Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences faculty members, Dr. Mohammad Waseem and Dr. Asma Faiz’s research proposal on the evolution of Federalism in Pakistan recently came out as the winner of the competition for the PERIDOT Research Programme and has been awarded a 3-year funding. The proposal received the highest marks in both sets of evaluations in Paris and Islamabad. The project aims to enable leading political scientists in France and Pakistan to conduct a thorough audit of post-18th Amendment federalism in Pakistan and thus bring out the political and policy implications of the changing nature of federation in the country for the coming years.
Federalism in Pakistan is currently part of the national discourse with speculation about the reversal of the 18th Amendment, re-allocation of funds from the divisible pool to the provinces, the challenges of integration of FATA into KP, the potential ethnic discord about the dividends expected to flow from CPEC, the demands for altering the institutional design of federation in Pakistan and the narrative about the creation of new provinces. Both the Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Waseem and co-PI, Dr. Faiz have published on federalism in Pakistan and are amply qualified to pursue the project. The rest of the team includes, PI, Professor Christophe Jaffrelot, co-PI, Dr. Jean-Luc Racine and two Pakistani students.
Implemented in Pakistan by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and in France, jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (MAEDI) and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESRI), PERIDOT is the Franco-Pakistani Hubert Curien Partnership (PHC) Programme providing opportunities to Pakistani and French researchers to interact for joint research activities.
Commenting on the research environment at LUMS, Dr. Faiz said, “Both our research and teaching during the last several years have helped us focus on the issue of institutional design of the state as reflected through the federalist arrangement for distribution of power among the centre and federating units.”
As a follow up to the award, the research for the project will start in fall 2019. This will entail a workshop for the research team in Paris and preparation of a work plan for theoretical and methodological issues relating to the project. After developing a conceptual framework, the researchers will conduct the fieldwork in the second year of the research. The final year of the project will involve putting together findings of the research and preparing a publication.
Elaborating on the project and its outcomes, Dr. Waseem said, “The PERIDOT grant for the project on federalism is indeed a continuing academic interest for both myself and Dr. Asma Faiz. At the other end, Professor Jaffrelot's book, The Pakistan Paradox, has been widely appreciated because of its analysis of some of the leading issues of Pakistan's politics including federalism. His co-PI, Professor Racine is also a leading South Asianist. In this way, all four of us — myself, Professor Jaffrleot, Professor Racine and Dr. Faiz have a strong background in research on Pakistan and have an abiding interest in further exploring the direction in which the federalist arrangement of this country is moving. I am confident that given the time at our disposal and facilities made available by both the governments of France and Pakistan, this team will be able to produce a first class piece of scholarship dealing with federalism in Pakistan.”