The period after Zia ul-Haq’s death in 1988 saw formal civilian rule for a decade, but no government completed its elected term. Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif both held office as prime minister twice; each government was dismissed, and caretaker governments were in charge in the interim until General Pervez Musharraf’s coup against Nawaz Sharif in late 2000. The efforts undertaken by caretaker governments bolster the thesis that political survival pressures have perpetuated the above cycle. Caretaker governments have a brief time in office only, without prospects for retaining a seat in the long term. Consequently, caretaker prime ministers do not have the same strategic need to preserve a winning coalition. Major income tax changes, particularly in the agricultural income tax area, have been attempted by a caretaker PM rather than a “regular” officeholder. This provides some evidence supporting the thesis that political survival conditions have conditioned extraction choices by incumbents. Yet caretaker governments, by their limited powers and short-term expiry, are unable to fully enforce and sustain their decisions. As the debt-servicing burden has grown and high military expenditures have continued, dysfunction in the polity has grown. A complex three-sided relationship, propelled by political survival needs,

has crystallized. Poor extraction keeps the state weak, and governance poor. Quasi-states persist because the state is weak and governance is bad. Quasistates continue to keep large segments of the political economy removed from the formal legal apparatus; they contribute to keeping extraction poor and this keeps governance poor. The relationships are interdependent and simultaneous: because governance is poor, extraction is poor. Because extraction is poor, quasi-states become de facto extractors. Landlords are often quasi-states; mafias are quasi-states; quasi-states form “no-go areas” for the formal government; quasi-states resist the writ of state; quasi-states mean an informal economy. This cycle is perpetuated by mechanisms traceable to political survival pressures.