Federalism and regime change: De/centralization in Pakistan – 1956–2020

Adeney, Katharine and Boni, Filippo (2023). Federalism and regime change: De/centralization in Pakistan – 1956–2020. Regional & Federal Studies, 33(5) pp. 725–753.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13597566.2022.2126456


The extent to which de/centralization is shaped by regime change in federations that have experienced periods of autocratic rule is yet to be fully explored. To this end, this article measures static and dynamic de/centralization in Pakistan – a federal country under autocratic rule for long periods – since the introduction of its first constitution in 1956. Drawing on an original dataset compiled by the authors, this article challenges the narrative that only military regimes have abetted centralization. It also identifies the main instruments of de/centralization and the primary agents behind change, including the military, political parties, and the senior judiciary. The first study of its kind on Pakistan, and part of the project ‘Why de/centralization in federations?’, this article contributes to the literature on decentralization in hybrid regimes by mapping the longitudinal evolution of Pakistan’s federal system.

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