Akbar Zaidi

The Future of Democracy in Pakistan


Often called a failed state, overwhelmingly Muslim, ruled for the most part by the military, a country with nuclear weapons, actively involved in the war on terrorism, Pakistan is a site which offers complex, complicated and conflicting scope and possibility, both as theory and as example, of how numerous factors determine political and economic futures. The recent impartial and free elections, a rare occurrence, offer yet new possibilities, building on its history and structural and institutional determinants. This lecture will examine the possibilities that emerge from these elections and what they mean for Pakistan, South Asia, and the United States.


S. Akbar Zaidi is a Karachi-based social scientist who specializes in the field of political economy. He taught at Karachi University for nearly fifteen years and continues to lecture at universities in Pakistan and abroad. Most recently (2004-05) he was a Visiting Professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He conducts research and has published twelve books. He has published in numerous international professional journals on themes as diverse as devolution, health sociology, local government, fiscal policy, and international financial institutions.