Announcements :
• Dr. Muhammad Hanif Khalil has resumed the charge as Acting Director of the National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad w.e.f. 25-09-2023
• The Institute has announced BS, M. Phil, and PhD admissions (Fall-2023)
National Institute of Pakistan Studies
Name : Dr. Aasim Sajjad Akhtar
Designation: Associate Professor
Phone #: +92-314-5355066


PhD in Political Sociology
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK
Aug 2008
Master of Arts in Economics
Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
May 1999
Bachelor of Arts in Economics with Honours
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
June 1997
International Baccalaureate Diploma
Armand Hammer United World College of the American West, Montezuma, NM, USA
May 1994

Work Experience

Associate Professor
National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad
  1. Teach political economy, colonial history and social theory
  2. Research on identity, social movements, state, imperialism and informalisation
  3. Supervised more than 30 MPhil and PhD dissertations
Teaching Faculty
Dept. of Social Sciences, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Lahore
  1. Taught colonial history, contemporary global political economy, Pakistan Studies
  2. Research on devolution, post-colonial states, imperialism and capitalism
  3. Aided and supported various student research and activist initiatives
Mar 03-Jun 09
Advocacy and Research Associate
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Islamabad
  1. Advocacy on landlessness, livelihoods, ecology, militarisation
  2. Research on devolution, land reforms, urban planning, democracy
  3. Engagement with political parties, legal fraternity, public interest groups
Sep 2000-Mar 2003
Senior Policy Analyst
Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre, Islamabad
  1. Co-author of Human Development in South Asia 2000 on gender issues
  2. Secretary for the SACAC, a policy group comprising leading South Asian academics
  3. Research on contemporary South Asian society including sectoral work on labour
Jul 1999-Aug 2000
Development Analyst
Enterprise & Development Consulting, Inc. (EDC), Islamabad
  1. Monitoring & Evaluation of World-Bank funded Social Action Programme (SAP)
  2. Appraisals of Aga Khan & National Rural Support Programs (AKRSP, NRSP)
  3. Feasibility studies for Northern Areas Transport Corporation (NATCO)
Jan 1998-Aug 1998
Research Associate
National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
  1. Research on informal credit and insurance markets in rural Thailand
  2. Development of surveys on public crowding out of private transfers
  3. Comparative papers on Ghana, Thailand, Pakistan
Jul 1997-Dec 1997


