Book Launch: Seeking Supremacy: The Pursuit of Judicial Power in Pakistan (CUP 2022) by Yasser Kureshi (Oxford)
Nicholas Barber, Professor of Constitutional Law and Theory, Oxford
Timothy Endicott, Vinerian Professor of English Law, Oxford
Catherine O'Regan, Professor of Human Rights Law and Director of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, Oxford.
The emergence of the judiciary as an assertive and confrontational center of power has been the most consequential new feature of Pakistan's political system. This book maps out the evolution of the relationship between the judiciary and military in Pakistan, explaining why Pakistan's high courts shifted from loyal deference to the military to open competition, and confrontation, with military and civilian institutions. Yasser Kureshi demonstrates that a shift in the audiences shaping judicial preferences explains the emergence of the judiciary as an assertive power center. As the judiciary gradually embraced less deferential institutional preferences, a shift in judicial preferences took place and the judiciary sought to play a more expansive and authoritative political role. Using this audience-based approach, Kureshi roots the judiciary in its political, social and institutional context, and develops a generalizable framework that can explain variation and change in judicial-military relations around the world.
Yasser Kureshi is a Departmental Lecturer in South Asian Studies at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, and was the John and Daria Barry Postdoctoral Fellow in Constitutional Theory and Law with Trinity College at Oxford University from 2020-2022. His research lies at the intersection of comparative constitutional law and political science and concerns the military and the judiciary and their impact on constitutional configurations and democratic outcomes in authoritarian and post-authoritarian states. His other research interests include democratic backsliding, federalism and the making of legal cultures.