Mariam Mufti

Associate Professor | Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies | Co-op Advisor
Portrait of Mariam Mufti

Areas of specialization

Politics of South Asia, hybrid regimes, democratization, party politics, comparative politics


BA (Pakistan), MA (Johns Hopkins University, 2006), PhD (Johns Hopkins University, 2011)

My research focuses on the role of the military and political parties in the processes of recruitment and candidate-selection selection of the political elite in Pakistan as a way to understand the behavior of political leadership and regime dynamics. I use Pakistan as a case-study to address the dearth of analysis on how politics actually works in hybrid regimes. By proposing to treat hybrid regimes not as a transitional state or a defective democracy, I examine the recruitment and selection of the elite—a new lens with which to examine how the fundamental coalitions of power underpinning the regime are structured. Based on this research, my book manuscript entitled Accessing Political Power and Democratization in Pakistan is under contract at Palgrave Macmillan in its book series on the Politics of South Asia. An edited volume, Pakistan’s Political Parties: Surviving between Dictatorship and Democracy (Georgetown University Press, 2020), (co-edited with Dr. Niloufer Siddiqui and Dr. Sahar Shafqat) also emerged from this research agenda. It is a contemporary, and to date, the most comprehensive examination of Pakistan’s party system and its growing relevance as the country makes a transition to democracy. Another passion project of mine, which is currently in progress is an introductory text on Pakistan’s politics, economy and society (under contract with Routledge).

I have extended my research on recruitment and selection of the political elite to examine how this has impacted the descriptive representation of women in Pakistan at all levels of government. I particularly examine the importance of how patriarchy, family structures and clientelism intersect to hinder women’s entry into politics. Outputs from this research are in the form of journal articles and book chapters (see below).

Apart from academic research, I have considerable policy-relevant consultancy experience, having authored monographs on democratic development, political parties and religious extremism for The Asia Foundation, Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) and Department for International Development (DFID). I have also written over 25 articles for widely-read international newspapers, magazines and blogs on politics in South Asia. In keeping with my interest in undemocratic, hybrid regimes, I have also appeared on a 6-part series on The Dictator’s Playbook on PBS (released in 2018).

Over the next year, I will be developing a new research agenda, which combines my interest in South Asia with diaspora politics in Canada. To this end I am working on an exploratory piece on the recalibration of Canada’s foreign policy towards South Asia and how it has been influenced by its South Asian diasporic population.

Selected Publications


Mufti, Mariam, Niloufer Siddiqui and Sahar Shafqat (eds.). 2020. Pakistan’s Political Parties: Surviving between Dictatorship and Democracy. Washington, D.C., Georgetown University Press.


Mufti, Mariam and Hassan Javid. “Electoral Manipulation or Astute Electoral Strategy? Explaining the Results of Pakistan’s 2018 Election.” Asian Affairs: An American Review (forthcoming)

Mufti, Mariam and Farida Jalalzai. “. “The Importance of Gender Quotas in Patriarchal and Clientelistic Polities: The Case of Pakistan” Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy (forthcoming).

Mufti, Mariam and Andrei Zhirnov. 2019 “Electoral Constraints on Inter-Party Mobility of Candidates: The Case of Pakistan” Comparative Politics 51(4):519-554.

Mufti, Mariam. 2018. “What do we know about hybrid regimes after two decades of scholarship.” Politics and Governance 6(2): 112-119

(This article is part of the special issue “Authoritarianism in the 21st Century”, edited by Natasha Ezrow (University of Essex, UK)

Mufti, Mariam. 2009. “Ensuring Social Order: A Case of Islamic Governance under the MMA 2002- 2007.” Critique Internationale, .42(1): 39-55

Mufti, Mariam. 2008. “Dynastic Politics in South Asia.” South Asian Journal. 20(April-June): 9-20

Book Chapters

Mufti, Mariam. 2019. “The Impact of Multi-level Governance on Women’s Representation in Pakistan”. In The Handbook of Gender, Diversity and Federalism, edited by Jill Vickers, Cheryl Collier and Joan Grace. 263-279. Edward Elgar Publishers.

