The Evolving Structure of Civil Society and the State in Pakistan

Publication Year : 1997

The ‘Civil Society’ is the newest factor in the development equation, and the strengthening of civil society is• the latest addition to the agenda of development. This emphasis necessitates a probe into the structure of Pakistan’s civil society. The civil society in Pakistan-or anywhere else-has both the traditional and modern components. It is made up of institutions and organisations that stand between the state and the individuals as well as communities. They regulate the collective life at the intermediate level and act as mobilisers of people’s opinions and actions. Pakistan’s civil society is not entirely constituted by NGOs and special interest groups. It has Beradaris, bazaar associations, and NGOs. The .paper offers two conclusions: (I) Pakistans civil society has evolved through three phases .and is divided in the traditional. and modern tracks. In recent times, it has fractured along ethnic and sectarian lines and the denominational interests have come to dominate. (2) The state and the civil society evolve in tandem. Without an effective state, there can not be a strong and democratic civil society.