  1. S. R. Khan and A. S. Akhtar, 2002, “Using Theater as a Research Tool: Bench-Marking and Trouble-Shooting the Devolution Plan in Pakistan,” Lahore Journal of Economics, Vol. 7, No. 1.
  2. Khan, S. R., A. S. Akhtar and F. S. Khan, 2002, “Investigating the Importance of Landed Power and other Determinants of Local Body Election Outcomes,” in ed. M. Waseem, Electoral Reforms (Islamabad: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung).
  3. Akhtar, A. S, 2002, ‘Ripensare l’internazionalismo e le strategie di trasformazione radicale’ in S. Mezzadra and F. Rahola (eds.), Movimenti Postcoloniali, No. 23, Verona.
  4. Akhtar, A. S., 2005, “Are we not a working-class movement?,” Socialism & Democracy 38, Vol. 19, No. 2.
  5. Akhtar, A. S., 2005. “Privatisation at Gunpoint,” Monthly Review, October-November.
  6. Akhtar, A. S., 2006, “The professionalization of political culture,” Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, Vol. 17, No. 3.
  7. Akhtar, A. S., 2006, “The State as Landlord in Pakistani Punjab: Peasant Struggles on the Okara Military Farms,” Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 33, No. 33.
  8. Akhtar, A. S. 2006. “Cuban Doctors in Pakistan,” Monthly Review, November-December
  9. Akhtar, A. S., A. Amirali & M. A. Raza, 2006, “Reading between the lines: The mullah-military alliance in Pakistan,” Contemporary South Asia, Vol. 15, No. 4.
  10. Khan, S. R., A. S. Akhtar and F. S. Khan, 2007, Initiating Devolution: Ignoring the power structure (Karachi: Oxford University Press).
  11. Akhtar, A. S., 2007, “The New Vanguard: Challenges for the Left in Asia and Africa,” Socialism & Democracy 43, Vol. 21, No. 1.
  12. Akhtar, A.S., 2007, “Balochistan versus Pakistan,” Economic and Political Weekly, November 17: 73-79.
  13. Akhtar, A.S., 2007, “Pakistan: insatisfaction sociale et politique face au regime militaire,” in Etat des resistances dans le Sud – 2008, Centre Trincontinental 14(4)
  14. Akhtar, A.S. 2008, “Challenges of Ethno-Nationalism in Balochistan,” in Seema Shekhawat and Debditta Aurobinda Mahapatra (eds.), Afro-Asian Conflicts: Changing Contours, Costs and Consequences (Delhi: New Century Publications).
  15. Akhtar, A.S. and A.S Kariapper, 2008, ‘Devolution and the Okara Military Farms Conflict’, Syed Mubashir Ali and Muhammad Amjad Saqib eds, Devolution and Governance Reforms in Pakistan, Karachi: Oxford University Press.
  16. Akhtar, A.S. 2009 “Moving beyond ‘Islamic’”, Middle East Institute Viewpoints: The Islamization of Pakistan, 1979-2009. Washington: Middle East Institute.
  17. Akhtar, A. S., 2009, “Jang,” in Saima Zaidi (ed.), Mazaar, Bazaar: Essays on Visual Culture in Pakistan (Karachi: Oxford University Press).
  18. Akhtar A.S., 2010, “Crisis of a frontline state,” Journal of Contemporary Asia 40, 1: 105-122.
  19. Akhtar, A.S. 2010, “Islamism as ideology of tradition and change: The ‘new jihad’ in Swat, Northern Pakistan,” Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 30(3): 595-609.
  20. Akhtar, A.S. 2010, “The Oil and Gas Brigade: Fragmented responses to capitalist penetration in Pakistan’s Sindh province,” Labour, Capital, Society 43(1): 5-30.
  21. Akhtar, A.S. 2011, “Patronage and Class in Urban Pakistan: Modes of Labour Control in the Contractor Economy,” Critical Asian Studies 43(2): 159-184
  22. Akhtar, A.S. 2011. “Peering into Pakistan” Economic and Political Weekly Vol. XLVI. No. 28. 31-35
  23. Akhtar, A.S. 2012, “Old Wine in New Bottles” in V. Prashad (ed). Dispatches from Pakistan. New Delhi: Leftworld Press.
  24. Akhtar, A.S. 2013. “Dependency is Dead: Long Live Dependency” in Anita Weiss (ed.) Development Challenges Facing Pakistan. New Haven: Kumarian Press.
  25. Akhtar, A.S. and S.R. Khan, 2014. The military’s agrarian interventions in rural Pakistan: An Eroding Social Consensus. London: Anthem.
  26. Akhtar, A.S., 2015. “The Antinomies behind the Peshawar Killings”. Economic & Political Weekly, 50(2)
  27. Akhtar, A.S., 2015. “The Making of a Divided Polity: Class, Ethnicity and Devolution of Power” in A. Faiz (ed). Federalism in Pakistan after the Eighteenth Amendment. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
  28. Akhtar, A.S. and A.N. Ahmad. 2015. “Conspiracy and statecraft in postcolonial states: Theories and realities of the hidden hand in Pakistan’s war on terror.” Third World Quarterly 36(1): 94-110.
  29. Akhtar, A.S. 2016. “Failed State or Fragmented Hegemony: The Political Economy of Change in Contemporary Pakistan”. York University Asia Colloqia Series 6(1)
  30. Akhtar, A.S. 2016. “Dreams of a Secular Republic: Elite Alienation in post-Zia Pakistan.” Journal of Contemporary Asia 46(4): 641-58.
  31. Akhtar, A.S. 2018. The Politics of Common Sense: State, Society and Culture in Pakistan. Cambridge, Delhi: Cambridge University Press.
  32. Akhtar, A.S. 2018. “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Beyond the rule of capital?”. Monthly Review, Vol. 70, No. 2. June
  33. Akhtar, A.S. 2019. “When a Movement stops moving: The Okara farmers struggle twenty years on”. Critical Asian Studies, Commentary, November
  34. Akhtar, A.S. 2019. “The Overdeveloped Alavian legacy”, in Zaidi & McCartney (eds). New Perspectives of Pakistan’s Political Economy: State, Class and Social Change . Cambridge, Delhi: Cambridge University Press.
  35. Akhtar, A.S. 2021. “The war on terror in praetorian Pakistan” Journal of Contemporary Asia
  36. Akhtar, A.S. & Ammar Rashid. 2022. “No right to the city: Financialization and class power on the agrarian-urban frontier of Islamabad, Pakistan” Third World Quarterly
  37. Akhtar, A.S. 2022. The Struggle for hegemony in Pakistan: Fear, Desire and Revolutionary Horizons. Pluto Press
  38. Akhtar, A.S., 2022. The unfinished project of decolonisation: a revisionist reading of Pakistan at 75. The Round Table, 111(6), pp.699-708.
  39. Khan, D. and Akhtar, A.S., 2022. Transforming a praetorian polity: the political economy of democratization in Pakistan. Canadian Journal of Development Studies/Revue canadienne d’études du développement, 43(3), pp.320-338.

Conferences and Workshops (Selected)

  1. Humboldt India Lecture, Berlin, 2019
  2. Violence in the Postcolonial World, Liege, Belgium, 2018
  3. Pakistan in the age of terror, Arizona State University, 2017
  4. Pakistan Beyond the Security State, UC Berkeley 2016
  5. Institute of South Asian Studies Annual Conference, 2015
  6. York University/Toronto Universty/Ryerson University Joint Conference on Pakistan, 2014
  7. Harvard Business School Faculty Conference, 2013
  8. Pakistan after the 18th amendment, Lahore University of Management Sciences, 2012
  9. Special Conference on Pakistan and Bangladesh, Columbia University, 2011
  10. South Asian Diaspora Conference, Institute of South Asian Studies Singapore, 2011
  11. Emerging Asia Conference, Australian National University, 2010
  12. Remembering Andre Gunder Frank, University of Pittsburgh, 2009


Visiting Research Fellow/Honorary Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore 2014-to date

Visiting Scholar, South Asia Institute, SOAS, University of London, Sep-Dec 2019

Muhammad bin Laden Visiting Fellow, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, University of Oxford, 2019-20