The Emergence Of Neo-Feudalism In Pakistan: The Case Of Islamabad And Karachi
Author: Huda

Globally, Neo-feudalism is emerging as a new form of domination in which an emerging class of nobles influence economic and government policies under the patronage of state institutions. The concept of Neo-feudalism has been widely discussed in international academic discourse. However, there is not enough empirical data available on Neo-feudalism explaining the political economy of Pakistan. This dissertation attempts to study real-estate development and expansion of housing societies in Pakistan as a Neo-feudal phenomenon that has facilitated the emerging class of real estate mafias and land grabbers acquiring land belonging to the indigenous and working-class communities. The data for this paper is collected through an extensive review of the literature and semi-structured interviews with economists, urban planners, policymakers, lawyers and academics. The thematic analysis of interviews suggests that Pakistan’s real state overlords operate through disintegrated sovereignty, patron-client relationship with state institutions, rent-seeking, and illegal occupation of land in the hinterlands to accumulate windfall profits. While taking the case study Bahria Town Karachi, the thesis presents the structures and dynamics of Neo-Feudalism that includes parcelized sovereignty, political patronage, legalized land grabbing, coercive force and spatial inequalities through which the nexus of real-state mafia, military-owned corporations, political institutions and judiciary sponsor forced displacement and exploitation of indigenous communities. The recommendation section calls for immediate action by the state to protect the property rights, livelihood and ecology of local people through inclusive and people-centric policies concerning housing, land acquisition and urban planning. Supervisor:- Dr. Zulfiqar Ali

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Supervisor: Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro

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