Pakistan’s Polarized Polity May Find Convergence in 2015

The Margalla Hills, overlooking Islamabad, Pakistan on a hazy winter day in December 2014. Photograph by Saleem H. Ali
The Margalla Hills, overlooking Islamabad, Pakistan on a hazy winter day in December 2014. Photograph by Saleem H. Ali

I heralded the start of 2015, sitting with my family on a mildly foggy night around a bonfire in Lahore, Pakistan. The mist that surrounded us was metaphoric of the feeling of uncertainty that enshrouds my land of origin. During my three-week visit, I had witnessed the national horror of a terrorist attack against promising adolescents and their teachers at a school in Peshawar. Despair was palpable but so too was a determination to unite against such dark forces across the country’s political spectrum. Even those who sympathized with the Taliban, such as the clerics of the infamous Red Mosque, were forced to eventually denounce the attack after progressive civil society activists protested outside the mosque and took legal action against the mosque’s imam, Maulana Abdul Aziz.

2014 has been a year of polarized politics in Pakistan. The old guard dominant parties (both the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Group – PMLN – and its erstwhile rival the Pakistan Peoples’ Party – PPP) were confronted with a mass-protest against alleged election rigging by the new political force of —> Read More Here

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