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Book reviews

Governing the Ungovernable by Dr Ishrat Hussain

Pakistan’s main issue has been its crisis of governance as manifested by a weak institutional framework. In nearly seventy-one years of its existence, Pakistan has been ruled by four Governors-General, twelve presidents (including four military dictators) and thirty prime ministers (including caretaker prime ministers entrusted with the job of holding elections).

It has witnessed thirty-two years of military dictatorship and thirty-nine years of civilian rule (although military establishment called the shots behind most of civilian facades). It has experimented with both presidential and parliamentary forms of governments. The crisis of governance, however, has continued to persist thus eroding the capacity of the state, impacting citizens’ quality of life and affecting the development trajectory.

In the last decade and a half, three important books analysing Pakistan’s crisis of governance have appeared: Stephen Cohen’s The Idea of Pakistan, Anatol Lieven’s Pakistan — A Hard Country, and Christophe Jaffrelot’s The Pakistan Paradox. Former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Dr Ishrat Husain’s Governing the Ungovernable — Institutional Reforms for Democratic Governance is a timely and significant addition to the aforementioned list of noteworthy books; more importantly, it is the first to be written by a prominent economist who has extensive experience of public administration and public policy.

Starting his career as a government servant in Pakistan, Dr Husain rose to a high level in the World Bank hierarchy covering East Asia region, became Governor State Bank of Pakistan and also served as Chairman National Commission for Government Reforms during General Musharraf’s tenure, and later headed Institute of Business Administration in Karachi. Author of several books on Pakistan’s economy, Dr Husain’s latest offering, divided into eighteen enlightening chapters, is a comprehensive and compelling analysis of the landscape and history of governance in Pakistan.

Covering a wide array of topics history, economy, polity, society, federal and provincial governments, the civil service, the judiciary, the military and the private sector the book challenges many widely held assumptions busts many myths, questions multiple misconceptions and prescribes solutions to different problems. Given the vast range of topics covered, the most insightful chapters are on economic issues or political economy while those on non-economic subjects rely a lot on excerpts from newspaper articles and literature review of books on that subject.

Dr Ishrat Husain’s key thesis is that the economic history of Pakistan can be divided into two distinct phases:

1947 to 1990 and 1990 to 2017. During the first four decades after independence, Pakistan’s economic and social indicators ranked among those of top ten developing countries (ahead of India). After 1990, Pakistan’s economic performance has been so poor that both social and economic indicators have fallen

behind those of its South Asian neighbours such as India and Bangladesh. Since the 1980s, the IMF has been approached by Pakistan (twelve times), India (just once), Bangladesh (three times) and Sri Lanka (twice).

The Power Paradox by Dacher Keltner

Want to understand power? Forget Machiavelli! For too long, argues Dacher Keltner, author of “The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence,” we have accepted unquestioningly the version of power made famous by that sixteenth century author. To Niccolo Machiavelli, Keltner explains, power is “about force, fraud, ruthlessness and strategic violence.” To Dacher Keltner, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley, power is about making a difference

in the world a positive difference.

People can best attain power not by seizing it but by earning it by advancing other people and groups’ interests. People become powerful by being good people. They focus on others by giving to others, expressing their gratitude to others, offering empathy, and telling the kinds of stories that bring people together. That earns them esteem, status and respect all of which adds up to the very positive version of power that Keltner is describing.

Power as making a positive difference in the world is not at all what I expected when I decided to read Professor Keltner’s book. I already knew some of his work on power. I had read some of the individual studies he had published in scholarly journals. They are so creative, and sometimes even hilarious, that I couldn’t wait to see how he put them all together in his new book.

A few of his studies have made it into the popular press, so you may have heard of them even if you are

not an academic psychologist. An all-time favorite is the cookie-eating experiment. Keltner brings together

groups of three people and arbitrarily gives one person the most power by assigning that person the role of the supervisor over the other two. As the three people are working on their assigned task, an experimenter brings in a plate of five delicious cookies. With three people and five cookies, not everyone gets to have two cookies. Who is especially likely to take more than one cookie? The most powerful person, of course: The supervisors were nearly twice as likely as their supervisees to take a second cookie. Not only that, but the supervisors were also more likely to be uncivil by eating like slobs with their mouth open, smacking their lips, and letting cookie crumbs fall out of their mouths and onto their clothes.

In other studies, powerful people were especially likely to speak in rude ways, interrupt others, and I am

not kidding take candy that was set aside for children. They seem to be menaces on the road, too. Drivers of expensive cars are more likely than the drivers of modest cars to cut in front of other drivers, and

even pedestrians, at four-way stops.

Those studies illustrate only one half of what Keltner calls the “power paradox.” They show what can happen once people become powerful. Power is like a drug. It can feel intoxicating. All of that kind-hearted focus on others that helps people gain power gets undermined once they have power. That’s when the powerful are tempted to focus instead on the rewards they can reap for themselves. If they give in to that temptation, they become self-serving, impulsive, disrespectful braggarts with little empathy for anyone. One risk is that they will be punished with gossip and the loss of their good reputations. Then their power is at risk, too.

The Culture of Power and Governance of Pakistan 1947–2008 by Ilhan Niaz

“The Culture of Power and Governance of Pakistan 1947–2008” by Ilhan Niaz makes a strong case for the quotation, “the one who does not remember history is bound to live through it”. In the book, the author has tried to trace the current culture of power and governance in Pakistan through the rich history of the Subcontinent. He has asked the question that why the State of Pakistan is constantly losing its writ as many incidents, such as the “Laal Masjid” debacle, are challenging the writ of the state. He has also analysed why State of Pakistan is always facing issues in domains of administration, legislation, execution and judiciary. These issues are becoming existential threat to the Pakistani State. The author has blamed the rulers of Pakistan who behave like “Bureaucratic Continental Empires”.

In this book, Niaz has gone through the annals of history to discuss the nature of bureaucratic states that were prevalent in the Asian, African and European continents.

Bureaucratic continental empires were directly dependent on the rulers and these rulers treated their states as “personal estates”. Rulers employed massive state machinery like military, spy agencies and bureaucracy to sustain their rules. All these rulers had to show very stern attitude towards their masses to curb rebellions and secure their “personal estates”. These states could break up into smaller states if rulers did not use coercion or other aggressive and violent measures. Rulers used arbitrary use of power without regard to law and order. Religion was generally used to create basis for ideocracy.

Niaz has argued in the book that the rulers of Pakistan behave like the bureaucratic emperors of the past, without any regard for proper rules, law and order. On the contrary, he has praised the British Colonisers who bestowed their “State of Laws” upon the people of the Subcontinent. British emperors established certain institutions like judiciary, legislation, and an excellent civil service, according to the author. They built Indian civil service on the principle of merit and this civil service was mostly free of corruption. They introduced budgeting processes and several steps for a successful fiscal policy in the Indian Subcontinent. They also maintained the civil supremacy over military and established the idea that institutions cannot intervene in each other’s defined roles. The author has praised the British colonisers for giving these “civilised institutions” to administer India and how these institutions created conducive environment for law and order. However, it is interesting to note how the author has ignored the divide and rule policy employed

by the British government to rule India. He has asserted that the Indian experience of colonisation was less “cruel and tragic” as compared to the experiences of other colonised world. This assumption may have served the author’s purpose to prove his point but he has conveniently ignored many other important points. For instance, the British government introduced many laws of social and religious nature after which pluralistic outlook of India was damaged beyond repair and with serious repercussions for future.

The author has argued that after independence rulers of Pakistan gradually adopted highly arbitrary methods in the running of this country and the state became the personal estate of rulers. He has quoted an example where a convention was presented in the Constituent Assembly in 1947 that equated Jinnah’s personality, popularity and authority with the government. This convention was the first instance in Pakistan that made a person synonymous with the government. The author has also drawn a comparison between pre- and post-partition civil services. According to him, the civil service was highly efficient, effective and incorruptible in the pre-partition era but after the partition, there was a high influence of politics in administrative matters. Federal Public Service Commission and other provincial commissions became highly politicised. He has argued that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto totally demoralised civil service in the name of democratisation and equality. Steps like seniority-based upward mobility, standardised pay scales further deteriorated already demoralised civil service. Since then, every successive government has taken highly arbitrary steps that have politicised the civil service beyond repair.

The Rule of Law by Tom Bingham

Everybody believes (or claims to believe) in the rule of law, but how many people could tell you what it means? Although Tom Bingham, a retired senior law lord, has spent his life in its service, even he does not find defining it that easy. But his short book is a remarkable essay on the subject, stooping from panoptic heights of generality to brief but meticulously detailed case studies drawn principally from cases in which he himself has been involved (he engagingly likens these to Elisabeth Schwarzkopf’s choice of eight of her own recordings on Desert Island Discs).

The difficulties of definition are obvious if you stop at the initial proposition that the rule of law is simply public administration and adjudication governed by duly enacted laws though even this seems to have eluded Richard Nixon, who told David Frost, “If the President does it, that means it is not illegal.” The Nazis’ Nuremberg Laws and South Africa’s apartheid laws both passed the formal constitutionality test. So, you have to add, at least, two other elements.

One is a democratic mandate. Apartheid laws passed by a legislature from which all but whites were excluded, elected on a racially restricted franchise, failed this test dismally. But how about the Nazis, whose demagogy had secured them a parliamentary majority, albeit they promptly set about abusing it? The answer has to be a second element embedded in the rule of law: an irreducible minimum of effective protection of fundamental rights, including equality under laws administered by impartial and independent courts.

It is these elements, rather than the bare foundational principle of a government of laws and not of men, which are contentious, and it is with these that Bingham sets about grappling.

First, what gives a parliament its legitimacy? In most developed countries, Bingham points out, it is a written constitution, with the result that the courts of these countries can tell the legislature that it has acted beyond its powers. This may give law the upper hand, but there is nothing to guarantee that the constitution itself protects fundamental individual rights unless the courts are prepared to read them in, which is what the supreme courts of many such countries have done.

Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark

Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) will probably be the most important agent of change in the 21st century. It will transform our economy, our culture, our politics and even our own bodies and minds in ways most people can hardly imagine. If you hear a scenario about the world in 2050 and it sounds like science fiction, it is probably wrong; but if you hear a scenario about the world in 2050 and it does not sound like science fiction, it is certainly wrong.

Technology is never deterministic: it can be used to create very different kinds of society. In the 20th century, trains, electricity and radio were used to fashion Nazi and communist dictatorships, but also to foster liberal democracies and free markets. In the 21st century, AI will open up an even wider spectrum of possibilities. Deciding which of these to realise may well be the most important choice humankind will have to make in the coming decades.

This choice is not a matter of engineering or science. It is a matter of politics. Hence it is not something we can leave to Silicon Valley it should be among the most important items on our political agenda. Unfortunately, AI has so far hardly registered on our political radar. It has not been a major subject in any election campaign, and most parties, politicians and voters seem to have no opinion about it. This is largely because most people have only a very dim and limited understanding of machine learning, neural networks and artificial intelligence. (Most generally held ideas about AI come from Sci-Fi movies such as The Terminator and The Matrix.) Without a better understanding of the field, we cannot comprehend the dilemmas we are facing: when science becomes politics, scientific ignorance becomes a recipe for political disaster.

