After a decade of democratic deepening, South Asia is experiencing a period of democratic backsliding. Incumbent governments are wielding a variety of tools—from populism to digital repression and violence—to further entrench their power. But democracy is as much about opposition as it is about government. A new Carnegie project on the politics of opposition in South Asia shines a spotlight on actors challenging the status quo from the outside—from political parties and civil society to social movements and armed actors. Unpacking opposition dynamics helps explain the consolidation of autocratic governance in the region, gauge the possibilities of democratic renewal, and understand the dynamics of armed conflict.
The 2013 Karachi Operation has engendered lasting instability in Pakistan’s largest city. Religious, military, and political groups vie for power over a multiethnic and divided populace as the threat of violence lingers.
The Pakistan Peoples Party plays a critical role in opposition politics in Pakistan but must balance opposition at the national level with the cause of autonomy within its home province of Sindh. Now, the party is fighting to leverage its oppositional leadership toward these two goals.
The BNA demonstrators are the latest chapter in Nepal’s long history of citizen-led protest movements demanding greater accountability from Nepali leaders.
The Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan has shifted the balance of power between the Pakistani government and the largest antistate militant group in the country.
The Bangladeshi government has used a vaguely worded law on digital security to crack down on its critics and dispel online dissent.
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