About the Talk
The historically capricious relationship between Pakistan’s Islamic parties and the country’s voters conceals a complex political reality that has obscured the importance of religion as a factor in voter calculations and sowed confusion about claims of a ‘moderate’ voter who is deaf to the appeal of religious radicalism. The 2018 general elections in Pakistan, which confirmed the enduring power of religion to determine mainstream political discourse, has forced a reconsideration of these questions and cast doubt on the ‘moderate’ voter as a distinct, if not dominant, voice which has also served to lend credence to Pakistan’s self-image as a beacon of Muslim moderation.
Farzana Shaikh is an Associate Fellow of the Asia-Pacific Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London. A specialist on Pakistan, she has lectured and held senior research positions at universities in the UK, Europe and the United States. She has written widely on the history, politics and foreign policy of Pakistan and is the author of Community and Consensus in Islam: Muslim Representation in Colonial India, 1860-1947 and, most recently, Making Sense of Pakistan (2009, 2018). Shaikh is a well-known commentator on Pakistan for the international media and is a regular speaker at conferences and meetings on Pakistan in the UK and abroad. She has been called to testify before the UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee and the Commons All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir. She holds a PhD from Columbia University in New York.
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