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Pakistan floods: How new networks of Pakistanis are mobilizing to help

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Such stories are becoming increasingly common as educated Pakistanis are taking matters into their own hands, organizing fund-raising activities and distributing aid direct to victims of the flood.

Civil society and activism in Pakistan

According to Rasul Baksh Raees, head of social sciences at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, the reach and influence of civil society has grown as Pakistan’s middle classes have become more affluent, organized (thanks in no small part to the Internet age), and confident.

In recent years, Pakistan’s civil society has made headlines for its activism. Indeed, students and middle-class professionals joined lawyers in a movement to restore the country’s popular Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who was removed from office twice in recent years by former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

The networks formed during that "lawyers movement" are the ones that Maham Ali, a student at Bahria University in Islamabad, and her friend Samad Khurram, a Harvard graduate who recently returned to Islamabad, turned to help raise funds for victims of the flooding in the country’s northwest.

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