Saturday, May 14, 2011

Reading Pakistan

As Pakistan points the finger of blame at the US or India or Israel, it engages in flummery. For the problem lies within Pakistan: the military, the feudal fiefdoms inherited from the days of the rage, and an awful economy and infrastructure that provides the grist for terrorist groups, which the military in part nutures in the maintain its power.
During the Manichean foreign policy of the Eisenhower presidency, Washington found in Pakistan a countervailing weight to India, which adhered to the spirit of Bandung and did not shy away from relations with the Soviet Union, earning New Delhi a black mark in the US' book of the good and evil. Since 1958, Pakistan has received the US ratepayers' largess and Washington's turning a blind eye as Islamabad slouched into a Faustian bargain with Islamic militancy.
With the killing of Bin Laden in Abbotabad, the laser heat of analysis is searing Pakistan. Its elite refuses to deal with its complicity with the Taliban domestic or foreign; its hospitality for Afghani Taliban and Al Qaeda; and its inability to control Pakistan's Taliban, preferring a paper thin social peace as Islamabad, be it civilian or military leadership, caves into the mullahs and the terrorists who use religion for a political agenda arising out of the lack of country's leaders to tackle the concerns and cares of keeping skin and bone together for the ordinary man or woman in the street.
GuamDiary suggests the reading of a handful of books on Pakistan.

Mohammed Hanif's 'Exploding Pineapples' [runner up for the Man Booker Prize]
Anatol Lieven's 'Pakistan: a hard country'
Bruce Riedel's 'Deadly Embrace; Pakistan, America, and the future of the global jihad'
Rohan and Khuram Iqbal: 'Pakistan: terrorism ground zero'
Zhid Hussain' 'The Scorpion's Tail: the rentless rise of Islamic Militants in Pakistan and its threatens America'

And Ahmed Rashid's review of the last four titles: 'Cry, the beloved country' in the 26 May 2011 issue of 'The New Republic'.

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