Max Tegmark’s Life 3.0 tries to rectify the situation. Written in an accessible and engaging style, and aimed at the general public, the book offers a political and philosophical map of the promises and perils of the AI revolution. Instead of pushing any one agenda or prediction, Tegmark seeks to cover as much ground as possible, reviewing a wide variety of scenarios concerning the impact of AI on the job market, warfare and political systems.

Life 3.0 does a good job of clarifying basic terms and key debates, and in dispelling common myths. While science fiction has caused many people to worry about evil robots, for instance, Tegmark rightly emphasises that the real problem is with the unforeseen consequences of developing highly competent AI. Artificial intelligence need not be evil and need not be encased in a robotic frame in order to wreak havoc. In Tegmark’s words, “the real risk with artificial general intelligence isn’t malice but competence. A superintelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren’t aligned with ours, we’re in trouble.”

The Almighty Dollar

Follow the Incredible Journey of a Single Dollar to See How the Global Economy Really Works

You don’t normally look to a Hollywood musical for lessons on the effect of money supply in the economy. Yet, in the 1969 film Hello, Dolly!, the eponymous matchmaker Dolly Levi, played by a peppy Barbra Streisand, channels her late husband Ephraim’s musings to offer an unlikely view on just such a monetary phenomenon.

“Money,” says Dolly, “should circulate like rainwater. It should flow down among the people, through little dressmakers and restaurants, setting up a business here, furnishing a good time there.”

It’s a foundational strand of Economics 101, and the drollery of the cinematic context does nothing to take away from the verity of that policy prescription.

In The Almighty Dollar, author and economist and broadcaster Dharshini David offers an equally entertaining account of much the same phenomenon, which is more formally known as the “circular flow of income”: the ‘tidal wave’ of dollar flows from the consumer spending of millions of Americans, to producers across the globe, and back to the US again after taking detours to, and making pit-stops in, many other economic capitals around the world.

Tracking the dollar

The literary device that David deploys to narrate this story is to hypothetically track the movement of a single dollar right from the time a Walmart shopper in Texas, looking for bargain-basement deals in that “temple of low prices and endless offers,” picks up a cheap radio set off the racks. Needless to say, the radio set was mass-manufactured in China, from where Walmart sources much of its low-cost merchandise that feeds on thrifty Americans’ consumerist addiction.

A journey across the world

In that sense, the dollar bill has gone from the shopper’s hands to the owner of a factory in southern China (via Walmart’s intermediation).

Introduction to International Political Economy

By David Balaam & Bradford Dillman In the book titled “Introduction to International Political Economy” (IPE), the authors – David Balaam and Bradford Dillman analyze a number of complex issues of international and global economies in a comprehensive way. The book is structured into five parts representing a completed entity both from the theoretical and practical viewpoints. In the first part of the book, titled Perspectives on International Political Economy (Chapters 1-5), the authors present the key conceptual elements of IPE. An emphasis is put on the theoretical concepts necessary for the analysis and understanding of the issues and problems within IPE, such as: mercantilism, liberalism and structuralism. These approaches have enabled the authors to discuss possible regularities of the formation and development of complex economic phenomena studied within IPE.

Various actors are in the focus (individuals, classes, states) and their relationship to the market, different economic activities and the alternative structures of society. Therefore, different values are emphasized, such as the power and wealth of nations, economic freedom, so as to be able to formulate a unique position on the possibilities of solving problems caused by socioeconomic and political crises. The subject matter of the study in the second part of the book, titled Structures of International Political Economy (Chapters 6- 10), are the treaties, institutions, agreements and other relations that connect people in different ways. It points out that international trade presents the central theme to be discussed in IPE. The growth of international trade is a reflection of the increasing globalization and liberalizing movement of goods, services, labour and capital. By linking countries with each other, trade affects the formation of significant economic, political and social interdependence. However, this process results in tensions and conflicts between and among countries.

For the majority of countries, trade represents the way of generating revenue, opening new jobs and increasing the appropriation of profits, until then for developing countries trade a critical component of their development plans, primarily because of low competitiveness. According to that, the states are forced, more than ever, to regulate trade, in order to limit and increase the benefits.

In the third part of the book, titled States and Markets in the Global Economy (Chapters 11-14), issues deemed to be relevant for developing countries are discussed. In this part, the fundamental problems existing between economy and politics, which appear in the integration process, are indicated. Based on the analysis of the key issues of the European Union, the authors point out that regionalism is one of the most important political and economic trends. There is a more powerful regional economic integration, which leads to the rise of regional trading blocs. It is indicative of the fact that economic integration is an assumption of a greater, efficient use of limited resources and the higher rates of economic growth.

The transformation of the political and economic systems was one of the biggest challenges for socialist countries. The transformation of the socialist system considered the construction of new political and

economic institutions, first of all, the change of the legal system, the privatization of the state-owned property and establishing a market where the prices of production factors, goods and services are freely formed. The success of the reform varied from country to country. The author indicates that it is difficult to establish a balance between economic and political changes, because changes in one area affect changes in another.

Pakistan; A Hard Country By: Anatol Lieven

In his highly informative book on Pakistan, Anatol Lieven takes the reader on a revealing journey through that troubled country. Departing from a title that is subtly misleading, as it seems to announce misfortunes befalling the country’s fragile state structure, the author, a professor of International Relations and Terrorism Studies at King’s College London and an expert on South Asia, decides instead to take a provocative detour by presenting Pakistan indeed as a weak state, but at the same time a strong society. Throughout the book the analysis keeps balancing on this tightrope of competing definitions, trying to build up a convincing case for the inner resilience of the country. At the end, however, the reader is left with a sensation that despite all the arguments and evidence that have been provided (or maybe because of them), the future of Pakistan remains still wrapped in unfathomable indeterminateness.

Weak state, strong societies

Anatol Lieven is doubtless well placed to draw a fine and comprehensive picture of Pakistan’s recent history of inner distresses. His work in the country and surrounding region spans more than two decades, as he started to report about the imminent end of the Soviet adventure in Afghanistan towards the end of the 1980s. That robust experience and the notes that he has carefully taken throughout the years appear to have led him to a conclusion that strongly collides with all the alarming warnings of impending state collapse that have characterised reporting about Pakistan in the international media.

But make no mistake: the author does not pretend to diminish the enormous challenges that have tested this country from its inception. Nonetheless, through a careful analysis of Pakistan’s historical evolution, combined with the identification of what he believes to be key structures of this evolution, he concludes that while state institutions are certainly fragile, nonetheless society in its various forms has shown remarkable resilience. Further, the interesting postil about this thesis is that both state weakness and society strength are actually two sides of the same coin and as such are deeply interconnected.

The power of kinship

State institutions, the book’s reasoning goes, have remained weak because the major actors in society have had no interest in a strong centralised state. Pakistan’s society still relies on deeply embedded traditional values that make no space for the formalisation of rules according to the normally accepted concept of a modern, democratic state. This is where the key concept of “kinship system” enters into Lieven’s analysis. Probably with the only exception of the army, which forms a kind of separate “caste”

within Pakistani society, the concept of kinship pervades almost all facets of Pakistanis’ daily lives. It is also the most powerful aggregation factor, over-riding all the other elements around which Pakistani individual identity is generally believed to be centred. Religious, ethnic and political affiliations remain undoubtedly powerful mobilising factors, but it is the kinship relationship of the individual that will eventually determine his/her most fundamental choices.

Issues in Pakistan’s Economy By: S. Akbar Zaidi

Pakistan’s economic development and social change over its first 66 years remained spectacular, yet commonplace, and in many ways tragic, observes the renowned political economist S. Akbar Zaidi in his book “Issues in Pakistan’s Economy”. In this book, Zaidi, who is well known as one of the most creative intellectuals and economists of Pakistan, has undertaken the task of not only describing Pakistan’s development efforts in its totality but also rationalising why our national policies failed to hold the country together. The third edition of the book deals with an extensive account of economic performance of the country, as well as the issues of state formation, class and society.

One can hardly disagree with Zaidi’s concluding remarks at the end of the first chapter entitled (“Understanding Pakistan’s Structural Transformation: 1947-2014”) of the book: Compared to what it was in 1947, the country seems like a modern, dynamic state unlike, say, Afghanistan but compared to other countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and South Korea, Pakistan’s achievements look minuscule. Zaidi’s analysis of past policies and his appraisal of sectoral and national policies, of the nature and quality of economic development is forthright and categorical. There is no attempt to soft-pedal opinions that are likely to be challenged. He criticises Ayub Khan’s functional inequality in terms of the Marxian criticism of the capitalist system. He is also sharply critical of the structural adjustment programme of the IMF. His explanation of Bhutto’s economic difficulties as ‘bad luck’ and sympathetic treatment of his policies may not be acceptable to many people.

The book, which was first published in 1999, is full of information nuggets, well-researched data and statistics gleaned from authentic sources. It would surely serve as a reliable reference document for scholars of Pakistan’s economic history and the country’s development as well as for those who seek to understand how social and economic processes have an impact on numerous outcomes and forms of structural transformation, and how state and society evolve in a political economy perspective.

Since the state and the nation would be discussing the state of the economy and

Since the state and the nation would be discussing the state of the economy and debating income and expenditure proposals for the incoming financial year over the next four weeks or so, one thought it only appropriate to alert the official economic managers about the exhaustive work done by Zaidi on the very issues that they would be confronted with during what is considered to be budget season of the year. The book, as its back cover says, is about understanding Pakistan’s structural transformation over six decades in a political economy framework. The author examines how and where such transformations have taken place in the economy, society, in class and gender relations, in the manifestation of consumerism and culture, and other ways. The book has 27 chapters and all of them are highly instructive. A special feature of this book is the author’s mobilisation of statistical evidence in the form of maps, figures and tables, as well as strong arguments to support his conclusions. In addition, he has used box items to define and explain a number of concepts that other authors did not deem necessary. This reader-friendly approach is invaluable for the non-economists and students who should now understand such concepts as feudalism, tax elasticity and buoyancy, fiscal and budget deficits etc., more clearly. A number of controversial subjects have been dealt with in a way as to present arguments on both the sides.


Those seriously interested in Pakistan’s foreign policy should keenly study Abdul Sattar’s book, especially because he has tried to narrate, what he calls “plain history” of Pakistan’s foreign policy since independence. The book assumes more importance because there is a serious dearth of literature on Pakistan’s foreign policy. S.M. Burke’s Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: An Historical Analysis is the first comprehensive book in this domain. Burke’s superiority lies in his great ability to record history of Pakistan’s foreign policy by presenting documents, which could only be obtained through sheer hard work and dedication to a higher cause. Second is Shahid M. Amin’s Pakistan’s Foreign Policy which is based more on analysis than on documentation of a gigantic nature. In addition, Sajjad Haider’s Reflections of An Ambassador deals brilliantly and critically with the years of Soviet intervention of Afghanistan. Agha Shahi’s Pakistan’s Foreign and Security Policy is once again a critical and analytical account of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

Abdul Sattar, the author of the book under review, belongs to the rare breed of Pakistani bureaucrats- turned-scholars who are eminently qualified to enlighten readers on the genesis and development of

Pakistan’s foreign policy since its emergence as an independent state. He served the country as a professional diplomat for nearly 40 years. And in 1999, the military dictator General Pervez Musharraf, obviously impressed with his credentials, chose him as his foreign minister.

with his credentials, chose him as his foreign minister. Sattar’s book Pakistan’s Foreign Policy 1947 -

Sattar’s book Pakistan’s Foreign Policy 1947-2005 is the story of Pakistan’s engagement in the international arena. It provides a recapitulation of the important milestones, the rationale behind fateful decisions and the constraints and considerations that propelled Pakistan to move in certain directions.

