This publication is the full Pakistan Country Report of the regional research study 'Women and Governance in South Asia: Re-Imagining the State.' The study aimed to understand the nature of, and impediments to, women's participation in political life and governance; to elicit women's vision(s) of what the state structure and political culture should be; and to identify their recommendations for refining and altering those processes for political participation that are currently inadequate to meet women's needs.
The recent meeting of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) in Lucknow has once again highlighted the vexed issue of reforms in Muslim personal laws (MPL). Hopes had been raised that the AIMPLB would finally and explicitly outlaw the practice of triple talaq, which is one of the major concerns of the advocates of reform. The AIMPLB, dominated as it is by conservative ulema, did not, in its wisdom, choose to do so, however. All that it decided was to promote awareness about the negative consequences of triple talaq, and encourage, through moral suasion, Muslims to abstain from it.
It is an indication of the worrying political trends in Bangladesh that the Bangladesh National Party-Jamaat-i-Islami alliance currently in power is one of the most right-wing elected governments in the country's history and yet even this government is unable to satisfy extremist politico-religious groups.
But it is quite ironical that though fundamentalist forces have been systematically rehabilitated and encouraged through the two military governments it is through their participation in the pro-democratic movement and the support which they gave to a democratically elected government of 1991, that they emerged stronger than before.