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National Institute of Pakistan Studies
Name of ScholarMuhammad Fiaz Anwar
Title of Dissertation Political Participation in Pakistan: A Study of Voting Behaviour in D. G Khan Division (Elections 2008-2013)
Issue Date2019
PublisherNational Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

This research is about the voting behaviour of Dera Ghazi Khan Division and largely about Western Punjab conducted through the case study of village Jhok Bodo, District Dera Ghazi Khan. In this research, I probed the role of social organization and economic structure on voting behaviour of the people. The rural stratified socio-economic structure which is predominantly based upon colonial construct despite its huge changes provides the foundation of political structure. Landed elite despite socio-economic change still wield considerable influence over the rural population especially the landless tenants and members of artisan biraderis through democratic patronage and social and kinship networks. The political office even after the passage of seven decades remains restricted to tumandars and sajjda nashins. They after winning the elections use these offices for their personal and family gains and to some extent for the benefits of their clients. In this political process, on the one hand, from public side, voters strategically gather around their kinship networks and form vote blocs to negotiate with the politicians and brokers patrons to bargain for private and public goods. They give power to their biraderi leaders who bargain with the patrons.

In this research I found that the voters in rural West Punjab are neither economic dependent nor they blindly follow their parochial identities. They are benefit seeking political actors. They in absence of universal services delivery and dysfunctional public institutions, negotiate benefits with the politicians by strategically gathering their kinship networks for their collective actions. I argue that they are rational voters and they try to maximize their material benefits by using the power of their voters. In this way, in electoral politics of rural west Punjab, biraderi and patronage play major role in determining the voting behaviour of the people. They ideological commitment to political parties or programmatic following in politics has very small role in determining the voting behaviour of rural west Punjab.