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188 1986 ten State Building in Pakistan Pakistan remains a state on the verge of disorder. Even though it inherited a coherent set of administrative institutions from British India, the idea of Pakistan was firmly held before the state was created, and Pakistan always had adequate material and human resources to sustain itself. Contemporary Pakistan is the complex product of historical invasion, colonial rule, communal strife, forcible partition, and civil war. In this chapter I focus on this “new” Pakistan, the state that once constituted Pakistan’s West Wing, and primarily on those institutions in Pakistan normally associated with the state such as the bureaucracy, the political party system, the courts, and the armed forces.1 I make several assumptions about the role of such institutions in the state. First, their contribution is not necessarily positive. Some political institutions can corrode and destroy the very structure that gives them purpose.2 Neither the “state” nor its constituent institutions are value-free. States and their institutions everywhere serve some interests better (or worse) than others. They also influence and shape perceptions of what these separate and common interests are. As Aristotle argued—and as President Zia ul-Haq firmly believes—the state and its apparatus have a duty to mold its citizens. Second, politics everywhere—but perhaps more visibly in Pakistan— rests on a mix of consent and coercion. This may take the form of the threat of withdrawal of consent—or the threat of the application of force—but state building in pakistan 189 the two are omnipresent. When consent is absent, coercion shows its face, usually in the form of the application or threat of military power. The military or police forces are only faintly removed from the center of political life in any state. As Katherine Chorley wrote, “the position of the army in almost any society is the pivot on which that society swings,” a statement that is unquestionably true for a Pakistan that has been under military rule for more years than civilian.3 Third, the institutions of the state are not autonomous but rest on a broader political culture. When that political culture is mixed or is changing , then institutions may come into conflict or become ineffective. This is so because a change of the structure of state power will usually favor one institution over another, and important ideological, ethnic, regional, religious , or other groups are linked to particular institutions in the pursuit of their interests. In a multiethnic society such as Pakistan, it has proven impossible to manage the relative power of state institutions—especially the military versus parliamentary structures. Pakistan was unable to function as a British-style parliamentary democracy because inter-wing and interethnic conflicts were too powerful to be contained in polite structures; it was later unable to maintain even a halfway-house “consociational” democracy , in which linked elites governed in concord.4 But the ensuing military rule carries with it imbalances and may have the further consequence of damaging the military itself as an institution. Finally, it is important to note the Janus-faced nature of the state itself. States “always exist in determinant geopolitical environments, in interaction with other actual or potential states,” and this can be—and in Pakistan repeatedly is—a crucial factor in domestic politics.5 State rulers use external threats (real or imagined) to shore up their own position or, as in the case of the Pakistani military leadership in 1971, to prevent the coming to power of groups (such as the Awami League in East Pakistan) that are thought to be soft toward hostile neighbors (such as India). Nowhere is this factor more striking than in Pakistan, whose military, police, and bureaucratic elites have been united in their concern over internal weakness vis-à-vis external threat and over external involvement in internal affairs. These state bureaucracies have generally been opposed on these issues by other important institutions, such as the parties, the courts, and the educational establishment. A more complex issue is whether particular state institutions , which were created to serve one end and that reflect one national 190 stephen philip cohen value or goal such as security, can be adapted to serve another. Or can such institutions survive when sister institutions decline or disappear? This question was particularly pressing in a state ruled by military professionals who seemed to be dismantling those very professions and political and administrative institutions that give the modern state its purpose and direction. Comparative Perspectives In comparative terms...


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MARC Record
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