Javid and Younus on Pakistan’s dynastic politics

This interview of Hassan Javid by Uzair Younus is really really great, part of Younus’ Pakistonomy newsletter/podcast/YouTube empire. It highlights some of Javid’s research on dynastic politics. Go read and watch (pulled out a bit of summary below):

“Dr. Javid’s research shows that about 400 families have dominated Punjab’s political system since the 1970s, with electable / dynastic candidates often moving from one party to another based on the shifting sands of power in the country.

This system of influence has spread its tentacles across other organs of the state, with members of the most influential dynasties having familial links into the bureaucracy, judiciary, and the security establishment.

It is these linkages, not just money, that makes dynastic politicians important to the political party seeking to come into power.

I learnt a lot during this conversation, but it thoroughly depressed me. I do not have much to share in terms of solutions or a path forward. I will just say that the way the system is stacked up, it seems highly unlikely that Pakistan’s masses will be ruled by a system that truly cares about making their lives better.”

Another piece of (tentative) Indian Army demographic data

The ethnic/religious/regional composition of a state’s security forces is incredibly politically important. Political scientists, from Horowitz to Enloe Petersen to Cederman et al. to Bellin to Roessler to, most recently, Johnson and Thurber (among many many others) have highlighted ways in which the composition of the state can affect political stability, coups, counterinsurgency/internal security posture, and revolts. Yet for many obvious reasons, military and security forces tend to be extremely reticent to share this kind of data publicly, so studying it is difficult.

In the South Asian context – one of the inspirations for Horowitz in particular (especially Sri Lanka – see also his less-well-known book on the attempted coup of 1962) – we have recent-ish work touching on the demographic composition of the Pakistan Army by Fair and Nawaz (at the level of recruitment intake) and by Dann Naseemullah, Ahsan Butt, and me (at the level of the corps commander tier). A related, excellent, recent ethnographic book on the Pakistan Army was just published by Maria Rashid. Classic comparative-historical work by many, such as Siddiqa, Cohen, Shah, Jaffrelot, Rizvi, Jalal, and Fair, has highlighted ethnic imbalances at a macro-level within the military apparatus.

On India, Steven Wilkinson has unpacked Army data on regional patterns, and I’ve worked with Drew Stommes to tentatively back out spatial variation in force composition in the BSF and CRPF using published fatality data. Omar Khalidi focuses in more on the police.

The newest contribution comes from David Smith in his Stimson Center monograph The Wellington Experience (2 years ago I highlighted his counterpart monograph on Pakistan, The Quetta Experience). On page 49, Smith offers a summary of some of Wilkinson’s findings for those not familiar with it.

The monograph further provides (highly tentative) data allowing insight into Muslim and Sikh representation in the Indian Army’s higher ranks (p. 48):

Annex H is on page 248 and is crystal-clear to caution that “these figures are not official and should be taken as illustrative only,” so massively important caveats abound. But this is nevertheless a valuable addition to this very challenging empirical agenda.