National history: New book looks at role of federal cabinets

A recently released book, “The Federal Cabinet of Pakistan: Formation and Working, 1947–1977” written by Naumana Kiran Imran, attempts to challenge the myth that the federal cabinet played no significant part in the decision-making and policy-formulation processes of the country, during its martial law years.

The book has been published by the Oxford University Press.

Imran, who is an assistant professor as well as secretary of Faculty at the Department of History and Pakistan Studies, University of the Punjab, has authored several research articles in national journals and has also presented papers in international conferences in various countries.

In this book, she analyses newly declassified cabinet files, which include minutes of cabinet meetings, decisions taken by various cabinets, and the working papers and summaries presented to them by ministries on important issues, to conclude that the role of the cabinet as an institution in strengthening democracy in the country was mixed.

Imran highlights how all three institutions, including the civil and military bureaucracies and the cabinet were effective governing bodies, especially in political and economic matters.

She maintained that democracy was reinforced by allowing ministers, representing different shades of opinion and social groups, to share power by coming to a consensus on vital issues with the head of government.

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