The purpose of this book is two-fold: to provide objective, factual and detailed account of history of Pakistan’s foreign policy between 1947 and 2005; and to give a historical framework in order to inspire policymakers to develop deeper and richer understanding of the political and strategic milieu in the making of Pakistan’s security and foreign policy.

in the making of Pakistan’s security and foreign policy. The book has 23 chapter s, which

The book has 23 chapters, which cover almost all the important areas of concern in Pakistan’s foreign affairs. Among others, the chapters include Foreign Policy: Beginnings; The Kashmir Question, 1947-57; Search for Security; Alliances: Costs and Benefits; Relations with China; Policy Ups and Downs: 1965-71; Simla Agreement; The Nuclear Programme and Relations with the USA; The Afghanistan Crisis; Pakistan- India Disputes and Crises; Nuclear Tests; Increasing Isolation, 1990-2001; Post-9/11 Policy; Terrorism; Pakistan-India Relations, 2001-05; and Policy in a Changing World.

Isolation, 1990-2001; Post-9/11 Policy; Terrorism; Pakistan-India Relations, 2001-05; and Policy in a Changing World. In


Chapter 2 ‘Foreign Policy—Beginnings’ the author has explained the genesis of Pakistan’s foreign policy. He asserts, “The foreign policy of Pakistan was to be moulded in the crucible of interaction with its neighbour India, but it was imbued from the start with the idealistic vision of the state’s founding father. Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the first head of the new state, was a man of ideals and integrity, committed to the principles of peace with faith and confidence in human capacity to resolve differences through the application of logic and law.”

differences through the application of logic and law.” He quotes Quaid-i- Azam: “Our foreign policy is

He quotes Quaid-i-Azam: “Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world. We do not cherish aggressive designs against any country or nation. We believe in the principle of honesty and fair play in national and international dealings and are prepared to make the utmost contribution to the promotion of peace and prosperity among the nations of the world. Pakistan will never be found lacking in extending its material and moral support to the oppressed and suppressed people of the world and in upholding the principles of the United Nations Charter.” The foreign policy of a state, according to the author, is a means to an end and it must adapt itself to safeguard its independence, sovereignty, security and integrity. Moreover, it should promote the legitimate aspirations of its people towards economic and social progress and attain dignity and honour in the comity of nations. In the opinion of the author, since the beginning of its foreign affairs, Pakistan had to face two major dilemmas. One, there was the search for remedy against wide disparity in power in the region, and second, to explore new resources for development. There was realisation to have a “mast” to sail smoothly in foreign affairs. Thus, the contours of foreign policy of Pakistan, were shaped by quest for security and economic development.

were shaped by quest for security and economic development. The chapter on Simla Agreement and its

The chapter on Simla Agreement and its implications has been written in a very coherent manner, yet it carries certain technical flaws. For instance, basic thrust of the chapter on Simla Agreement was that it was an “imposed” treaty. While the experts on international law and treaties, give different viewpoints and say that according to article 52 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, “a treaty is void if its conclusion has been procured by the threat or use of force.” This means that treaty is binding on the states even if it is concluded under “duress”. And, Pakistan

has never challenged the validity of the treaty. Instead, it has always owned it, which can be judged from the prevailing fact that it wants solution of the Kashmir conflict under the Simla Agreement and UN resolutions.

conflict under the Simla Agreement and UN resolutions. In the chapter on historical events after 9/11,

In the chapter on historical events after 9/11, the author contends that the decision to join the US war against global terrorism was taken before the US had asked, or, in the words of writer, before a “request” was made. This is, however, not supported by facts that appeared in later accounts and writings. It can be judged from this that Pakistan had decided to take a “U-turn” in foreign policy by abandoning the Taliban regime in Afghanistan under US pressure. In Musharraf’s autobiography, “In the Line of Fire,” it is mentioned that former Secretary of State, Colin Powell’s telephonic call “ordered” Pakistan to join the US-led coalition forces in war against Afghanistan. Also, Richard Armitage threatened to “bomb Pakistan back to the stone age,” which does not support author’s argument. In fact, Bob Woodward in his book ‘Bush at War?’, also described the fact of US diplomatic pressure on Pakistan for making a turnaround in its policy. The author has also been unable to explain the resurgence of Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s efforts to curb its subsequent spill-over.

Pakistan ’s efforts to curb its subsequent spill-over. Overall, the book, its shortcomings notwithstanding, is very

Overall, the book, its shortcomings notwithstanding, is very informative and provides enough food for thought for policymakers, researchers and general readers. Moreover, it is a valuable addition to the existing literature on foreign policy of Pakistan by an experienced diplomat, who has been an eyewitness to significant developments over the years. Readers should take a serious look at Abdul Sattar’s narration of Pakistan’s foreign policy and draw independent conclusions on its role in the promotion of the country’s overall interests.

The Future of Pakistan by Stephen P. Cohen

Stephen P. Cohen is an established expert on politics of Pakistan. Presently, he is rendering his services as a senior fellow in Foreign Policy Program at Brookings Institution, Washington DC. He is currently a member of the National Academy of Science’s Committee on International Security and Arms Control. In his long career as an academician, Stephen P. Cohen has also taught at universities in India, Japan and Singapore.

Dr Cohen has more than eleven books to his credit as author, co-author and editor. Major emphasis of his scholarly work is South Asian Security & Strategic Studies.

Dr Cohen’s ecent book ‘The Future of Pakistan’ is preceded by another exclusive work on Pakistan i.e. Idea of Pakistan. Cohen has got a rare intellectual skill to break down complex political phenomena of Pakistani political culture into comprehendible analysis; to which the present book is not an exception. The book has already earned applause from the scholars of politics of Pakistan, both at home and abroad. This is a read on the future of a state that has, since last decade and a half, become an ever-more significant player in international politics.

Dr Cohen and his colleagues have addressed most significant responsibility of the scholars of international politics i.e. logical prediction of future scenario considering present, emerging situation. The authors of the book have presented and evaluated multiple scenarios of how and why Pakistan’s future may/will develop during 2012-2017. Their views are sweepingly tilted towards pessimism about the future of the most dynamic nation of the world.

This book is a captivating read because it not only has coherent and lucid style of writing but also discusses the probable geopolitical implications of each future scenario. The specific factors such as impact of foreign and domestic Islamist and other radical groups on internal and international security; influence of the Pakistani Armed Forces, civil government, and key regions; nuclear weapons; and relationships with India, China, and the US have also been examined. The book carries eighteen essays inclusive of afterword, and is the result of a workshop at the Rockefeller Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy, held in May 2010. This book takes its uniqueness from three factors:

1) its authors come from America, Europe, India and Pakistan itself, giving it an international and comparative perspective, 2) the comprehensive comparative analysis is based on consideration of all internal and external factors related to the future of Pakistan, 3) the argument of the book is in logical sequence though this is contributed by seventeen people from three continents. The authors were asked to briefly set forth important variables or factors that might shape Pakistan’s future and to speculate on the likely outcomes. Every author was given same pattern i.e. a brief summary of recent developments, examination of a number of involved factors, analysis of a number of alternative futures, exploration of the methodological problems inherent in this exercise and discussion of policy options especially for the United States, Atlantic Countries, China, Japan, and India.

The book begins with Cohen’s overview of Pakistan that gives vent to all concerns about Pakistan’s future, ranging from female literacy to international politics, placing it within the context of current-day geopolitics and international economics. Cohen’s essay is followed by a number of more focused essays addressing more specific issues of Pakistan. They address critical factors such as ‘Radicalization, Political Violence, and Militancy’, ‘The China Factor’, ‘Security’, ‘Soldiers and the State’, ‘Regime and System Change’, ‘Population Growth’, ‘Urbanization’, ‘Female Literacy’, and ‘Youth and the Future’. The book also breaks down relations with other international powers such as China and the United States. The all-important military and internal security apparatus come under scrutiny, as do rapidly morphing social and gender issues. Political and party developments are examined along with the often amorphous division of power between Islamabad and the nation’s regions and local powers. The book emphasizes that uncertainty about Pakistan’s trajectory exists.

The futuristic picture drawn is not exactly perilous but re-establishes concerns about the fate of this habitat of more than 180 million people. The Future of Pakistan facilitates understanding of not only the current circumstances, the relevant actors and their motivation, the critical issues at hand, but also the different outcomes they might produce, and, above all, what this all means for Pakistanis, Arabs, Indians, Americans, Europeans, Chinese, Russians and the entire world. This book has successfully established a thought that future of this region lies where future of Pakistan does.


Pakistan was originally intended to transform the lives of British Indian Muslims by providing them a homeland sheltered from Hindu oppression. It did so for some, although this only amounted to less than half of the Asian subcontinent’s total number of Muslims, and ironically the north Indian Muslim middle class that spearheaded the Pakistan movement found itself united with many Muslims who had been less than enthusiastic about forming a new state.

In fact, the 1990s are often referred to as the “lost decade” in terms of economic growth and witnessed a high rise in urban and rural poverty levels. Growth rate in the 1980s averaged 6.5 percent but in the 1990s, real GDP growth declined to 4.6 percent.

Musharraf turned to the technocrats for guidance, transforming the system of local government, selling off many state assets (thus improving the balance of payments problem, always severe for a country with little foreign investment and hardly any manufacturing capabilities).

Zardari lacks his wife’s brilliance and charisma. His reputation for corruption was one of her greatest political liabilities. … Zardari’s defense to visitors is that he has never been convicted of any crime, but of course that is true of most Pakistani politicians whose reputation for corruption equals or surpasses his.

Pakistan is one of the countries undergoing a population boom. It will soon have one of the world’s youngest populations. In some countries, mainly in Africa, the Middle East, and a few in Latin America and South Asia, birth rates remain much higher than mortality rates so that growth rates are over 2.0 percent a year.

The messy, brilliant life of Pablo Neruda (Book Review)

Few poets offer their biographers as rich a vein of material as the Chilean Nobel Prize-winner Pablo Neruda . Born in Parral, Chile, in 1904, Neruda transcended his modest origins and provincial upbringing to achieve success and significance far beyond the dreams of most writers . Books like “Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair,” “Residence on Earth ” and “Elemental Odes” have sold tens of millions of copies . Nearly 45 years after his death, Neruda continues to be regarded as one of the most significant poets of the 20 th century. In his home country, he remains a beloved and potent national symbol.

Mark Eisner’s new biography, “Neruda: The Poet’s Calling,” explores the complex confluence of factors that accounts for Neruda’s extraordinary fame and success. Far more than most modern poetry, Neruda’s body of work is quite accessible a fact that reflects not only his personal preferences but also his political views. Moved at an early age by the exploitation of the disadvantaged, he viewed poetry as existing for the benefit of the common people. “Poetry is like bread,” he famously wrote. “It should be shared by all, by scholars and by peasants, by all our vast, incredible, extraordinary family of humanity.” When it was not overtly political, his poetry tended to concern itself with matters of quotidian existence, finding love and beauty in the commonplace, ordinary objects of daily human life.

