Studies in Comparative International Development

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 501–522 | Cite as

Shades of Sovereignty: Explaining Political Order and Disorder in Pakistan’s Northwest

  • Adnan NaseemullahEmail author


How might we understand the maintenance of political order in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas from Pakistani Independence until the mid-2000s, when all the factors used to explain the current insurgency have been present for decades? This article argues that particularistic institutional arrangements between the state and tribal structures—what I call “hybrid governance”—established and maintained political order in the region. It develops a conceptual framework for the creation and maintenance of hybrid governance—where the state explicitly shares coercion with societal elites—as a specific kind of indirect rule. Through archival, documentary, and interview-based research, the article then demonstrates the utility of hybrid governance concept in explaining the establishment and operation of political order, and how the marginalization of the agents of hybrid governance is a major causal factor in the onset of the insurgency. The article concludes with some comparative reflections on the sources of political order outside the state’s monopoly of force.


Pakistan State formation Governance Indirect rule Insurgency Political order Taliban 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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