The Mahbub ul Haq Research Centre (MHRC) is the flagship centre of social science research at LUMS. It supports interdisciplinary research, scholarship and teaching on issues of human development, social exclusion and inequality across South Asia. Its vision is to co-construct knowledge on critical challenges with a community of scholars, students, practitioners and social actors to bring about transformative change for an inclusive and equitable society.

Electronic Media Regulation in Pakistan: Possibilities for an Unnatural Experiment

Saher Asad

The regulation of electronic media happens through PEMRA, which is authorized in its watchdog capacity to send notices and directives to channels. But where does PEMRA dedicate most of its time?

Blog: Pakistan Dialogues Political Economy

Inequality, Trust and Taxation in Punjab

Principal Investigators: Dr. Ali Cheema (LUMS, IDEAS, IGC), Dr. Ali Abbas (IMF), Dr. Michael Best (Columbia, IGC), Dr. Michael Callen (LSE, IGC), Dr. Adnan Qadir Khan (LSE, IGC), Dr. Shandana Khan Mohmand (IDS Sussex)

This project aims to assess the degree of horizontal and vertical tax inequity in property tax in metropolitan Punjab. It aims to disentangle the factors responsible for inequity and underutilization of property taxation in Lahore and understand the political economy barriers to introducing an equitable property tax code.

Research Political Economy

Analysis on Agriculture Productivity and Climate Change in Pakistan

Researchers: Dr. Abid Aman Burki (LUMS) Dr. Mushtaq A. Khan (LUMS), Muhammad Raza Mustafa Khan (LUMS), Verda Arif (LUMS), Muhammad Abubakar Memon (LUMS), Dr. Shabbir Ahmad (University of Queensland).

The aim of this project is to produce two research papers on “Analysis on Agriculture Productivity and Climate Change in Pakistan,” which will serve as background papers to the World Bank’s Pakistan Country Economic Memorandum 2.0 report to be published in 2022.

Research Climate


Against All Odds: Social and Political Action for Empowerment and Accountability

Panelists: John Gaventa (IDS), Ayesha Khan (IDS, CSSR), Khawar Mumtaz (Former Chairperson NCSW), Umair Javed (LUMS), Sarah Khan (Yale, IDEAS) and Miguel Loureiro (IDS)

How and under what conditions does citizen-led social and political action contribute to empowerment and accountability? What are the strategies used, and with what outcomes, especially in settings which are democratically weak, politically fragile and affected by legacies of violence and conflict? Drawing on research from the Action for Empowerment and Accountability research programme conducted between 2016 and 2021, this webinar discussed these themes in relationship in particular to a series of studies conducted by the programme with partners in Pakistan, including work on how marginalised groups interact with authorities, women’s protests and political participation, and mobilisation on energy issues.

Political Economy of Development

We are Lovers of the Qalandar: Piety, Pilgrimage, and Ritual in Pakistani Sufi Islam by Prof Islam Jürgen Wasim Frembgen

Reviewed by: Dr. Amen Jaffer, LUMS

Frembgen highlights the significance of mass pilgrimage to Qalandar’s shrine in Sehwan by Punjabis for the rapid expansion of Qalandar devotion in Pakistan. He attributes the emergence of this mass pilgrimage to the embrace of the Qalandar as their patron saint by Lahore’s film and music industry (p.3). Certain leading lights of this industry not only put the Qalandar on celluloid and composed popular film songs dedicated to him, but they also played key roles in organising and promoting pilgrimage to his shrine complex. They organised musical events to celebrate him and formed and led sangats (pilgrimage associations) that quickly emerged as the paradigmatic social organisation for devotees undertaking the pilgrimage.