Politics was never far from Neruda’s mind, and the story of his life is largely concomitant with the political history of the 20th century. The Chilean capital of Santiago, when he arrived there in 1921, was the center of an active student movement that hungered for progressive poetry. In the 1930s, he watched Spain fall into civil war from his post as a diplomat in Barcelona. Neruda already leaned toward socialism as a result of his Chilean experiences; now, watching as the Soviet Union stepped in to support the Spanish Republicans against Franco’s fascists while the rest of the world remained largely indifferent, he became a loyal communist and supporter of Stalin.

The origins of Neruda’s esteem for Stalin, then, are largely understandable. But his loyalty would persist for decades, long after reports of the brutal reality of Stalin’s dictatorial regime began to emerge, and though he did eventually repudiate that loyalty, it is not entirely clear why it took him so long. (Of course, Neruda was far from the only leftist intellectual of whom this could be said.)

Closer to home, his political activities were easier to admire. In Chile, he always managed to be on the side that opposed the dictators. When, in the late 1940s, the country’s Communist Party was outlawed and protests by coal miners were brutally suppressed, Neruda criticized the government in the international

press and on the floor of the Chilean Senate. When the government tried to arrest him, he made a dramatic escape on horseback across the border into Argentina. He returned to Chile in the mid-1950s and would spend most of the rest of his life there. His death from cancer , on Sept. 23, 1973 , occurred a mere 12 days after the U.S.-backed coup in which Augusto Pinochet ’s forces seized control from the democratically elected president Salvador Allende. Neruda’s funeral be came a spontaneous public demonstration of defiance against the new regime. While soldiers looked on, armed with machine guns but holding their fire, the crowd chanted, “He isn’t dead, he isn’t dead! He has only fallen asleep!”

The messiness of Neruda’s personal life, which was as eventful as his public one and which serves as evidence of his passionate, somewhat impulsive nature, does not always display him in a wholly admirable light. He neglected and then abandoned his first wife, barely acknowledging the existence of their daughter, who was born severely disabled. He seemed very much in love with his second wife; still, while they were together, he began an affair with the woman who would become his third. Toward the end of his life, he would cheat on her as well, with her niece.

It is, undeniably, a great story. But it is a story that has been told before most satisfyingly, perhaps, in Adam Feinstein’s 2004 biography, “Pablo Neruda: A Passion for Life.” The need for a new biography is not entirely obvious; and unfortunately, the man who lies at the heart of all these turbulent personal and political maelstroms remains oddly and frustratingly distant in Eisner’s telling. Despite his ongoing work on a documentary about Neruda and his work as a translator of “The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems” (2004), in this biography, Eisner tends to keep his subject at arm’s length. Outside of the excerpts from Neruda’s own poetry, one gets little sense of the man’s inner life.

Eisner’s prose, moreover, is on the whole, fairly pedestrian, except for a few unfortunate occasions when it strives, unwisely, for a kind of Nerudaesque poeticism. Describing his first sexual experience, for instance, Eisner writes Neruda “attempted to plow through her and reach the depths of the earth.” And his criticisms of Neruda tend to be articulated using what are by now rote, clichéd terms that make them feel like empty, obligatory gestures. Thus, Neruda is labeled as an “aggressor — even predator” in his sexual relations; an apparent sexual assault is identified as an “exercise of power and privilege”; and his general sexual behavior is at one point characterized as “imperialism perpetrated on a human scale.”

Ultimately, “Neruda: The Poet’s Calling” is not as satisfying as one might have hoped. Still, Neruda’s life remains a source of fascination, and his work remains vital. Any book that is likely to help bring new generations of readers to it is to be valued for that reason alone


PAKISTAN, By S. Sartaj Hussain Shah.

If one tries to trace the history of creation of Pakistan, one will have to retread one’s steps till the eventful year of 1906 when All India Muslim League was founded. After many ups and downs, a new chapter opened on 23rd March 1940 with the passage of the Lahore Resolution. The results of 1946 elections were almost a guarantee that Pakistan will now come into being and on 14 August 1947 this great country came emerged on the world map as a sovereign state.

After the untimely death of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a huge leadership void was created. And the people of Pakistan were waiting for a messiah that could mitigate their sufferings and make Pakistan what the founding fathers had dreamed it to be. Since nature has its own ways and the country continued to vacillate between military and somewhat civilian rules. But, during this hour of need, the nature was nurturing Bhutto to take the reins of Pakistan. After the sad demise of Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto’s elder son, Sikander Ali Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the only surviving son of Sir Shahnawaz became an apple of everyone’s eyes. But, who would know that this beloved of one family will become the most loved leader of millions across Pakistan.

Although a plethora of literature have been written on this great, visionary, leader of Pakistan as well as the Islamic world, the book “Bhutto-Zardari democracy and Pakistan” has a special place in this lot. The author of this book, S. Sartaj Hussain Shah, is a jiyala of Bhutto since the early day of Z.A. Bhutto in politics. He saw the founding as well as the uncontrollable rise of Pakistan Peoples Party. In this simple yet impressive book, he has presented a deep insightful study of the political struggle of Bhuttos and Zardaris. Besides providing a brief background of these families, he has thrown light on their political career, he has provided brief profiles of noted PPP leaders and the development projects carried out during PPP governments. The book is adorned with beautiful pictures as well. In fine, it is a brief yet comprehensive overview of the Bhutto’s place and their role in Pakistan.

In short, besides general readers and Bhutto-lovers, this book is a treasure trove for the students of politics and those interested in country’s history. The writer covers all the key events that exerted a deep impact on the European continent from the eighteenth century until the twentieth century.

Gathering Storm: A History of the Complicated U.S.-China Relationship Since 1776

THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY AND THE MIDDLE KINGDOM America and China, 1776 to the Present Donald Trump (or his next secretary of state) would be well advised to read this timely and comprehensively informative book, since no foreign topic will engage the 45th president more acutely than the currently fast- fraying relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. The coming trouble —

if trouble it is to be will be confusing, alarming, protracted and full of subtleties. This weighty history by a former foreign correspondent for The Washington Post, while not offering itself as a vade mecum for dealing with the slow-gathering storm, provides an exhaustive collection of names, dates and historical markers to show just how we reached this place, the jumping-off point for the coming decades of what men of menace like to term “interesting times.” The underlying thesis of Pomfret’s account is quite simple: that the United States and China are locked “in an entangling embrace that neither can quit” and that this mutual dependence is “vital to the fate of the world.” The embrace’s entanglement is demonstrated by way of all too many examples — from the mid- 19th-century American envoy Anson Burlingame to World War II’s Gen. Joseph Stilwell, from Pearl Buck to Henry Luce, Henry Kissinger to the American table tennis team, Richard Nixon to the accused spy Wen Ho Lee. It is shown to be an acquaintanceship of bewildering complexity and capriciousness, with periods of adoration interrupted by decades of suspicion, loathing and fear.

What only Chinese writers seem properly to comprehend and which goes largely unmentioned here is the inherent imbalance of the relationship: that while America has been intimately involved with China for the entirety of this country’s independent existence, China’s roughly 250-year awareness of America amounts (once you recall that a sovereign Chinese state has been around for thousands of years) to a paltry few percent of China’s own time on the planet. Simple arithmetic alone, then, gives China ample reason to feel a sense of haughty condescension toward the new-made state on the far side of the Pacific. Time and again, through periods both good and bad, a patronizing tone reveals itself: America is a barbarian nation, crude in its ways and shortsighted in its thinking, unable by its own immaturity to deal properly and fully with the wisest, most ancient nation ever known.

Whenever a volume like Pomfret’s thuds onto my study table, I flip to the bibliography to look for a citation of one Western book that I have long thought properly explores this deeply contextual aspect of Chinese thinking: Alain Peyrefitte’s “The Immobile Empire,” first published in Paris in 1989. That it does not appear on Pomfret’s reading list is, I think, instructive, since Peyrefitte offers a perspective on China that might have made Pomfret’s very good and important book even more valuable.

Peyrefitte, a writer who was then researching much the same East-West relationship as Pomfret (though focused on the end of the 18th century and in connection with Britain alone), was granted unprecedented access to the imperial archives in Beijing. There he found a trove of private papers from the Emperor Qianlong, and within these files discovered notations in vermilion ink that had been written by no less than the Son of Heaven himself.

With remarkable candor, the emperor showed just what he thought of the noblemen George III had sent out to China in hopes of spawning a friendship between what were then, at least in Britain’s eyes, the

world’s two greatest nations. And it is clear the emperor thought precious little of them. His notes displayed

a brutal condescension toward the visitors and an absolute, unwavering certainty of the superiority of

Chinese civilization. What policy makers in America now need to grasp — and what isn’t fully illustrated in this new book is that little has changed today. There remains a deep-seated disdain among all too many Chinese toward upstart Westerners who crave the approval and affection of today’s rulers of the People’s


Full acceptance that the relationship between China and America is now “vital to the fate of the world” has come rather late to Washington. Only during Barack Obama’s presidency has it seemed necessary to begin

to tilt, or to pivot, or to rebalance, toward the Pacific (the semantic uncertainty mirroring the hesitancy of the

policy). And yet even now the policy still hasn’t properly taken root: The distractions posed by the imbroglio

in the Middle East have directed all too much muscle, money and mind away from what, in global terms,

truly matters. Which is why it is so important for the next administration to become fully aware of what

Washington faces from Beijing, since time is now running rather short.

That’s because the two and a half centuries of entanglement between America and China are about to reach their denouement. By 2049, a crucially symbolic date on the Chinese calendar that marks the centenary of the founding of the People’s Republic, Beijing intends two things: to have recovered in full all the territory it lost during the long centuries of what it considers insulting foreign interference and to assert itself in and across the Pacific Ocean to the precise degree its duty and destiny now demand.

Both aims are well on their way to realization. Almost all territory once held by foreigners is now back in the fold: after Ports Arthur and Edward, after Manchuria, after Shandong and Hainan, after Hong Kong and Macau, all that remains outside is the great island of Taiwan. And so far as the Pacific more generally is concerned, the South China Sea is now close to being under Chinese control. The three so-called “island chains” that serve to protect China’s eastern shores, which extend, in some interpretations, as far out as Hawaii, will soon be dominated by an ever-enlarging Chinese Navy, shortly to be bigger and more powerful than anything the United States may be able to muster or afford.

Beijing’s intentions are certain to collide with what Washington has regarded as its own regional obligations. To avoid conflict, the diplomatic demands on both countries will be prodigious so any knowledge gained during the past two and a half centuries by both sides, by the “beautiful country” and the Middle Kingdom, will be key factors in securing and maintaining an equitable peace.

Pomfret has more than adequately told the story of the last quarter-millennium’s acquaintanceship from America’s standpoint. What we need now is to know just how the “entangling embrace” is regarded by China — whether the high panjandrums of today’s China still echo old Qianlong’s vermilion-brushed distemper and scorn. I rather suspect they do, but until we know for sure, we will have to be content with a history that tells us only half the story. And all the while the clock is ticking down to 2049.

