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'Brothers in arms'? A police-paramilitary partnership in Karachi

Waseem, Z; (2021) 'Brothers in arms'? A police-paramilitary partnership in Karachi. Policing and Society , 31 (2) pp. 131-147. 10.1080/10439463.2019.1705824. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between two state institutions, a civilian police and a paramilitary force, jointly tasked with maintaining law and order in Karachi. I describe this system of pluralised policing as a ‘competitive-network model’, in which unstructured cooperation between police and paramilitary officers coincides with competition and inter-agency conflict. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Karachi between 2015 and 2019, I analyse the impact of the competitive-network model on the civilian police. I argue that this relationship model causes institutional disruptions within the civilian police, reinforces the belief that militarisation of routine police work is necessary, and creates a crisis of self-legitimacy for civilian police officers who identify their institution as the ‘younger brother’ in such relational dynamics. This is the first study to investigate the partnership between two public policing providers in Pakistan. In doing so, it makes an empirical contribution to an expanding scholarship on the pluralisation of policing that currently lacks an understanding of partnerships between state officials and entities jointly tasked with public policing. It therefore raises important questions about the effects of police pluralisation, and prompts in-depth ethnographic research that assesses the impacts of pluralised policing on civilian police officers, particularly from contexts where the diversification of security actors may be politically motivated and detrimental to the professionalisation of civilian institutions.

Type: Article
Title: 'Brothers in arms'? A police-paramilitary partnership in Karachi
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/10439463.2019.1705824
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/10439463.2019.1705824
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Pluralisation, militarisation, self-legitimacy, Pakistan
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10092016
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