Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Drivers of Long-Term Insecurity and Instability in Pakistan

Drivers of Long-Term Insecurity and Instability in Pakistan: Urbanization

Jonah Blank
Christopher Clary
Brian Nichiporuk
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: RAND Corporation
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Drivers of Long-Term Insecurity and Instability in Pakistan
    Book Description:

    Pakistan is already one of the most urbanized nations in South Asia, and a majority of its population is projected to be living in cities within three decades. This demographic shift is likely to have a significant impact on Pakistan’s politics and stability. This report briefly examines urbanization as a potential driver of long-term insecurity and instability, with particular attention to the cities of Karachi, Lahore, and Quetta.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8753-9
    Subjects: Population Studies, Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Executive Summary
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xx)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    Pakistan is the most urbanized nation in South Asia and has been growing steadily more urbanized for at least the past four decades.¹ The impact of urbanization on Pakistan’s politics, stability, and security profile has been underexamined by analysts and policymakers alike. This project attempts to fill a portion of this gap and to focus on how Pakistan’s urbanization (and related demographic changes) might shape that nation’s political parties, democratic development, and potential security challenges.

    This project had its genesis in consultations between the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy and its counterparts in the United Kingdom...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Urbanization Trends in Pakistan
    (pp. 5-16)

    Urbanization is no recent phenomenon for Pakistan: It has been a steady trend since at least 1971 and quite likely since independence in 1947.¹ The UN projects that this trend will continue and even accelerate in the coming years (see Table 2.1). The urbanized percentage of Pakistan’s population grew 4.1 percent in the five years between 2005 and 2010 and is expected to grow 4.7 percent between 2010 and 2015. It is expected to grow 10 percent in the decade following 2010, compared with just under 9 percent in between 2005 and 2015.

    Whether one looks at the data solely...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Karachi, Lahore, Quetta: A Tale of Three Cities
    (pp. 17-32)

    Any discussion of urbanization in Pakistan must begin with Karachi—far and away the largest and most economically dominant metropolis in the nation. In 2010, Karachi’s population was nearly double that of the next-largest city, Lahore. Apart from Lahore, Karachi is more populous than the rest of the top ten cities combined. Merely the projected growth of Karachi’s population from 2010–2020 is greater than the current populations of Multan, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad put together. (Karachi’s 2010 population was 13.5 million, projected to grow 31 percent by 2020 to 17.7 million, an increase of 4.2 million).¹ These estimates may...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR The Political Environment
    (pp. 33-40)

    At a national level, Pakistan’s governing party garnered only 33.3 percent of the votes in the 2013 election,¹ but due to the first-past-the-post electoral structure, this translated to 129 of the 272 directly elected seats in the National Assembly (compared with 34 for PPP and 25 for PTI)² and made Nawaz Sharif the prime minister. PML-N’s dominance of Punjab has never seriously been challenged, and the party looks set to control Pakistan’s most populous province for the foreseeable future: In the 2013 election, it won 214 of 297 seats in the provincial assembly, by far its strongest showing anywhere in...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Security Considerations
    (pp. 41-52)

    From the standpoint of American national security policymakers, the most pressing question about Pakistan’s urbanization is what impact (if any) it is likely to have on U.S. security interests. While the impact of urbanization on security is likely to be indirect and while predictions are of necessity speculative, it is possible to draw several observations from the data described in this report.

    As noted above, urbanization in Pakistan corresponds closely with increases in literacy—but not necessarily with perceptions of household economic well-being. This is a potentially volatile combination: greater access to global news and (often) a greater sense of...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Lessons for the Future
    (pp. 53-58)

    To summarize the above analysis, how will urbanization affect politics and political stability in Pakistan? The following points ought to be stressed:

    Urbanization in general, and its specific demographic patterns in Pakistan, may serve to fuel anti-American sentiment and complicate U.S. counterterrorism operations in the near and medium terms.

    Ethnic-based non-Islamist parties (of most direct note, MQM and ANP) do not appear to be benefiting significantly from demographic shifts. In the case of MQM, the demographic shifts work decidedly against their core base of support: Few Mohajirs will migrate into Karachi (or, for that matter, other Pakistani cities) in the...

  15. APPENDIX Most Populous Cities
    (pp. 59-62)
  16. References
    (pp. 63-68)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 69-69)