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Peasant movements and agrarian change in 21st century Pakistan

November 18, 2021 @ 5:15 pm - 7:00 pm

Noaman G Ali (Lahore University of Management Sciences)

Yahya Aftab (Independent scholar and activist)

The first two decades of the 21st century in Pakistan witnessed dramatic rural social and political mobilizations. Whereas the Anjuman Mazareen-e Punjab (Tenants’ Association of Punjab) and the Pakistan Kisan Ittehad (Pakistan Farmers’ Union) posed their identity and objectives in occupational and economistic terms, the Pakistani Taliban did so in religious and political terms. Scholars have explained the latter’s emergence mainly through contextual and ideological factors in the vein of security studies. This discussion instead approaches the Taliban as a rural insurgency, allowing for a comparison of the similarities and differences among the movements: not only to situate the Taliban insurgency within the political economy and sociology of agrarian change in Pakistan but also to identify the political limitations of the occupational and economistic movements. Indeed, the discussion examines how structural factors (imperialism, capitalist development, tenurial relations) and agential factors (ideology, organization-building) intersect to give rise to the variation in the forms and functions of Pakistan’s rural movements.

Noaman G. Ali is Assistant Professor of Political Economy at the Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan. His research and teaching concerns the political economy of underdevelopment, particularly the relationship between rural movements, institutions and agrarian change. Noaman has published in the Journal of Agrarian Change and Rethinking Marxism, and he has also written for Tanqeed.

Yahya Aftab is an independent researcher and activist from Lahore, Pakistan interested in political economy, rural development and public health in the Global South. He has previously worked on various research projects with the University of Essex and ReD Associates Denmark. He is currently working as the development manager for an edtech firm, Khud Initiative, which is working to improve female literacy in rural areas.

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November 18, 2021
5:15 pm - 7:00 pm


Journal of Agrarian Change
Department of Development Studies, SOAS