Pakistan, a country of 231 million multi-ethnic, multi-lingual people, is at the crossroads. The challenges of political polarisation, economic hardships, climate change, internal security threats due to religious extremism, and civil-military tensions are spiralling. The complex intertwining of the issues and the rapidly changing circumstances make it difficult to get a clear understanding of the dynamics of polity and society. The situation poses a challenge to a set of stakeholders, both internal and external, who support programs and policies for sustainable development of the country.

With a view to facilitate understanding of the national and local dynamics, The Knowledge Forum (TKF) with the support of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung is pleased to launch the Pakistan Bulletin, a periodic, concise, on-line update containing short analyses of current issues and the emerging situation in the country. Targeting a select audience, the objective of this newsletter is to enhance the understanding of the concerned stakeholders and facilitate policy making decisions. Each issue is to present analyses under four key topics covering important aspects of the country’s current state of affairs. 

Politics, Political Economy and Governance covers Pakistan’s turbulent politics which is heading towards greater uncertainty. With constitutionally mandated country-wide elections scheduled for the last quarter of 2023, polarisation among the political parties for power is at its crescendo. Key indicators for good governance–transparency, citizens’ participation, accountability, inclusiveness, efficient public service delivery, law enforcement—remain low. 

Under Economy, the articles will examine Pakistan’s worst economic crisis in decades. With large fiscal and external imbalances, soaring inflation, unmanageable debt, the country is on the brink of default and bankruptcy and in need of structural reforms. Climate, Energy and Energy Transition analyses Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate change represented by frequent extreme climate events, such as the devastating floods in 2022. 

Pakistan’s energy crises due to its reliance on imported fossil fuels, circular debt, and inadequate energy policies also necessitate discussions on alternative policies. The theme Pluralism and Human Rights is to probe the country’s poor record of human rights. Pakistan’s recent Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in January/February 2023 has identified a number of serious human rights violations in the country. Articles under this topic are to examine both progressive and restrictive legislations, gaps in implementation and the factors behind increasing intolerance in society.

The launching issue gives an overview of the four thematic areas. We would be happy if you share your feedback with us.

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