Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg


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Jamal Ali Bashir

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Petra Dobner

Title: Examining the Everyday State and Political Society in “Tribal” Southeastern Baluchistan, Pakistan

I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in 2014 and commended my MA in Democratic Governance and Civil Society funded by DAAD PPGG program at the University of Osnabrück in 2015. I finished my MA in 2017 and began working as a Project Assistant in March 2018 at Re: work research center in collaboration with the Humboldt University Berlin. I joined  the Graduate School "Society and Culture in Motion" and the Politics Department of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg as a Ph.D. Candidate in October 2018.

In my thesis, I aim to look at the genealogy of the modern state in  canal-irrigated Baluchistan. I identify four historical phases of state presence in this area, namely, state formation, state expansion, state  consolidation, and state capture. I argue that all these processes are connected by a thread of patronage as an institutionalized structure of rule to generate order, legitimacy, and revenue for the state. However,  the logic that informs patron-client relations between the state and  local political actors has transformed since the colonial encounter.  State formation during the colonial period was facilitated by patronage  structure through which tribal elite was granted lands and in return, they were expected to provide their services (a) to maintain law and order at the borders of the British Indian Empire, and (b) to generate revenue. State expansion and state consolidation during the  post-colonial period, I argue, was facilitated by a renewed contract  through which the postcolonial state protected the privileges of the  local elite and loyal tribal chiefs who reciprocated by (a) allowing  state-initiated infrastructure construction, (b) accepting state legitimacy to regulate society more intensively. With the introduction of elections in 1970 in Pakistan, the process of state capture from below has unfolded. In this phase, politicians–as–gatekeepers to state resources, have developed mechanisms of exclusive resource distribution to benefit their voters and supporters to increase the chances of staying in power.


Conference Report

Servants’ Pasts.” 2nd International Conference held in Berlin (11.04.2018–13.04.2018). Available on the H-Soz-Kult website: