will be discussed. For Pakistan, an imminent stable governance path towards development is unlikely.

24 Nov
  • Cyril Almeida (Journalist)
Wolfson College, The Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Linton Road OX2 6UD