The Idea of Pakistan

The Idea of Pakistan

STEPHEN PHILIP COHEN
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 367
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7864/j.ctt1287b4c
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  • Book Info
    The Idea of Pakistan
    Book Description:

    In recent years Pakistan has emerged as a strategic player on the world stage -both as a potential rogue state armed with nuclear weapons and as an American ally in the war against terrorism. But our understanding of this country is superficial. To probe beyond the headlines, Stephen Cohen, author of the prize-winning India: Emerging Power, offers a panoramic portrait of this complex country -from its origins as a homeland for Indian Muslims to a militarydominated state that has experienced uneven economic growth, political chaos, sectarian violence, and several nuclear crises with its much larger neighbor, India. Pakistan's future is uncertain. Can it fulfill its promise of joining the community of nations as a moderate Islamic state, at peace with its neighbors, or could it dissolve completely into a failed state, spewing out terrorists and nuclear weapons in several directions? The Idea of Pakistan will be an essential tool for understanding this critically important country.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-9761-6
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xi)
  4. [Map]
    (pp. xii-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-13)

    In recent years Pakistan has become a strategically important state, both criticized as a rogue power and praised as being on the front line in the ill–named war on terrorism. The final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States identifies Pakistan, along with Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, as a high-priority state.

    This is not a new development. In the 1950s and 1960s Pakistan was a member of two American–sponsored alliances, but then drifted away from Washington. In the 1980s Pakistan was a vital partner in evicting the Soviet Union from Afghanistan, even though...

  6. CHAPTER ONE The Idea of Pakistan
    (pp. 15-38)

    For millennia, ideas, people, and goods moved freely between the Indian subcontinent and what is now the Middle East, with routine trade well established by the sixth century A.D. In A.D. 660 the second caliph, Umar, sent the first Arab expedition to Sindh, and in 711 the province was conquered by Mohammad ibn Qasim. Along with advanced military power came missionaries and traders, and the process of conversion to Islam began. There are still important Muslim trading communities throughout South India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives—and farther east in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. These traders (and minor Muslim...

  7. CHAPTER TWO The State of Pakistan
    (pp. 39-96)

    The British plan to partition the Indian subcontinent into two dominions—India and Pakistan—was announced on June 3, 1947, and accelerated the time frame for independence by six or more months, with the date for transfer of power set for August 15. Few believed that a clean, uncomplicated break was possible in that shortened period. They were correct; of all the schemes that had been discussed over the years, the plan to create a single Muslim state with two wings, separated by 1,000 miles of Indian territory, was perhaps the most problematic to implement and certainly unprecedented. This kind...

  8. CHAPTER THREE The Army’s Pakistan
    (pp. 97-130)

    For the foreseeable future, the army’s vision of itself, its domestic role, and Pakistan’s strategic environment will be the most important factors shaping Pakistan’s identity.¹ While the growing Islamic consciousness, ethnic and subnational rivalries, and maldeveloped political system are all important, time and time again the army’s way has been Pakistan’s way. Pakistan is likely to remain a state in the possession of a uniformed bureaucracy even when civilian governments are perched on the seat of power. Regardless of what may bedesirable,the army will continue to set the limits on what ispossiblein Pakistan.

    This chapter explores...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Political Pakistan
    (pp. 131-160)

    Pakistan’s politicians confront three problems as they attempt to shape the future of their state. The first is simple: how do they come to power and hold on to it given the army’s historic role as ruler or power broker? Two prime ministers—Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto—came to office after events that temporarily reduced the army’s role; they were the most prominent politicians at those moments and had wide popular support. Two (Sharif and Benazir in her second term) came to office through normal democratic elections, but at least two (Mohammed Khan Junejo and Mir Zafarullah Khan...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Islamic Pakistan
    (pp. 161-200)

    Until 1947 no other state with a predominately Muslim or Islamic population had been founded as a homeland for coreligionists. Most such states had an earlier cultural or civilizational identitybeforethey became Muslim: this was notably true of those with Arab and Persian populations. Pakistan was the product of a classic nationalist movement with a geopolitical vision that sought a protected area where Muslims could live unthreatened lives. As for Pakistan’s identity, the (personally) secular Jinnah and the Muslim League wanted Pakistan to be a state for Muslims, rather than an Islamic state. Being lawyers brought up in the...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Regionalism and Separatism
    (pp. 201-230)

    It is often forgotten that Pakistan is one of the world’s most ethnically and linguistically complex states. Each of its provinces is associated with a single ethnolinguistic group: Punjab with Punjabis, Sindh with Sindhis, Baluchistan with Baluch, and the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) with Pashtuns. Some also have significant minority representation, and Pashtuns and Punjabis are found throughout the country (see table 6–1). Pakistan’s tribal population is concentrated in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) and Azad Kashmir.

    Ethnic and linguistic groups, identified by cultural markers, often claim they are a “people” or a “nation.” Some seek independence and...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Demographic, Educational, and Economic Prospects
    (pp. 231-266)

    The previous four chapters offered both a history and an assessment of key Pakistani political and social forces, including the army, the political parties, regional elites, and the emerging Islamist movements. This chapter returns to the broader approach of chapters 1 and 2 to consider Pakistan’s prospects in view of its alarming demographic and social indicators, the much–battered educational system, and uncertain economic circumstances. Factors of this nature are intertwined: when they are in a positive direction, they reinforce each other in a virtuous cycle; when they are negative, the cycle becomes vicious—and a state may spiral downward...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT Pakistan’s Futures
    (pp. 267-299)

    Is Pakistan at a critical juncture? If so, it will not be the first time for a state that has had three wars and many minor military clashes with India, four coups, and a collapsed economy several times. Yet each time Pakistan has been declared a “failed state” it has come back from the grave—albeit with a weakened economy, a more–fragmented political order, less security in relation to its powerful neighbor, and disturbing demographic and educational trends.

    Ian Talbot, the perceptive British Pakistan–watcher wrote a few years ago that “reports of Pakistan’s death have been greatly exaggerated”...

  14. CHAPTER NINE American Options
    (pp. 301-328)

    The attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center again transformed the U.S.–Pakistan relationship. Once buried under three layers of sanctions, Pakistan became a vital strategic partner whose head of state would spend a day at Camp David in June 2003. Only three years earlier, candidate George W.Bush could not name Pakistan’s leader, General Pervez Musharraf (nor, for that matter, India’s prime minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee).

    Pakistan is situated at the crossroads of many American concerns. These include terrorism, nuclear proliferation, democratization, and relations with the Islamic world and other important Asian states. There is no question that Washington...

  15. NOTES
    (pp. 329-368)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 369-382)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 383-384)