How Nations Survive and Thrive in a World in Decline By Jonathan Tapperman

Practical Solutions to Inequality and Corruption

The timing of this book could not be better. Big Think has run into a ditch. No one appears to agree on fundamental ideas about governing anymore, and we’re not even sure what we’re arguing about. The grand ideological debates of the 20th and early 21st centuries capitalism versus socialism, democracy versus authoritarianism today seem too broad, tired and pointless, and little has come along to replace them. Globalization, the economic paradigm of our era, has become an epithet in the mouths of insurgent politicians exploiting middle-class discontent on both right and left (that would be you, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders). The people in power on both sides of the aisle and the Atlantic, the so-called establishment, still seem surprised by the magnitude of the backlash by Trump, by Sanders, by Brexit, by the deepening anger and confused about how to respond. And with no one pointing a way through the paralysis, either in Washington or Western capitals like Brussels, democracy itself has seemed to curdle, especially with the Arab Spring degenerating into something close to civilizational collapse.

We are in other words utterly adrift, ideologically speaking. It’s hardly a surprise the vacuum of ideas is being filled, in the political arena, by atavistic impulses like nationalism, racism and xenophobia. Jonathan Tepperman’s smart and agile answer to this “gathering darkness,” as he calls it, is to take a giant step back from the larger, paralyzed debate. In “The Fix: How Nations Survive and Thrive in a World in Decline,” Tepperman sets aside Big Think to serve up a smorgasbord of small think: practical, microcosmic solutions to big problems in sometimes surprising places from Brazil to Botswana to New York City. Tepperman, the managing editor of Foreign Affairs, offers what he calls “a data-driven case for optimism” at a time when “most of us have glumly concluded that our governments are broken and our domestic and international problems are insurmountable.” He divides his “good news book” into chapters on what he describes as “the Terrible Ten” problems: inequality, immigration, Islamic extremism, civil war, corruption, the “resource curse,” energy, the “middle-income trap” (the difficulty countries have in making the leap from developmental success to wealthy-nation status) and two kinds of political gridlock: what’s not working worldwide, and American-style. Then he travels to 10 places around the world to highlight successful local



Continue reading the main story Almost to a tale, they are stories of gutsy political pragmatism in the midst of crisis, often involving battlefield conversions by unusually adaptable and able leaders unfettered by “ideological handcuffs.” In Brazil, the business community and economists were initially horrified when Lula da Silva, a rough-hewn labor leader who had experienced extreme poverty as a child, was elected president. But the “rabble-rouser metamorphosed into the Great Conciliator,” Tepperman writes, and to address Brazil’s terrible income inequality Lula launched Bolsa Família, an innovative and relatively inexpensive cash-transfer program that





didn’t just give people handouts but required “counterpart responsibilities,” including government demands to use some of the money to send one’s kids to school and ensure they are immunized and get regular checkups (along with their mothers). Lula ended up winning over even conservatives in his country and dramatically reducing poverty, leading the former World Bank expert Nancy Birdsall to conclude that Bolsa Família is “as close as you can come to a magic bullet in development.” More than 60 countries sent experts to Brazil to study the program, and then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg based his Opportunity NYC program on Lula’s idea.

Tepperman devotes a separate chapter to Bloomberg’s own innovative approach to breaking through Washington gridlock to secure his prime-target city in the face of terrorist threats. Elected two months after 9/11, Bloomberg had cause to despair over Washington’s ineptitude in counterterrorism. His response was to “work around the federal government and do something no modern American city had ever attempted:

try to defend itself, by itself,” Tepperman writes. Bloomberg reappointed a no-nonsense career N.Y.P.D. officer, Ray Kelly, as police commissioner, and Kelly rose to the challenge, becoming the city’s “secretary of defense, head of the C.I.A. and . . . chief architect all rolled into one,” in the words of the New York University urban studies professor Mitchell Moss. Kelly in turn hired David Cohen, a C.I.A. veteran who created a raft of new response teams and used his knowledge of Washington’s byzantine ways to force the feds into sharing intelligence. Ignoring the Justice Department’s qualms, Kelly sent officers to 11 foreign cities to foster cop-to-cop cooperation, and deployed 100 more to “muscle their way” onto the federal Joint Terrorism Task Force to demand full access to F.B.I. files.

Under Bloomberg’s brash leadership, this all happened with admirable swiftness and efficiency: By 2002 the Police Department had 60 fluent Arabic speakers on staff, almost double the number the F.B.I. could claim three years later, Tepperman writes. And by the time Bloomberg left office in 2013, the F.B.I., C.I.A., Secret Service and Defense Intelligence Agency had all asked New York for advice.

Tepperman finds successful leadership stories in some unlikely places. Among them is Mexico, which despite its reputation north of the border (especially this election season) for runaway corruption and drug violence has begun to recover under President Enrique Peña Nieto, who impressively exploited the despair of Mexico’s political elites to forge unprecedented cooperation. In just the first 18 months after his July 2012 election, Peña Nieto “managed to bust open Mexico’s smothering monopolies and antiquated energy sector, restructure the country’s education system and modernize its tax and banking laws,” Tepperman writes (though he may have lost some of that political capital after his widely criticized August meeting with Donald Trump). Across the world in Botswana, the “cleaner than a hound’s tooth” Seretse Khama lifted his country beyond its dependence on the “resource curse” of diamonds, building what was considered, for a time, one of the best-governed countries in the developing world a system so structured against corruption that it is, for now, resisting the alleged abuses of his far less capable son, Ian Khama.

Though the book is not long, Tepperman goes into impressive detail in each case study and delivers his assessments in clear, pared-down prose, careful to describe most of his success stories as experiments that could still fail. “The Fix” is no clip job either: Tepperman spent considerable time flying around the globe for his own research, including interviews with Lula, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Indonesia’s Joko Widodo and other leaders.

Perhaps the biggest question about Tepperman’s thesis is one he addresses but doesn’t fully answer:

whether many of these programs are readily transferable to other places, or are unique to the political culture whence they sprang. In the end, for example, Bloomberg’s version of Bolsa Família failed to gain traction in New York, and there are indications it may work better in rural than in urban areas. And it’s somewhat easier to embrace large-scale immigration if you’re Canada (another case study Tepperman looks at), and you enjoy the world’s second-largest state by landmass (after Russia) with something like one-tenth the population of the United States. Perhaps what scholars call the “Canadian exception” — its avoidance of anti-immigrant backlashes has as much to do with these peculiar conditions as anything its leaders have done. Tepperman’s answer to the energy/climate problem is also not terribly persuasive:

He cites the shale revolution as a rare American success story (these days anyway), but that seems more an example of geological luck and greed than inspired leadership. Tepperman may also be too sanguine about some of his political heroes: Brazil’s Lula is under investigation for graft, and his handpicked successor has just been impeached.

But to answer these larger questions adequately, perhaps what we need most is a renewal of Big Think a deeper reconsideration of the outdated ideologies of our day. In the meantime, Tepperman has produced an indispensable handbook on ways to work around the problem.

Michael Hirsh is the national editor of Politico Magazine and the author of “Capital Offense: How Washington’s Wise Men Turned America’s Future Over to Wall Street.”

World Order by Henry Kissinger.

The author’s own orchestration of the opening of relations with China gives an extra piquancy to his views on Iran: if the US can engage with one isolated regional superpower, why not another?

No clash of civilisations or end of history – this argument for a balance of power is the summation of Kissinger’s thinking

Western politicians who last year advocated bombing Syria now ask whether Damascus should be treated as a tacit ally against Islamic State. John Kerry talks of Iran as a possible partner in that war, while David Cameron meets the country’s president in New York. The quote of the summer from the president of the United States was that “we don’t have a strategy― on how to prevent a

conflagration in the Middle East. Yet as old enmities and alliances dissolve and re form at high speed, we are having to develop one, and fast.

One person who has never lacked a strategy is the former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, now 91. However, his thoughtful new book aims not so much to advocate specific policies as to portray the shape of the world over the past 2000 years or so, with reflections on where it will go in the next 50.

The book circles much of the globe, covering India, Europe, China and the Middle East. Four specific conceptions of “order― attract most of his attention: the European system, specifically its Westphalian model of sovereign states with equal status within the system; an Islamic system based on a wider idea of an ummah, or community; a Chinese system based on traditional ideas of the Middle Kingdom as a great regional power; and the American order, finding a new purpose a century ago under Woodrow Wilson, eventually dominant across the globe, and now under unprecedented pressure. This may sound like Samuel Huntington’s idea of the “Clash of Civilizations,― but actually it is more like a bracing mixture of Metternichian pragmatism and – more unexpectedly – Edward Said’s critique of “Orientalism―. Kissinger notes that when he told Chinese premier Zhou Enlai that China seemed mysterious, Zhou pointed out that China was not at all mysterious to 900 million of his compatriots. “In our time the quest for world order will require relating the perceptions of societies whose realities have largely been self-contained,― Kissinger argues. In other words, cultural (a preferable term to civilisational) aspects shape societies’ worldviews, but culture is not an impermeable barrier to a wider model of order that can bring different regimes together. In that sense, this is a distinctly anti- Huntingtonian book in that it recognises the need to engage with civilisations rather than asserting the inevitability of their clashing; it also diverges from Francis Fukuyama’s famous thesis about the “end of history” by arguing strongly that history and identity are central to societies’ perceptions of themselves today. Kissinger also takes on critics who accuse him of stressing realism above all other considerations, a characterisation he regards as simplistic: “idealists do not have a monopoly on moral values; realists must recognise that ideals are also part of reality.â€

The book draws on a wide range of historical examples to make points about present-day issues. Unsurprisingly, Kissinger spends considerable time on the position of China in the international order, noting its central place in Asia for all but the past century or two. He characterises China’s historical role in East Asia as “conceptual,― whereas that of the US is “pragmatic,― the former shaped by a long history of external attacks on its borders. Certainly the historical basis to Chinese behaviour has emerged ever more clearly in the past few years, as leaders in Beijing have expressed a desire for a prominent global influence based on longstanding ideas of China as a great power. However, there is plenty of pragmatism in Chinese behaviour, too. Today, Beijing feels that Washington is weak and that its commitment to the region is hedged; as a result, China and Japan’s leaders each now claim that the other’s military ambitions in the region are a reason to stockpile arms.

Kissinger uses his “adaptive cultural― thesis to criticise the nation-building project of George W. Bush in Iraq. He notes that he was supportive of the original invasion of Iraq in 2003, but expresses scepticism about the value of Bush’s vision, which “proved beyond what the American public would support and what Iraqi society would accommodate―. In the end, withdrawal from Iraq resembled “Vietnamisation― in 1973-5, with equally dispiriting results. Since the book went to press, the collapse of the al-Maliki government has left Iraq on the brink of dissolution and the new government under Haider al-Abadi is dependent on the success of western air strikes to consolidate power.

The author’s own orchestration of the opening of relations with China gives an extra piquancy to his views on Iran: if the US can engage with one isolated regional superpower, why not another? Yet although he gives a detailed and nuanced account of Iran’s sense of its own imperial heritage over the centuries, he argues unequivocally that Tehran today is not Beijing in 1972.

