Girls Minhaj school Lahore.jpg

This seminar engages critically with the questions about religion and development in Pakistan, asking what roles religion is playing in the Pakistani society, and how this is and is not related to different conceptions of development. Following the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize to Malala Yousafzai (and Kailash Satyarthi) heightened attention is being paid to the possibility for girls to get an education in Muslim societies, as well as to children's rights more broadly. Yet the question of the different roles religion plays in any society – in politics, in economic and social development, is one which is highly context dependent on the historical and political landscape of each society. Through a focus on Pakistan – this seminar contributes with a perspective on a particular geographic, social and religious context – through the eyes of leading Pakistan experts engaging in a panel debate.

Introduction to the topic will be given by Masooda Bano (Oxford) and Khalid Rahman (Institute for Policy Studies, Islamabad) followed by a panel debate and questions and comments from the audience.

Chairs: Marta Bivand Erdal/Kaja Borchgrevink (PRIO)

Masooda Bano (MSc, Cantab; DPhil, Oxon) is Associate Professor at the Oxford Department of International Development, University of Oxford. Bano's primary area of interest rests in studying the role of ideas and beliefs in development processes and their evolution and change and specializes in the study of informal institutions and development. She is currently directing a five-year major research project: Changing Structures of Islamic Authority and Consequences for Social Change - A Transnational Review. Her publications include 'The Rational Believer: Choices and Decisions in the Madrasas of Pakistan' (2012) and 'Breakdown in Pakistan: How Aid is Eroding Institutions for Collective Action in Pakistan' (2012), 'Women, Leadership and Mosques: Changes in Contemporary Islamic Authority' (edited with H. Kalmbach, 2012) and 'Religion in Development: Rewriting the Secular Script' (with S. Deneulin, 2009)

Khalid Rahman is Director General of the Islamabad-based think-tank, the Institute of Policy Studies. He has over twenty five years' experience of research, training and management. His main research contribution has been on Pakistan's social and political developments with an active focus on Afghanistan, Pakistan-China Relations and Madrassa Education. He has more than 20 publications and a number of papers to his credit. He is also editor of the IPS Journal 'Policy Perspectives'.