Seen through the lens of the outsider, Pakistan has often been reduced to a caricature. Its diversity and resilience have rarely figured in the single-issue focus of recent literature on the country, be it journalistic or scholarly. This book seeks to present an alternate paradigm and to contribute a deeper understanding of the country’s dynamics that may help explain why Pakistan has confounded all the doomsday scenarios. It brings together an extraordinary array of leading experts, including Ahmed Rashid, Ayesha Jalal and Zahid ?Hussain, and practitioners, such as the book’s editor, Maleeha Lodhi, Akbar Ahmed and Munir Akram. Together they debate their country’s strengths and weaknesses and offer ways out of its current predicament.
This book provides a picture of how Pakistanis see themselves and their country’s faultlines and spells out ways to overcome these. Pakistan’s political, economic, social, foreign policy and governance challenges are assessed in detail. So too is the complex interplay between domestic developments and external factors including great power interests that are so central to the Pakistan story and explain the vicissitudes in its fortunes. Lodhi and her contributors contend that Pakistan and its people have the capacity to transform their country into a stable, modern Muslim state, but bold reforms will be needed to bring about this outcome.