The book also enables us to assess Kissinger’s own era in government in historical perspective. Few would now dispute the wisdom of ending China’s isolation from the “family of nations―. He reminds us of the importance of 1972-73, Nixon’s high point in foreign policy (Kissinger was national security adviser, before becoming secretary of state): as well as the opening to China, this year saw the end of the American troop presence in Vietnam, détente in eastern Europe, and peace agreements in the Middle East (after an Arab-Israeli war that could have led to major conflagration). There were of course darker aspects of that era, including the bombing of North Vietnamese strongholds in Cambodia that worsened a domestic crisis and allowed the murderous Khmer Rouge to come to power, and the overthrow of the Allende government in Chile. Yet when we look back at the 1970s as an era of crisis both domestic and international, it is remarkable how much of the international politics of that decade has come out on the positive side of the ledger and how a wider crisis was averted. Kissinger notes that “nuclear weapons must not be permitted to turn into conventional arms―.

Kissinger was a key shaper of a world order that remained stable for a quarter century or more until our own post-cold war era. This urgently written book is a fine account of world order in the longue duree, and also a memorandum to future generations of policymakers that the next half-century will be no easier to manage than the most recent one.

Mr Shamshad suggests that “if our civilian rulers had been steadfast in their own commitment to constitutional supremacy, rule of law, independence of judiciary, separation of powers, and institutional integrity, no military dictator would have had dared a breach of his own constitutional oath”.

“Pakistan and World Affairs” is a book penned by Mr Shamshad Ahmad, a renowned civil servant who had served as Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, and also held other key diplomatic assignments. It is an endeavour to look into the past and present issues of Pakistan as well as important topics of the world affairs.

The book indulges in finding the civilizational roots of the area that now forms Pakistan, and finds out the cultural richness of the Indus Valley Civilization it once cradled. Mr Shamshad states that this civilization had “a writing system, urban centres, and a diversified economic and social system.― Moving on to the complex interaction of Dravidians and Aryans, to the foundations of the Buddhist culture, to the cultural impact of the Gandhara Empire in the present-day northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan, to the Mauryan and the Gupta empires, the author reaches the critical point in history when the first Muslim conquerors arrived in the Subcontinent. They established a new socio-political order first in the northwestern India and then in the whole Subcontinent.

In a brief yet engaging narrative, Mr Shamshad familiarizes the reader with the important highlights of history like how Muslim Empire was established in this region of the world. In order to dispel the image of Mehmood Ghaznavi as a mere plunderer of Hindu wealth, Mr Shamshad stresses upon the fact that it was, in fact, Hindu Raja Jaipal who first attacked Ghaznavi and forced Mehmood, who was preparing to invade Central Asia, to turn his attention towards India. The delicacies of the balance of power during the Delhi Sultanate era culminated in the form of a strong centralized force, i.e. the Mughal Empire. In the words of Mr Shamshad, “The Mughal Empire was one of the largest centralized states in pre-modern history and was the precursor to the British Indian Empire.” The contribution of the Mughal emperors to the administrative as well as cultural legacy of India is unparalleled in the history of the Subcontinent. However, the relatively peaceful tenures of the early Mughals were frequented by wars of succession. Mr Shamshad highlights that “inheritance of power and wealth in the Mughal Empire was not determined through primogeniture, but by princely sons competing to achieve military successes and consolidating their power at the court.”

The arrival of the British through East India Company and their tactics to gradually enhance their influence over the vast swathes of the Indian Subcontinent have been succinctly described along with the stories of those brave heroes who resisted the rise of the British on the political horizon of their motherland. Most historians, working on the Pakistan Movement, can be divided into two camps. First camp focuses on the socio-political consciousness of both Hindus and Muslims and views the formation of Pakistan in response to these revival and reform movements. The other group links the political manoeuvres of both All India Muslim League and Indian National Congress with the British promises and plans of constitutional reforms. Although Mr Shamshad does not go into much depth while analyzing this period of history, he creates a balance among the above referred two approaches to make things easy to comprehend. The political and constitutional turmoil of Pakistan has also been summarized in a chapter to provide the readers with the required background knowledge before turning to the task of weighing the problems that Pakistan faces today.

Commenting on the evolution of the democratic process and the role of military establishment in hampering this process, Mr Shamshad suggests that “if our civilian rulers had been steadfast in their own commitment to constitutional supremacy, rule of law, independence of judiciary, separation of powers, and institutional integrity, no military dictator would have had dared a breach of his own constitutional oath.”

Furthermore, he states in unequivocal terms that invariably it is the civil and military bureaucracy which controls our policies on crucial relations with China, India, US, the Gulf States, and the nuclear issue.

As the book enters into the arena of the contemporary issues, one can see the ease and the professional competence with which Mr Shamshad tackles these topics. The topics like Pakistan’s foreign policy, economy, civil-military relations, energy crisis, and terrorism are discussed with clarity along with the pragmatic solutions highlighted quite intelligently. The origin and role of UN has been examined with the excellence of a diplomat’s mind. Moreover, the issue of reforming UN Security Council has been given a

thorough and deep analysis. The ambitious grab for power of the G4 (Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan) in their demand of permanent seats in the UNSC has been deconstructed and alternative paths of reforms have been clearly delineated including the strategy offered by UfC (Uniting for Consensus) based on the need to make UNSC more representative, more democratic, and more accountable. Pakistan’s official stance in this regard has not only been highlighted but brilliantly advocated by Mr Shamshad.

Globalization and its impacts have also been evaluated in detail. He explores the whole spectrum of advantages and disadvantages the world accrued as a result of following the neo-liberal agenda of deregulation and structural changes. The gap between the rich and the poor, i.e., the income inequality, has never been greater. Mr Shamshad summarizes the economic disparity in the following words: “The top 20 per cent of the world’s people, living in the richest countries account for 86 per cent of world’s GDP, 82 per cent of its export market, 68 per cent of all foreign direct investments (FDIs) and 74 per cent of all telephone lines.”

This book can prove to be quite useful for the students preparing for the competitive exams. It is a rare blend of National as well as International issues. In words of Mr Shamshad, “The story of Pakistan is one of remorseless tug and pull between the civilian and military rulers on the one hand, and the liberal and religious forces on the other hand.” One can frankly conclude that this serpentine path followed by the socio-political forces of Pakistan has been navigated well by Mr Shamshad for the intellectual curiosity and academic pursuits of his readers.

‘Essays on Contemporary Crime prevention’

This book is a compilation of my research on criminology that was done in Australia, along with the 20-year experience of policing in Pakistan though these were not, primarily, written for publishing in form of a book.

These essays are the outcome of my laborious work on criminology-related concepts. Being the writer, I

was well-aware of the level and importance of the incorporated material, therefore, inspired by a strong

self-motivation, I decided to publish these essays in form of a booklet so that maximum people, particularly

the students of criminology and those conducting research in this field and also Police work, may benefit

from it.

Throughout history, crime has been detrimental to society. Such activities committed by anti-social

elements tend to create an imbalance in a peaceful society. Nevertheless, it was, and still is, a favourite

subject for those who quest to bridle this genie of crime. Whether, it is fight against crime or the theories

proposed to nip the crime in the bud, all have a common aim and that is to eradicate crime from society. In

these essays, the dichotomy of crime prevention theories and crime fighting has been merged to give one

aspect of crime prevention, both theoretically and practically.

Generally speaking, the chapters of this book can be divided into 3 segments. First, the chapters focused on psychological factors behind crimes. Secondly, those which deal with social behaviour and traits that are part and parcel of criminal activities, and lastly, those which portray theories dealing with the criminal law and justice system.

While concluding, I can say that this book is an interwoven analytical study of contemporary and past crimes, theories, researches and crime-prevention methodologies. The book focuses on the overall crime- fighting strategies besides touching some sensitive topics like racism, gender bias and psychological factors behind the criminal activities. Moreover, the references and websites have been provided at the end of each chapter for curious readers so that they may access them to quench their thirst for detailed knowledge.

I hope this book will go a long way in helping the readers who want professional knowledge or who are curious about the subjects of Policing and Criminology.

India and Pakistan: Continued Conflict or Cooperation?

By Stanley Wolpert, Berkeley Year 2010 University of California Press PP. 126, Price Rs 1,695.

In India and Pakistan: Continued Conflict or Cooperation? Stanley Wolpert, an expert on modern political history of Pakistan and India, sets out to explore the reasons which explain the continuing conflicts between the two countries. The task is great with a complex web of historical, political and religious narratives that are at the base of the conflict relationship between the two neighbours.

While the main focus of the book is the Kashmir issue, the author also brings to fore the contemporary domestic political scenario of the two countries. Wolpert persuasively argues that no issue other than the conflict over Kashmir ‘has proved more deadly, costly or intractable’ in the entire South Asia.

Wolpert jumps into the deep sea of the subcontinent’s history to trace the Kashmir conflict. Since 1148, when it was first mentioned in a historical text, Kashmir had remained a peaceful valley. Ashoka Maurya

ruled the Indian subcontinent (269-232 B.C.E.) and founded the capital, Srinagar. Since that time, the valley










In the 8th century, Hinduism entered the vale via its most powerful Hindu monarch, Lalitaditya. The 11th century witnessed the advent of Islam through the conquest of Mahmud of Ghazni. The natives of the valley had the liberty to practise their religion as there was no religious discrimination under any of its many rulers.

The Afghan invaders brought pain and misery to the people and they were compelled to appeal to the Sikh Maharaja of Punjab, Ranjit Singh, to come to Srinagar to save them. He proved little better than his precursors and thus began the sorry saga of an inept and divisive leadership that continues to plague the Kashmiri people to this day.

The year 1947 was a milestone in the world’s history as two new states – Pakistan and India emerged on the world map. The beautiful and peaceful valley turned into a ‘valley of blood’ when Lord Mountbatten left the destiny of 4 million Kashmiris to the personal choice of Maharaja Hari Singh. The Maharaja wanted to keep Jammu and Kashmir independent but this was not acceptable to both socialist Nehru’s India and Mr Jinnah’s Pakistan’. October 1947 witnessed the Jallianwala incident of Kashmir when the Hindu landlords opened fire on Muslim peasants who had refused to pay land taxes. This incident became the immediate cause for India and Pakistan to send their troops into the valley.

Wolpert persuasively argues that no issue other than the conflict over Kashmir ‘has proved more deadly, costly or intractable’ in entire South Asia.

In January 1948, India took this case to the UN Security Council accusing Pakistan of aggression and called for immediate and effective measures to put pressure on Pakistan. Pakistan’s position was that it entered the valley to protect the Muslim population there and it would withdraw its forces if India pulled back its entire forces from the valley.

On 14 March 1950, the Security Council passed a resolution for a plebiscite in Kashmir and Sir Owen Dixen was appointed as plebiscite mediator. He proposed a possible solution to resolve the Kashmir conflict by dividing it into the Muslim majority Vale of Kashmir and its Hindu-Buddhist majorities in Jammu and Ladakh. Later on, the Security Council sent more administers for a UN plebiscite but India’s leadership turned a deaf ear to such proposals and the ultimate results were that both sides deployed more troops and heavy artillery close to the ceasefire line and often exchanged heavy fire across the UN ceasefire line. Wolpert has criticised the leadership of both India and Pakistan for their short-sighted policies and parochial nationalistic approach. On 7 July 2009, President Asif Zardari admitted that prior to the incident of 9/11 Pakistan was involved in training militants to use as proxies against India in Kashmir. India, on the other hand, has been involved in human rights violations and suppression of demands by Kashmiris for independence.

