Why Pakistan is Neither a Democracy Nor (Yet?) an Autocracy
Pakistan’s political development since its independence — fluctuating between imperfect democracy and uncertain autocracy — can be attributed to several factors. Democracy suffered as a result of Pakistan’s colonial history, the process of Partition with India, and ethnic politics in the early years of the country’s independence. At the same time, truly autocratic forces have been held back by the resilience of Pakistan’s political parties, its civil society, and its judiciary. Yet there are reasons to be pessimistic about Pakistan’s future, including the poor record of its civilian leaders, the growth of political Islamism, the growing political and economic influence of the army and intelligence agencies, and continuing ethnic separatism.