Two months after returning to Pakistan from exile, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. As the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), she was campaigning for the position of Prime Minister. Because of her death, President Pervez Musharraf postponed elections until Feb 18. How will Bhutto’s assassination impact the current government and the upcoming elections?
Hoping to capitalize on public sympathy and oust Musharraf, leaders of Bhutto’s party had pushed to have the electionsheld as scheduled on January 8. Regardless of the outcome, some analysts speculate that Pakistan will descend into chaos. Opposition parties and independent observers have called for Musharraf to resign. Some have accused the government of complicity in Bhutto’s assassination. Pointing towards Musharraf’s considerable political survival skills, others expect that he will ride out the current storm. How much credibility does the Musharraf government now have? Should he be forced to step down? Could the current crisis lead to a collapse of state power? What is the future for democracy in Pakistan?
After September 11, the United States strengthened its relationship with Pakistan in an attempt to bolster an ally in the war on terror. If democracy is not returned, some fear that this effort will be undermined. How will the fate of Pakistan affect the U.S.? What role should the United States continue to play? How will continued unrest affect the region?
Join us this week at Café Society to explore the future of Pakistan.
About the Speaker:
Junaid Rana is Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies and Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, he specializes in the study of South Asian diaspora, in particular Pakistani immigrants. His research and teaching interests include the study of race/racism, Islam and Muslims, and community organizing. He is currently completing a book manuscript, Constructing the Enemy: Race, Muslims, and South Asian Diaspora , that addresses the complex relationship of Islamophobia, global racial formations, and transnational migration.
For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.