Contesting access to power in urban Pakistan

7th Jun 2017

By Ijlal Naqvi

Studies of informal housing and urban citizenship in South Asia frequently link the precariousness of squatter life with the struggle to formalise engagement with the state. However, this article argues that the transition to a more formal mode of making claims on the state is a shift in terrain that is no less negotiated and contested. Through an ethnography of access to electrical power in Islamabad, Pakistan, this article explores the pervasiveness of informality in access to service delivery for a squatter settlement and its bourgeois neighbours. The politics of access to urban infrastructure reveal a state of pervasive predation and a collective imaginary which puts little credence in formality.

Read the full article here.

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