Access to Power
PAKISTAN needs to produce enough electricity to meet its requirements but usually doesn’t. Despite prioritization by successive governments, targeted reforms shaped by international development actors, and featuring prominently in Chinese Belt and Road investments, Pakistan’s power sector continues to stifle economic and social life across the country. Why?
In Access to Power, Ijlal Naqvi explores the state’s capacity in Pakistan by following the material infrastructure of electricity across the provinces and down into cities and homes. Naqvi argues that the national-level challenges of crippling budgetary constraints and power shortages directly result from conscious strategic decisions that are integral to Pakistan’s infrastructural state. As he shows, electricity governance in Pakistan reinforces unequal relations of power between provinces and the federal center, contributes to the marginalization of subordinate groups in the city, and cements the patronage-based relationships between Pakistani citizens and the state that have been so detrimental to development progress.
Looking through the lens of the electrical power sector, Access to Power reveals how Pakistan actually works, and to whose benefit.
Ijlal Naqvi is Associate Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean for Curriculum and Teaching at the School of Social Sciences of Singapore Management University. He is interested in how states work on an everyday basis and draws on urban studies in his research. Before becoming an academic Ijlal worked as business consultant in the US and for the Pakistani government. Ijlal earned his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has an MA in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a BA from Middlebury College.