Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia
rehan headshot

Rehan Rafay Jamil

PhD Candidate in Political Science
Summer Fellow 2018
Project Title: Social Policy, Democracy and Uneven Citizenship in Pakistan


Rehan Rafay Jamil is a PhD candidate in the Political Science department studying comparative politics. His research interests research interests include political economy of development, social policy and citizenship in South Asia. His dissertation examines the political origins and citizenship impacts of Pakistan’s largest cash transfer program targeted at low income women: The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP)

Countries across the Global South are using cash transfer programs as a means to reduce poverty and offer social safety nets to marginalized populations. While the impact of these programs are the subject of ongoing evaluation, their wider political implications are a fertile area for further study. How do rights enhancing safety nets emerge in states in the Global South? What political implications do these social safety nets have for citizens who are engaging with state services for the first time? Rehan’s dissertation seeks to address these questions by analyzing the political origins and impact of Pakistan’s largest safety net: The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), one of the largest cash
transfer programs targeted at women in South Asia and the Global South.

The first part of the dissertation will examine the political origins and evolution in the design of BISP. The second part will examine the citizenship implications of the cash transfer for beneficiaries. Rehan’s research aims to make a contribution to the study of social policy, democratization and rights claims in South Asia, as well as a broader audience interested in the changing landscape of state-society relations and social policy interventions in the Global South.