Pakistan’s provincial governments have had authority over the health, education, and policing sectors ever since a constitutional amendment in 2010. But the coronavirus crisis magnified the differences in each provincial government’s ability to deliver those services and mobilize emergency responses. Meanwhile, as coronavirus cases and resulting deaths rise, the situation has also strained relationships between the provinces and Pakistan’s central government—which is working to coordinate its own response at the national level. COVID-19 has left provincial governments battling both the public health crisis and its economic impacts, testing their capacity to handle the outbreak.

On May 14, USIP convened observers from all four of Pakistan's provinces to discuss each province’s on-the-ground situation, the various provincial government responses, and what we can expect to see in the coming months.

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #COVIDPakistan.

Speakers

Nausheen H Anwar
Professor, Karachi Urban Lab 

Umair Javed
Assistant Professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences

Rafiullah Kakar
Director, Strategic Planning and Reforms Cell, Government of Balochistan

Fasi Zaka
Independent Public Policy Consultant

Adnan Rafiq, moderator
Pakistan Country Representative, USIP

Related Publications

Extending Constitutional Rights to Pakistan’s Tribal Areas

Extending Constitutional Rights to Pakistan’s Tribal Areas

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

By: Umar Mahmood Khan; Rana Hamza Ijaz; Sevim Saadat

When Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas were officially merged into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in May 2018, the five million residents of the former tribal areas acquired the same constitutional rights and protections—including access to a formal judicial system—as Pakistan’s other citizens. This report, based on field research carried out by the authors, explores the status of the formal justice system’s expansion, finding both positive trends and severe administrative and capacity challenges, and offers recommendations to address these issues.

Type: Special Report

Justice, Security & Rule of Law

India, Pakistan choke on their smog. Can they clear the air?

India, Pakistan choke on their smog. Can they clear the air?

Monday, March 29, 2021

By: Jumaina Siddiqui; Zaara Wakeel

South Asia’s extreme smog worsens each winter, helping to kill an estimated 1.2 million Indians and 128,000 Pakistanis annually—more than have died in either country from the COVID virus. As pollution this past winter exacerbated the pandemic, India’s and Pakistan’s governments responded with mutual blame. Yet COVID, and a sudden moment of détente between these bitter rivals, could offer an opportunity to address the smog crisis, and build rare collaboration with the only strategy that can work: a joint one. The governments, their U.S. and international allies and civil society should use this chance to jumpstart such an effort.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment

Pakistan: A Rising Women’s Movement Confronts a New Backlash

Pakistan: A Rising Women’s Movement Confronts a New Backlash

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

By: Aleena Khan

Thousands of women rallied across Pakistan on International Women’s Day this year and demanded an end to violence against women and gender minorities. In the days since, Pakistan’s Taliban movement has escalated the threats facing the women who marched. Opponents of women’s rights doctored a video of the rally to suggest that the women had committed blasphemy—an accusation that has been frequently weaponized against minorities in Pakistan and has resulted in vigilantes killing those who are targeted.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Gender

Pakistan Senate Election Upsets Government Efforts to Solidify Power

Pakistan Senate Election Upsets Government Efforts to Solidify Power

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

By: Tamanna Salikuddin; Jumaina Siddiqui; Adnan Rafiq; Colin Cookman; Ambassador Richard Olson

Pakistan held indirect elections on March 3 for the Senate, its upper house of Parliament, which is elected by sitting legislators in the National Assembly (the lower house of Parliament) and each of the provincial assemblies. Given the typically party-line vote, Pakistani Senate elections tend to be mundane affairs, with the results often preordained. However, in last week’s elections the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, despite having a numerical majority in the national and provincial assemblies, failed to forestall defections among some lawmakers and in doing so failed to take control of the Senate from the opposition.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

View All Publications