The author throws considerable light on domestic political upheavals of both countries since partition. He looks at a wide array of efforts on both sides for establishing peace and cooperation between the two countries. He argues that while Pakistan has witnessed three dictatorial regimes which have weakened its democratic institutions, India has seen the rise of Hindu nationalist parties and leaders such as Narindra Modi who have sought to widen the Hindu-Muslim divide and capitalize upon it.

‘Potential Solutions to the Kashmir Conflict’ is perhaps the most important part of the book where Wolpert analyses the ‘various entrenched sensitivities’ associated with the issue on both sides. He says that ‘the most realistic solution to the Kashmir conflict’ is the acceptance of the Line of Control as the ‘northern-most international border of India and Pakistan’. He argues that Pakistan has lost the moral ground to push for self-determination to Kashmir’s Muslim majority by failing to ‘sustain a freely-elected polity capable of protecting its own people’.

On the Indian side, the ‘most troubling potential obstacle’ to this ‘realistic’ solution would be the election of another BJP-led central government. Though Wolpert is emphatic about letting the Kashmiri people ‘choose their own leaders in free and fair elections’, he fails to point out that Kashmiris lack a unified stance on their proposed national destination. What is more important than India and Pakistan accepting a ‘realistic’ solution is the need for consensus among the Kashmiris about their future national and territorial status.


Stanley Wolpert’s ‘Jinnah of Pakistan’, and Hector Bolitho’s ‘Jinnah: Creator of Pakistan’ are regarded as monumental works on the life of the Quaid-e-Azam. Bolitho wrote it like a novel; Wolpert, a history account. An expert touch of fiction in Bolitho’s book makes it a pleasant-read. What makes it more reader-friendly is the trait that the book brings forth the historical facts, painstakingly collected right after the death of the Quaid, amalgamated in the fiction-like prose.

On the other hand, Wolpert seems to have written it with a clear intention of narrating the facts about the great leader’s life in a plain way, though he too seems trying to denote the eventful life of Jinnah with a slight touch of connotative dramatic elements.

Wolpert being a professor of history knew the importance of not amalgamating historical facts with fiction. Historiography demands objectivity in studying and simplicity in reporting/denoting; just the way philosophy

demands objectivity and plain narration. That is why, Croce shared Vico’s view that history should be written by philosophers. This demand from historians inherently emphasises over the need of history be written







Wolpert has been successful in doing so. He collected the scattered facts with great zeal and care, and compiled them in a splendid way that the document has ascended to the level of a brilliant reference book on the life of Jinnah. Ibn Khaldun’s point of view on historiography was very humane and simple. He was of the view that a historian should not only string the events happened on the timeline, but also look for the reason of the happenings. This way, a historian can be more beneficial for the readers, and for the humanity. The insight of causal relationship of a historian into the events tightly strung happens to be a blessing in disguise for those who read in order to learn and strategise for future.

‘Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three’•.

Wolpert brings forth the reasons of Jinnah-Gandhi clash which are deep-rooted into their private life. This rivalry then escalated to the conflict of national and international proportions.

Jinnah was greatly inspired by the liberalism of Morley, an ardent disciple of Mill; tells Wolpert. Moreover, Jinnah fell in love with theatre when he was in London to study law. He confessed that his secret ambition was to play the role of Romeo at the Old Vic. ‘Even in the days of his most active political life’•, Fatima reminisced, ‘when he returned home, tired and late, he would read Shakespeare, his voice’ resonant’ quotes Wolpert.

The titles of the chapters are interesting and give a clue that they have been penned by a historian, and not by a fiction writer. They have the dimension of space and time, instead of mentioning the third dimension, that is, peeping into the ontological composition of an event manifested on or by the personality under study. In other words, Jinnah has been discussed under the title of where-and-when-did-it-happen instead of what-happened-to-Jinnah. Although, one doesn’t find any important details missing. To name a few, first chapter: Karachi; second: Bombay (1896-1910); third: Calcutta (1910-15); fourth: Lucknow to Bombay (1916-18); fifth Amritsar to Nagpur (1919-21)’.tenth: London (1930-33)’.sixteen: Simla (1944-45)’ twenty- second: Karachi” ‘Pakistan Zindabad’• (1947); and twenty-third: Ziarat (1948).

Wolpert enclosed his insightful study of Jinnah’s life in rather historic lines which vigorously paved the way of fame among the Pakistanis. The lines are a due tribute to an unmatched, incorruptible, unpurchaseable and inspirational leader whom the sons and daughters very rightly call the father of the nation: Baba-e- Qaum.

The opening lines of the preface of the book carry the essence of the book’ of Jinnah indeed.

Let us go through the Jinnah-in-a-nutshell lines of the preface before going through the book in full: ‘Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three’.

A Day-to-Day Spiritual Guide By Imran Tariq

The book is on religion, now available in the market. The author is serving in the Customs Department and is also researching on a book on management which will also come in the market shortly.

This book is unique regarding the fact that it does not read like a lecture or commentary on religion. It is based on sayings of the author on religious theme. How religion can be applied and interpreted in daily life. For example, the author posed a question, ‘Where will you apply religion if there is no one around you, or if you are living in isolation?’ The rules given by Allah Almighty can only be applied in civilisation.

The book comprises three hundred and sixty-five sayings. One for everyday and is divided so for every month ‘January to December. It is occasionally interspersed with the author’s own comments on various

issues other than religion. ‘With empathy and love you are a very delicious juicy peach, a plum and without










The inspiration behind the book is Prof. Ahmad Rafique Akhtar, the religious scholar with his unique, soft and kind style of talking on religion. According to the author, Prof. Sahib is a great sufi of our time and his main rationale is that Allah has to be your top priority. If He is not your top priority then you will never find Him. If you are lost in the world, you can never reach Him. Allah is the reason behind everything that is going on in the cosmos and in your own lives. It is a dishonesty and insincerity on one’s part if one cannot and does not recognise who gave you life and sustains you throughout your life. This act of thanklessness is very hateful in His sight and as a consequence no good news comes to you. ‘With Him,’• the author says, ‘Life is full of peace and hope.’ We eat of His bounty, ‘This spectacle of eating food has in it the ability and the capacity to make apparent a basic character flaw in you. Are you grateful or not. Do you thank Him or not,’• goes a saying. Allah is the reason behind everything that is going on in the cosmos and in your own lives. It is a dishonesty and insincerity on one’s part if one cannot and does not recognise who gave you life and sustains you throughout your life.

If one is not grateful to Him one cannot be grateful to any one or for anything. This, according to the author is a perfect ‘recipe for making your life a living hell.’• There is emphasis on the fact that He is Kind and Compassionate and Merciful, as He says and He is not harsh and unkind.

He says in the Quran ‘What concern does He have in punishing you if you believe in Him and are thankful to Him.’• He is thus not The One who is out to hurt or give harm to you. He is a very Compassionate God.

The sayings have been collected by the author over a period of years. They were jotted down as they came to him, lest they are forgotten. When these sayings reached a level to be given a book form, this book was born.

It is quite an effort expanding over years. It is easy reading as it doesn’t test your mental faculties perpetually. The sayings can be read at leisure and there is no discontinuity in reading as the book can be opened anywhere for reading.

The book is recommended for a reading as it carries a very different, easy style. It poses no burden on the intellect yet is intellectually very sound.


Dr Mujahid Kamran is a genuine scholar who also serves as the vice chancellor of the University of the Punjab. He writes on diverse topics ranging from theoretical physics to mass media, and from politics to literature. He has written books on Physics and Politics with the equal honesty and sincerity for the nation. His book ‘Jadeed Tabiaat kay Baani’• is in fact a made-easy history of the modern physics which has been written with the intention of inculcating scientific inquisitiveness among the minds of his otherwise dogmatic minded readers.

The book ‘THE GRAND DECEPTION: corporate America and perpetual war’ is a translated version of the compilation of his columns, which were previously published with the title Pas e Parda: Aalami Syaasat kay Makhfi Haqaaeq in Urdu by Sang e Meel in 2001. The columns had been being published in daily Waqt from August to December 2007. Dr Mujahid has recently been writing for The Nation as well.

Despite the fact that Dr Mujahid loves reading and writing poetry; and experiences great affiliation with the literary great masters (to name a few George Orwell, Majeed Amjad) of both the languages; his language in the columns remain dry and descriptive. He avoids adding layers of meanings with the creative use of words. Instead, he believes in explaining the crude facts the way they are.

Since he is a professor of Physics, therefore his insight into the discipline should not be a matter of surprise. However, what pleasantly surprises us is his patriotic voice which draws our stray attention to the need of never forgetting the services of a Pakistani physicist Dr Abdus Salam; the only Nobel Laureate of Pakistan.

The Grand Deception is a well-thought-over and well-composed compilation of the articles written with a vision. Although it is a compilation of the articles which have been written on various topics, yet there is an invisible association among all; which makes the book valuable for those who aspire to know about the dynamics of Political Science, Mass Communication, International Relations; and those who aspire to serve the state after getting through the CSS and PMS exams. The subtitle although suggests that the book discusses the perpetual war ignited by the US world over, yet, through this periscope, Dr Mujahid looks at the calamities the humanity is suffering from due to the pandemonium of a heartless monster we know as capitalism.

In a way, the writer in this book advocates the ideas of Chomsky, Gramsci, Habermas, Adorno and those who talk and act against the oppressor ruling capitalist class. He deeply analyzes the American Media which are virtually moaning in the claws of the riches.

Dr Mujahid, in light of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s ideas (The Grand Chessboard, and Second Chance), warns the US to be aware of the sentiments of the world grown against the government and the establishment of the US.

Dr Mujahid, in the book in question, very profoundly discusses, rather unveils, the reality of the Pearl Harbor attack. Since he is a scientist by nature, this is why he does not produce and rely on mere sweeping statements only. He asserts his point of view with the help of references and statistical data wherever he deems inevitable.

Dr Mujahid’s Letter to the US ambassador, which is the part of the book and appears at the end as chapter 35 is a must-read piece. The way he makes his points and presents the case of a common Pakistani is commendable. If other articles are a reflection of his rational soul, this letter is a reflection of his emotional soul. We meet a sensitive, patriotic, thinking and enlightened Pakistani in here. He not only illustrates the picture of the mental torture he had to undergo, but also shows the gloomy picture of America’s future through the mirror of this letter, if at all, the US do not realize the tightening noose of the atrocities the capitalism is casting upon the American society.

The results of the recent French Elections where the Socialists have won; and the Egyptian elections where Brotherhood have won strengthen the points made in The Grand Deception, that, the masses wherever they are, are urging for an alternative system. This relevance to the ever-changing world adds value to the dynamicity-rich book.

As a matter of fact, each of the articles of the book deserves a full-blown and thorough review; for it contains substance and things to ponder over. Unfortunately, the constraints of the space over here refrain us from doing so.

