Pluralism and Democracy in Pakistan

Mohammad Waseem

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Abstract

The problems of dealing with ethnic, religious and sectarian divisions in Pakistan were compounded by structural discontinuity of the state system after partition in 1947. The migration of 8 million refugees from India further contributed to the prevalent tensions and problems in inter-ethnic relations. Post-1971 constitutional thinking tried to grapple with pluralism by establishing parliamentarianism, federalism and bicameralism. Successive governments introduced affirmative action policies in order to provide underprivileged communities with access to institutions of higher learning and with employment. The system of separate electorates which had discriminated against religious minorities for three decades was finally removed in 2002. It is argued that viable democratic institutions and policy structures can ensure equanimity among different sections of society.

Suggested bibliographic reference for this article:

Waseem, Mohammad. Pluralism and Democracy in Pakistan. IJMS: International Journal on Multicultural Societies. 2003, vol. 5, no.2, pp. 162-176. UNESCO. ISSN 1817-4574. www.unesco.org/shs/ijms/vol5/issue2/art5

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