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In recent weeks, new pressures have been placed on Pakistan's once-vibrant civil society.

The government expelled 18 international NGOs and placed new restrictions on the leaders of the Pashtun Tahfuz Movement (PTM), a civil rights initiative. Pakistani authorities even called on journalists to make their reporting “more positive” in a media environment reeling from censorship.

These developments come after several years of Pakistani state crackdowns on dissent that have even resulted in weakening major political parties. The space for the country's liberal and progressive voices has shrunk considerably.

What explains these developments, and what does it all mean for Pakistan moving forward?

Panelists for this latest episode of the AfPak File Podcasts are Abubakar Siddique, editor of RFE/RL’s Gandhara website, Rabia Mahmood, a researcher for Amnesty International; Amber Rahim Shamsi, a journalist for Hum News; and Michael Kugelman, senior associate for South Asia with the Wilson Center. Muhammad Tahir, RFE/RL’s media manager for South and Central Asia, moderated the discussion.

This podcast was originally posted on Gandhara from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Contributor

Michael Kugelman

Michael Kugelman

Deputy Director and Senior Associate for South Asia
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Asia Program

The Asia Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.   Read more