13 June, 2021

A Nation On The Unmake

Two seasoned journos extend a sympathetic but an eyes-wide-open look at Pakistan

A Nation On The Unmake
Pakistan today presents a fragile appearance. Its latest attempt at democracy has only succeeded in setting the clock back. War in Afghanistan has had a lethal overflow and spawned Islamist groups in Pakistan who seem beyond control, even assuming that anyone wishes to restrain them. Ethnic and regional pressures, the Bomb, the parlous state of the economy, the unwinnable contest with India—these comprise a dangerous mix of problems, becoming rapidly more dangerous.

Lest this seem like familiar Indian propaganda, it is a picture that emerges from the books under review, written by individuals long familiar with Pakistan and broadly sympathetic to it, though with eyes wide open. Both are journalists who have gone uncommonly deep into their subject. In sometimes overlapping accounts, each has much to say and together they provide an arresting account of today's Pakistan.

Jones sets out to write a history, and his is a more structured effort. He looks at the sense of insecurity vis-a-vis India that affected Pakistan from the start and that leads to a constant quest for...

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