The Fractious Path: Pakistan’s Democratic Transition

July 21, 2016
03:00 pm - 04:30 pm

About the Event 

Since its creation in 1947, Pakistan has oscillated between weak democratic governments and military dictatorships. In 2013, for the first time, there was a peaceful transfer of power from one democratic government to another. These recent years of transition have altered Pakistan’s historical trajectory, as it is now straddling a democratic path. Raza Rumi’s new book, The Fractious Path: Pakistan’s Democratic Transition, records the major developments during the first civilian government (2008-2013) after almost nine years of military rule. Since then, political instability, regional conflict and terrorism have plagued the growth of democracy in the nation, resulting in perennial political instability. Raza Rumi will discuss the broad themes outlined in this book, along with the implications for the future of Pakistan’s democracy. South Asia experts Robin Raphel and Marvin Weinbaum will comment on the challenges faced by Pakistan and in particular its democratic institutions.


Mr. Raza Rumi, Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow

with comments by

Ambassador Robin Raphel , Former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia


Dr. Marvin Weinbaum, Middle East Institute

moderated by

Mr. Christopher Walker, International Forum for Democratic Studies

About the Speakers

Mr. Raza Rumi is a leading Pakistani journalist and policy analyst who is currently a scholar in residence at Ithaca College. He also serves as consulting editor of the Friday Times, Pakistan’s foremost liberal weekly paper. He is also a columnist for Pakistan’s Daily Express Tribune. A consistent voice for human rights and inclusion, he has worked as executive director of the Justice Network and is affiliated with the Jinnah Institute, a NED-supported think tank that explores issues of democracy and governance. Raza was also a leading TV commentator in Pakistan and hosted a current affairs show on Capital TV and Express News. He is the author of Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveler and has written numerous papers on security, development, and culture. During his fellowship at NED, Mr. Rumi is exploring the rise Pakistan’s democratic development, and working on a manuscript on the 2007 lawyers’ movement that led to the ouster of General Musharraf.

Ambassador Robin Raphel is an independent consultant, having retired from the State Department in 2014 after nearly four decades of government service.  She was the first Assistant Secretary for South Asian Affairs, Ambassador to Tunisia, and Vice President of the National Defense University.  Her last assignments in the State Department were as Assistance Coordinator in Pakistan, and Pakistan Adviser to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Dr. Marvin Weinbaum is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and served as analyst for Pakistan and Afghanistan in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research from 1999 to 2003.  He is currently a scholar-in-residence and Director of the Pakistan Center at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC.