Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Emily Hauptmann

Second Advisor

Dr. Mahendra Lawoti

Third Advisor

Dr. Suhashni Datta-Sandhu

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa


Deliberative democracy, hybrid regime, Pakistan, devolution planning, military dictatorship, transitional democracy


Genuine democratic deliberation on design of institutional rules is possible only when the state apparatus and political and civil society are engaged in communicative interexchange, exchanging ideas, and speaking in a language understood and accepted by all others. Moreover, in such an exchange the interlocutors do not hold back their thoughts to achieve strategic control in order to subvert the communicative engagement. The deliberative theory of democracy advocates communicative engagement between state and society actors that results in institutional rules that are accepted by all.

The advocates of the theory of deliberative democracy argue that while the state is the chief architect of lawmaking, to regulate the society it cannot ignore the actors of either the political or civil society. The site where state and civil society engage in communicative interexchange is the public sphere. The theory of deliberative democracy does not question the legitimacy of lawmakers nor the institutions through which elected representatives are chosen. It is, however, the process of making and legitimizing decisions, policies, and laws that the deliberative theory of democracy is interested.

But what explains the role of civil society actors within such regimes that enact institutions which favor authoritarianism over democratic rule? When I looked to the deliberative theory of democracy to explain the complexity of devolution planning in Pakistan, I realized that the theory of deliberative democracy was insufficient frame to address the state and civil society interexchange. First, this is because the very entity of autonomous civil society has been absent in Pakistan. Secondly, the issue of regime type has not been adequately addressed by theorists of the deliberative theory of democracy.

Through elite interviews, analyses of documentary evidence, and newspaper reviews, I critically examine the political landscape of the country.

My research shows that in Pakistan the three actors of the state—the political parties (political elite), the bureaucratic elite, and the military elite—have been locked in a constant rivalry to take control of the executive powers of the state. The hybrid regime in Pakistan and the design of laws and policies under hybrid regime is, however, not only the result of the long intervals of military rule. The political society is also responsible for perpetuating hybrid regime. The military and political elite build partnerships when it is suited for them to take reins of political power. Civil society, I argue, is a bystander in these partnerships; engagement with civil society is invoked only when required by the hybrid regime.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access