Siddiqui, Niloufer Mariam Mufti, Sahar Shafqat. 2020. “Introduction: Pakistan’s Political Parties in an era of transition”. In Pakistan’s Political Parties: Surviving Between Democracy and Dictatorship, edited by Mariam Mufti, Niloufer Siddiqui and Sahar Shafqat, 1-20 Washington, D. C.: Georgetown University Press.

Javid, Hassan and Mariam Mufti. “Candidate-Party Linkages: Why do Candidates Stick with Losing Parties”. In Pakistan’s Political Parties: Surviving Between Dictatorship and Democracy, edited by Mariam Mufti, Niloufer Siddiqui and Sahar Shafqat, 144-162 Washington, D. C.: Georgetown University Press (forthcoming March 2020)

Mufti, Mariam. 2016. “Factionalism and indiscipline in Pakistan’s party-political system” in State and Nation-building in Pakistan: Beyond Islam and Security, edited by Roger D. Long, Yunas Samad, Gurharpal Singh, and Ian Talbot, 60-76. London: Routledge (refereed)

Mufti, Mariam. 2015, “The Years of a Failed Democratic Transition 1988-1997” in The History of Pakistan, edited by Roger D. Long, 633-679. Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2015.

*Mufti, Mariam. 2015. “Pakistan: ministerial turnover in the federal cabinet” in The Selection of Ministers around the World, edited by Keith Dowding and Patrick Dumont, 117-138, UK: Routledge.

Mufti, Mariam, 2012. “The Impact of Pakistan’s Domestic Affairs on the Making of US Foreign Policy” in Pakistan: The US, Geopolitics and Grand Strategies, edited by Julian Schofield and Usama Butt, 64-86. London, UK: Pluto Press.

Policy Reports/Monographs

Mufti, Mariam and Mohammad Waseem. 2012. Political Parties in Pakistan: Organization and Power Structure. Islamabad: The Asia Foundation.

Mufti, Mariam. 2012. A Literature Review on Religious Extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Washington, D.C.: Center for Strategic International Studies, Rowman and LittleField

Mufti, Mariam and Mohammad Waseem. 2009. Religion, Politics and Governance in Pakistan. Working Paper 27, Religions and Development Working Paper Series, UK: Department for International Development.


Recipient of the Excellence in Arts Teaching Award, 2017.

Member of the University of Waterloo Experiential Learning Committee, (2018-2019).

Certified by the University of Waterloo, Center for Teaching Excellence, Teaching Excellence Academy, 2015.

PSCI 250 State and Nation: An Introduction to Comparative Politics
PSCI 252 Global South: An Introduction to International Development
PSCI 259 Government and Politics of Asia
PSCI 299 Political Science Beyond the Classroom
PSCI 359Politics of South Asia
PSCI 450/685 Politics of Authoritarianism (renamed to Kings, Generals, and Tyrants in 2020)

Recent supervision

University of Waterloo Accredited Doctoral Dissertation Supervisor (ADDS) status awarded in 2016.

Master’s Research Projects (MA in Political Science Program)

2019-2020    Timothy Wilson

2018-2019     Ifrah Zahid

2017-2019     Lavina Chu (in progress)

2016-2017     Nima Karimi, “Effectiveness of Counter-Terror Fatwas”

2015-1016     Lema Ijtemaye, “Conviction vs. Apprehension: The Effects of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation on International Relations”

2015-2016     Reshem Khan, “Progress or the Status Quo? Systems Thinking and Targeted Practice in Development”

CIGI Graduate Fellowship (Balsillie School of International Affairs)

2016 -2017    Michael Fleet, “Reshaping Global Trade: China’s One Belt, One Road”


Office: Hagey Hall 306
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