At the Crossroads of Contested Representations : The 'Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf' in Pakistan's Politics

Ali, Bizaa Zeynab

Pakistan is currently faced with virulent socio-religious polarization that ultimately manifests itself across the political spectrum. The 'radical' right-wing religious forces are vehemently competing with so called 'liberal' elements for decisive representation. These two contested positions do not seem to reflect the aspirations of the majority of ordinary people of Pakistan, who do not support religious fundamentalism or espouse overly secular, liberal values but have not found a 'definitive voice' or a 'representative space' in the political or public sphere. In this context it is particularly interesting to study the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI), one of the 'emerging' political parties in Pakistan which reflects such mainstream concerns. Significantly a prominent feature on its agenda is the aim to 'bridge the polarized divide' in the Pakistani society. The PTI describes itself as a Centrist party with no professed affiliations with the religious right-wing or the liberal groups in Pakistan. At times the PTI agenda overlaps with one group or the other, but since it does not wholly endorse the positions of either camps it is looked down upon by both the liberal elite and the right-wing groups. This is a dilemma that the PTI faces when it seeks representation in the public sphere, which is dominated by these two factions. This paper seeks to study the PTI's current place in the religiously polarized sphere of Pakistan politics and how it navigates its way through the current political scene.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Published Here
March 5, 2012