Part I: Land, People, and History analyzes the historical development of Pakistan and offers a profound exploration of Pakistan’s complex journey through the pre-and post-independence periods.
In this thought-provoking book, the author delves into the multifaceted nature of Pakistan, examining its internal affairs, societal dynamics, historical struggles, and the various structures that shape the nation.
By meticulously examining each aspect, the author provides readers with a comprehensive understanding of Pakistan’s strengths, weaknesses, and the challenges it faces in the present day.
This part includes two chapters. Chapter 1 is about the introduction and understanding of the internal affairs and dynamics of Pakistan. In this chapter, Author explicates the nature of Pakistan as disorganized, divided, economically backward, violent, corrupt, and unjust and in many ways, tough and resilient as a state and a society. The National Finance Commission Award of 2010 demonstrated that Pakistan’s democracy, federalism, and political process retain a measure of flexibility, compromise, and vitality. Pakistan will survive as a state, despite of separation of East Pakistan in 1971 and failing a catastrophic overspill of the war in Afghanistan. Pakistan has a core geographical unity and logic. According to him, the political fact is that a state is weak (whoever claims to lead it), whereas society in its diverse kinds is strong.
Chapter 2 focuses on the struggle of Muslims of South Asia, how their struggle shaped their future, how Pakistan emerged as a separate independent state, and the governmental failure (both civilian and military) that resulted from internal weaknesses of the State.
Part II: Structures includes four chapters in which the author elucidates the diverse aspects of power and structures in Pakistan; Justice, Religion, the Military, and Politics respectively. Chapter 3 of this part mainly highlights the features of the Judicial system of Pakistan (though derived from the British), the biases it inherits against the weak and poor, the nature and role of this system in the State, and how the competition of judicial codes hinders the development of State. Chapter 4 focuses on the role of religion, as Islam became a state religion in 1973’s Constitution, how it prevented extremism, and the different traditions it contains in the State. Chapter 5 explicates the role of the military (in both the defense and politics of Pakistan), its composition, functioning, and influence in Pakistan.
Part III: “Provinces” branches out into different provinces of Pakistan; Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, along with the diversity of the State. Chapter 6 basically highlights different political parties, their role and their politics, and the role played by media in the State.
The author highlighted the general image of Pakistan’s political system portrayed by Western as well as national analysts that Pakistan’s political system is two-faced: *It is bad for the overall economic development of the State. and *It creates obstacles to revolutionary changes.
Chapter 7 elucidates the characteristics of the biggest province of Pakistan with respect to population; Punjab, its history, regions, the impact of politics, and its regional importance. Chapter 8 highlights the insecurity in the provincial capital of Sindh and the largest city of Pakistan; Karachi. He further emphasizes the history of Sindh in the pre-and post-independence period, the role of ethnicity, politics, social order, and traditional systems in this feudal-dominated province. Chapter 9 spotlights the characteristics of Balochistan; the largest province of Pakistan with respect to area and the smallest province with respect to population; highly enriched in mineral and energy resources, its strategic importance, ethnicity, tribalism, and role in the development of Pakistan and vice versa. It has both disputed history as well as population. The author has criticized the role played by the State towards Balochistan that resulted in insurgency due to the marginalization and exploitation of resources and benefits of this region by Punjab’s dominant Federal government over the local tribal population. Chapter 10 emphasizes the aspects of the Pathans, the people having a proud history of independence, their traditional systems, nationalism, ethnic pride, and political cultures.
Part IV: “Taliban” has two chapters in which the author mainly explicates the roles of the Taliban; their rebellion and defeat. Chapter 11 illustrates the Pakistani Taliban’s nature, lineage, and support by the Pakistani government towards them. Chapter 12 mainly emphasizes the turbulence created by the Taliban in some areas of Pakistan and their defeat, the role of public opinion, and the part played by political parties, the army, and the police in the defeat of the threat that militants would push Pakistan towards collapse by 2010.
The author has briefly concluded his two decades of research by saying that Pakistan, a deeply troubled and tough state, is likely to survive as a country despite many threats.
Ecological change is a major threat to Pakistan rather than insurgency. Whatever policy Afghanistan adopts will influence Pakistan to a larger extent as more than half of the Pathan ethnicity lives in Pakistan, and maintain a strong interest in their neighboring Afghan Pathans across the Durand Line. The USA should use Pakistan as a mediator to enhance peace talks with the Taliban to reach a settlement rather than by using force. Pakistan, being a neighbor, can play a prominent role in negotiations and the West should recognize the legitimate goals of Pakistan in Afghanistan.
The author has criticized the intervention of ground forces of the USA in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) as this will escalate mutiny in Pakistan. The US should limit Indian involvement in Afghanistan and the West should play a part in order to resolve the Kashmir dispute and needs to adopt a generous attitude to assist Pakistan. Furthermore, he emphasized cooperation between US and China for safeguarding Pakistan’s survival at the regional level. The author has tried to anticipate the future of South Asia and the standing of Pakistan in World Politics.
Lieven has given the perspicacious prospect of Pakistan, its cohesiveness and dysfunctionality at the same time, its historical analysis, anthropological investigation, deep analysis of its internal dynamics and structures, issues and outcomes, political structures and culture, demographic swathes, history, religious traditions, and regions.
He tried to cover almost all aspects of Pakistani society. He has accentuated the influence of climate change and global warming emphasizing ecological catastrophe by highlighting the floods of 2010 which demolished the state’s systems, damaged infrastructure, extirpated agriculture, and livestock, and resulted in huge loss of lives. The author has adopted an analytical approach, traveled across the State, and used empirical resources for including the voices of politicians, intelligence officers, bureaucrats, intellectuals, religious personalities, soldiers, and common people.
The Author is currently acquiring a Degree in International Relations at the School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. Her areas of Interest include; Non-Traditional Security Challenges, Escalating Regional as well as Global Insecurities, Diplomacy and Governance, Strategy Studies, Policymaking, and Foreign Policy. She Tweets @_Amna_Zaman_