Shifting Sands: Poems of Love and other Verses By Amjad Islam Amjad

Poets, it is said, produce national literature, while translators produce world literature. This beautiful book is a brilliant illustration of this adage. Urdu literature has yet to create its deserved space in world literature, and this book can be cited as an example of where this sweet language can stand in the world at the top level. I will cite two reasons for this. One, because our society gives a very low status to translation. It remains a low paying profession whose wages are below those of domestic servants and garbage collectors. Nowhere in the country do we teach the subject of Translation Studies. Foreign language learning has fallen out of fashion at our universities. Nobody in our academia or the literati is familiar with the discipline of Comparative Literature. So who will talk about world literature?

The second reason is the lack of national literary discourse of corpus and canon. While Chinese or Persian Literature is clearly identifiable and marketed as such, Pakistani literature has not come of age 64 years after the birth of the country. By contrast the history of Urdu literature is spread over five centuries, and the vocabulary list of the language exceeds the number of words available to the English language.

‘Shifting Sands’ is a book that demands attention as a world class product of translation. Beautifully

produced in a coffee-table format, the volume presents the parallel Urdu-English text of 170 poems Nazms and Ghazals – selected from the 12 volumes of Amjad’s Urdu poetry translated so effectively by the Canadian team of Baidar Bakht and Anne-Marie Erki. I have not seen nor heard of such a massive parallel texting of another Pakistani poet being available in a major world language, not even of our dear national poet Allama lqbal. Baidar Bakht had earlier produced a selection of Amjad’s poems in English translation in 1991 titled ‘In the last days of autumn’•. The translators deserve special thanks of us Urdu lovers. Amjad is generally accepted as the most popular living Urdu poet. He has a prolific pen. Besides the 12 collections of poetry, he has written two travelogues, one book on critical appreciation of classical Urdu poetry and many books containing his dramas for both TV and stage. He has produced two volumes of translations in Urdu language one, Aks (reflections) comprising of protest poems of Palestinian poets, and Kale logoan ki roshan nazmain (Bright poems of black people) containing poems of African and AfroÂAmerican poets. He contributes a regular column to the national Urdu daily Express and is a frequent participant in TV talk shows on culture and society. Before the ‘Shifting Sands’ two volumes of his Urdu verse had been translated into English.

Amjad’s competence in a variety of literary genres is amazing, and perhaps unparalleled in our tradition.

The ‘Shifting Sands’ carries a powerful dedication: ‘To the dream of a peaceful and equality-based neighbourhood for every human being in the global village of the 21st century’•. In this Age of Globalization, the Information and Communication Technologies have sounded the death knell for geography. Distance is dead. The planet is becoming one neighbourhood where the role of the translator/interpreter in making cross-cultural communication possible is critical. The dedication of ‘Shifting Sands’ therefore carries a deeper meaning as it is a proclamation of our desire, and ability, to take Urdu to the world.

A Greater India Dream myth exposed

For some reason, nuclear and security-related issues have remained a no go area for Pakistani researchers and academics.No wonder, we have not had any meaningful literature on India-Pakistan nuclear stand-off and its regional and global implications.

In an unlettered society where one rarely comes across people genuinely into writing or reading and where books are sold not by content but their weight as a waste paper commodity and where book stores are disappearing fast getting converted into video shops and burger stands, the arrival of every single new book by a Pakistani author is freshening expression of a resolve not to give up the book culture.

No matter how many ‘Kitab Houses’ may have become ‘Kabab Houses’ to cater to the growing culinary appetite in our society, there is no dearth of publishing houses in Pakistan to keep apace with the undying quest for knowledge. It is an encouraging sign. Books on assorted subjects of general interest, especially

literature and history have been appearing in abundance. For some reason, nuclear and security-related issues have remained a no go area for Pakistani researchers and academics. No wonder, we have not had any meaningful literature on India-Pakistan nuclear stand-off and its regional and global implications.

India ‘inducted’• the nuclear dimension into the volatile security environment of South Asia by exploding the myth of a Smiling Buddha• through its first nuclear test in 1974 which was hailed by the West as a peaceful• nuclear test.

The barrier of reticence, it seems, now stands crossed. Two recent research-based well-written and thoroughly referenced books, one on South Asian nuclear deterrence and the other on Indian nuclear deterrence, both authored by Pakistani writers of eminent credentials under the banner of Oxford University Press, make a seminal appearance on our otherwise murky scene of scholastic aridity. Both provide an insightful account of the historic as well as geo-political dynamics underpinning the nuclearization of this region.

Professor Zafar Iqbal Cheema’s book entitled ‘Indian Nuclear Deterrence: Its Evolution, Development and Implications for South Asian

Security’ (Oxford University Press) is the first serious attempt at dissecting India’s nuclear ambitions rooted in its ‘Greater India’ dream. I am familiar with many books but this one is perhaps more comprehensive than any other book on this subject in terms of its timeframe (1947 until now) and the spectrum of issues involved ranging from the evolution and development of Indian nuclear program to its status-driven regional and global dimensions.

It exposes, with documentary and other relevant evidence from diverse sources, how for 50 years, India sought with single-minded devotion the re-enactment of the mythical Maha Bharata (Greater India) concept. It sought to dominate its periphery and the entire India Ocean, as the first step towards recognition of India’s status as a global power.

One is spontaneously reminded of Robert Oppenheimer, the arch developer of the ‘atom bomb’• who after witnessing the power of the first nuclear explosion, called Trinity Test in New Mexico was so moved as to famously acclaim that the sight made him think of the lines from the Bhagavad-Gita: ‘If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one: Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.’

India ‘inducted’• the nuclear dimension into the volatile security environment of South Asia by exploding the myth of a ‘Smiling Buddha’• through its first nuclear test in 1974 which was hailed by the West as a ‘peaceful’ nuclear test but in effect it was the ‘splendor of the mighty one’ signalling to the world: ‘Now I am

become death, the destroyer of world.’ India demonstrated the ‘splendor of the mighty one’• again in May 1998 leaving Pakistan with no choice but to respond in kind.

It becomes clear from this book’s statistically-supported narrative that no philosophical discourse is needed to understand or agree that nuclear weapons are never meant to be used. They are only for deterrence which apparently has worked during and after the intensely bipolar Cold War era. Nuclear deterrence has also so far worked as a strategic balance between India and Pakistan, the only nuclear equation that grew up in history totally unrelated to the Cold War as an offshoot of the India-Pakistan legacy of unresolved disputes and their perennial mode of conflict and confrontation.

Cheema’s book confirms the fallacy of conventional perspectives on the development of Indian nuclear deterrence ‘that the Indian nuclear programme entailed ‘exclusively peaceful uses’ during the Nehru era and the nuclear weapons capability was initiated by Shastri government after the first Chinese nuclear test in 1964. It offers incontrovertible evidence that Dr. Homi Bhabha, the architect of Indian nuclear programme, formulated a nuclear weapons development strategy within the structural framework of the Indian civilian nuclear programme with Nehru’s approval. It thus also denotes how Indian nuclear pursuits compelled Pakistan to go nuclear in reciprocation.

On their coming to power in New Delhi, the BJP sought to resurrect the legend of greater India and lost no time to implement its militaristic and communal agenda by a series of actions that only aggravated the security environment in our region. The BJP agenda publicly announced its intentions ‘to exercise the nuclear option and induct nuclear weapons, occupy Azad Kashmir and to demolish mosques to build Hindu temples.’

I recall in April 1998, Pakistan’s prime minister addressed a letter to the G-8 heads of state and government drawing their attention to India’s threatening nuclear designs and the consequences that would ensue from its induction of nuclear weapons. India’s five nuclear tests on May 11 and 13, 1998 proved us completely right. India had unleashed on our borders blasts of every sort, namely, thermonuclear, boosted fission, tactical weapons.

We knew at that time that peace was hanging by a slender thread in South Asia. In the absence of any assurances or security guarantees, we had no choice but to take measures to protect our freedom and independence. Our tests later in the month (May 28 and 30) were an act of self-defence; they established our minimum credible deterrence and in fact restored the regional strategic balance serving the larger interest ofpeace and stability in South Asia.

Cheema’s book makes one thing clear. It was not Pakistan which ‘inducted’• nuclear weapons into the volatile security environment of South Asia. We were compelled to do so. Since then, nuclear weapons are a reality in our region. They constitute an essential element of our security in the form of credible

minimum deterrent. They also constitute a credible nuclear deterrent for India. It is this subject which Professor Cheema now focuses in some detail providing factual scholarly material to understand and evaluate the South Asian nuclear deterrence model in its conceptual and operational detail through a Pakistani lens.

The book’s central premise is that the BJP government decision to carry out nuclear tests in 1998 was not an ‘out of the box’• development and was only step prefigured in a strategic continuum commenced during Nehru’s government. It suggests that the official declaration of India as a nuclear weapons state after the 1998 tests, its subsequent nuclear weaponization programme and announcement of a draft nuclear doctrine in August 1999 were in effect willful furtherance of the earlier policies representing a clear strategic


After having crossed the nuclear threshold, India has been seeking recognition by the international community as a nuclear weapon state, which it hoped, among other things, would entitle it to permanent membership of the UN Security Council and entry to the exclusive nuclear club. On our part, by demonstrating our capability, we were able to establish a strategic parity with India.

Chapters 4 and 5 are devoted to a comparative study of the nuclear policies of India and Pakistan in terms of their threat perceptions and strategic compulsions and objectives. A comparative study of their command and control systems as well other core elements of India’s deterrence especially ballistic missile capability and its ABM system, its fissile material capability, nuclear weapon technology and warhead capability makes a useful account to understand the regional nuclear scenario. What becomes further clear from this analysis is that India’s development of a nuclear triad gives it an assured second strike capability, necessitating for Pakistan not to ignore the need for a dynamic concept in its own credible minimum deterrence in the face of India’s overbearing nuclear capability.


Chapters 9 and 10 of the book offer a study of the development of nuclear deterrence and its implications for peace and security in the region. Chapter 10 specifically analyses the impact of conventional military asymmetry on strategic stability and Indian attempts of coercion and escalation dominance through threats of limited war, pre-emption and Cold Start strategy. The study, besides giving an insight into Indian nuclear command and control structure, also analyses the attempted transformation of Indian military doctrine into a strategic nuclear doctrine with global outreach. Cheema reveals no secret by acknowledging that India justifies its sea-land and air-based nuclear capability to counter what it claims its perceived potential threat from China as well as Pakistan. But the fact of the matter is that India’s military potential has always remained Pakistan-specific, and despite Islamabad’s repeated offers of ‘mutual restraint and responsibility’• it has shown no reciprocity. Pakistan has been pursuing since 1999 its proposal for a ‘strategic restraint regime’• based on three inter-locking elements of conflict resolution, nuclear and ballistic restraint and conventional balance.

There is a lesson to be drawn from this book. Instead of unleashing a relentless nuclear arms race in our region, we in South Asia should be exploring how to harmonize our respective security doctrines. Perhaps, the best course for India in this critical period of regional turmoil fuelled by a common threat of terrorism and militancy will be to accept Pakistan’s Strategic Restraint Regime proposal and also the offer of a No War Pact, which is even broader than India’s so-called No First Use doctrine, and encompasses both conventional and nuclear fields. Instead of raising the ante at bilateral level, we should be working together and coordinating our arms control and disarmament approaches in international forums like the Conference on Disarmament (CD).