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  • Author: Anita M. Weiss
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The history of laws affecting women's rights and empowerment in Pakistan involves a com¬plex pattern of advances and setbacks, with the state's efforts to articulate a definition of women's rights complicated by the need to balance divergent views on the place of women in Pakistani society. After General Pervez Musharraf's 1999 coup, a number of factors, including international perceptions of Pakistan, brought women's rights, greatly curtailed by General Zia-ul-Haq's Islamization project, to the fore. Most critical among the changes to women's rights dur¬ing this period was the 2006 revision to the Hudood Laws, resulting in the Protection of Women Act. The incumbent Pakistan People's Party government has passed several important pieces of legislation continuing the progress for women's empowerment made under Musharraf. These new laws focus on sexual harassment at the workplace, antiwomen practices, and acid throwing. Additionally, the National Commission on the Status of Women has recently achieved elevated status. Despite these advancements, new legislation is needed to address ongoing challenges such as women's ability to control inherited land and human trafficking. If the Pakistani state is to make lasting improvements on these and other challenges facing the legal status of Pakistani women, it must find solutions that will not only benefit women in the country but create consensus among Pakistanis on the best and most achievable way to prioritize global rights for women while adhering to Islamic precepts.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, Islam, Poverty, Law
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Author: Shuja Nawaz
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Internal militancy and insurgency are the immediate threats to Pakistan's security. Pakistan's polity is fractured and dysfunctional, allowing the military to assert greater control over Pakistan's response to this growing internal threat. Civilian authorities have missed numerous opportunities to assert control over security matters. Miscalculation by the current civilian government in its attempt in 2008 to exert control over the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate soured civil-military relations at a time when the new army chief favored keeping the army out of politics. The military's interests are expanding to newer sectors, including economic policymaking, since a shrinking economy could hurt military interests and lifestyles. An opportunity to improve security sector governance exists in the proposed National Counter Terrorism Authority, which the government has unduly delayed.
  • Topic: Security, Intelligence, Islam, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan
  • Author: Moeed Yusuf
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since 2005, Pakistan and India have pursued out-of-the-box thinking on Kashmir and have allowed nominal human interaction and economic exchanges across the Line of Control (LoC). One of the most promising recent developments has been the formation of the Federation of Jammu and Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Joint Chamber), the first formal joint establishment across the Line of Control, which is poised to play a central role in future efforts at increasing economic collaboration. The Joint Chamber is still in its infancy and faces a number of critical challenges that are indicative of the potential stumbling blocks any effort at enhancing economic collaboration across the Line of Control is likely to face. Currently, a consensus is missing on the future direction of the Joint Chamber. Not only are the central governments in Islamabad and New Delhi skeptical about according this new body a pivotal position in cross–LoC trade, but even the business communities in the Indian and Pakistani parts of the state suffer from internal differences on the scope of the Chamber's activities. Perhaps most worrisome is the Kashmiri business community's reluctance to lobby proactively for expansion of ties beyond trade in goods. Investment, joint ventures, and transit trade through Pakistani Kashmir and Pakistan hold the real potential if economic interdependence is to ameliorate the long-standing political tensions over Kashmir. The Joint Chamber members need to agree on a clear vision for the Chamber, preferably including concerns not only relevant to goods trade but also to trade in services, investment, joint ventures, and transit trade. To cover this broad horizon the Chamber would have to increase its capacity by involving entities such as trade associations and the civil society at large. Before tangible gains can be made, the Joint Chamber needs a number of scoping exercises to determine the true potential for economic collaboration on all fronts. The current dearth of information is a major shortcoming in determining the specific areas that could expand the hitherto nascent cross–LoC interaction. The Joint Chamber is already engaged in advocating for an increase in the nominal goods trade initiated across the LoC in October 2008. Protocols for physical travel and communication between traders, marketing and banking facilities, and an expansion of the scope of engagement are obvious next steps for this process. The key to the Joint Chamber's success is to strike a delicate balance between nudging the governments to open up and remaining pragmatic about the necessarily incremental nature of the gains.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India
  • Author: C. Christine Fair, Clay Ramsay
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past year, Pakistan has endured a series of traumatic events that have brought increasing stress to its people and its political classes, as well as to American policymakers and the international community.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Violence, Islam
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Asia