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To what extent have the colonial legacies and formative years shaped the contemporary Pakistan and its challenges with Islamic Extremism?

Despite being only 65 years old Pakistan has undergone a difficult progression and suffered many setbacks. From political instability to repeated martial regimes the people of Pakistan have witnessed an endless array of changes and upheavals, all played out in front of a growing global audience. Its relationship with extremism is a well documented one and an area that forces the country into the spotlight on a regular basis. It is this troubled association with extremist behaviour that has paved the way for this research. The aim has been to ascertain what role the legacy of colonial domination and the initial years of construction have had on contemporary Pakistan’s fight with extremist behaviour. It is asserted that the actions and policies instigated under British rule coupled with the subsequent division of India have played a dominant role in the struggles that Pakistan has faced and its escalating relationship with Islamic extremism.

The majority of the research in this field looks at more modern historical components as causes and cites the late 1970’s as the turning point for Islamic extremism within Pakistan; others focus on the wider implications of British rule such as economic turmoil and financial instability yet little attention is given to the possible relationship between British rule and extremist behaviour. This Paper asserts that it was the policies and actions of the British colonial administration at the time that directly underpinned the struggles faced by Pakistan post partition and that the roots of present day Islamic extremism can be traced back to the events surrounding colonial rule.

This Paper concludes that it is impossible for colonial leadership not to have impacted the future of Pakistan given the policies they devised and the documented response of the indigenous people. However, what this research also identifies is the simplicity of such conclusions and that it is imperative that the influence of colonial rule be examined alongside various other elements that could and did influence contemporary Pakistan. Whilst colonial rule is an active part of the conclusions drawn in this piece various other factors have come to light in dissecting Pakistan’s relationship with extremism. Islam itself has been analysed and closely researched and the way in which it has been utilised as a tool for political development is a fundamental element in answering the core question within this research.

Author: Stacey Bridge

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The Sustainability of Development Cooperation – An Assessment of North-South and South-South Approaches

Contemporary development cooperation is at a crossroads. Global climate change, a legacy of failed aid, and the recent economic crises have made it abundantly clear, that the global North can no longer claim a leading role in international development. Postulating as axiomatic that international cooperation needs to be sustainable in order to produce effective change, this thesis presents a sustainability assessment of development cooperation. The trends outlined above bring South-South cooperation into the spotlight and justify the question: “To what degree can North-South and South-South cooperation be considered sustainable?” Using incentives, ownership and accountability as indicators for sustainability, this study shows that South-South cooperation (SSC) can contribute important knowledge about the architecture of development aid. However, the discourse about SSC is not yet as established as the discussion of North-South aid. Hence, there is room for stronger institutionalization and the potential to rewrite the course of international development cooperation.

Author: Svenja Quitsch

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Community Need, Government (in)action and External Pressure: A Study of Civil Society and Land Rights in Mozambique

The growing global demand for agricultural products is generating investment opportunities in land, particularly in Africa where large tracts of land are made easily available by weak government institutions. Without a strong voice or political power, the needs and demands of rural communities who live and rely on this land are often disregarded. There is an effort being made by communities, associations, NGOs and other aspects of civil society to push back and protect the rights of the rural poor.

Using issues of land and land rights in Mozambique as a case study, this research explores how civil society is formed in relation to community needs, government (in)action and investor pressures. Community and investor relations with the land and each other are discussed to better understand the conflict that is being created as a result of increased pressure on land. Within the Mozambican context, conflict between these two stakeholders is generally compounded by the government which practices both bottom up community development and top down promotion of large scale land deals which often ignore the rights of communities. Low levels of education and poor democratic representation has left the rural poor with minimal capacity to independently work towards securing their rights to land, but they are not without resources. Mozambique has one of the most progressive land laws in Africa in regards to protecting the rights of peasants; yet it is not able to prevent the abuse of rural populations which is rampant across Africa. However, there is a growing capacity within civil society, which still is relatively weak compared to the government, to challenge the marginal enforcement of the law.

In researching this conflict during his two-month stay in Mozambique, civil society’s role in community empowerment and capacity building began to emerge to the author as an important tool of protecting peasant rights and promoting rural development. Associations and national non-governmental organisations which form the core of civil society serve to promote community-based development with the aim of making them visible to government and integrating rural Mozambicans into the larger Mozambican society. Ultimately these activities contribute towards enhancing civil society in Mozambique which the author trys to locate between de Tocquevillian and Gramscian conceptions of civil society.

This is a thesis submitted in part of the MA in International Development at the University of Sheffield.

Author: Nicholas Hess  

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Beyond the Terror Lens: A Critical Analysis of the UK Engagement in Somalia


 

Somalia, known as the world’s most failed state, has been labelled a threat to international security and a haven for terrorists. During the London Conference held in February 2012 British Prime Minister David Cameron stated that Somalia is a threat to British security and economic interests. This paper explores this statement and aims to demonstrate that whilst Somalia does pose problems, it is not a direct threat per se. However, by consolidating various, fragmented, open source information, it will show the deeper issues behind the UK’s engagement on Somalia beyond the rhetoric of terrorism and piracy. Finally the document will conclude that Somalia is now an area of geostrategic importance that can no longer be ignored during a period of shifting powers in the Indian Ocean.

This paper was written as part of an MA in Conflict Security and Development at the Sussex Centre for International Security (SCIS) at Sussex University. The author, now a photojournalist has included a number of photographs in the paper which are also reproduced here.

Author: Russell Wood  

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