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Origins, Evolution, Consequences 1947-2011

Ishtiaq Ahmed

This study seeks to solve the following puzzle: In 1947, the Pakistan military was poorly trained and poorly armed. It also inherited highly vulnerable territory vis-à-vis the much bigger India, aggravated because of serious disputes with Afghanistan. Over the years, the military, or rather the Pakistan Army, continued to grow in power and influence, and progressively became the most powerful institution. Moreover, it became an institution with de facto veto powers at its disposal to overrule other actors within society including elected governments. Simultaneously, it began to acquire foreign patrons and donors willing to arm it as part of the Cold War competition (the United States), regional balance-of-power concerns (China), and ideological contestants for leadership over the Muslim world (Saudi Arabia, to contain Iranian influence). A perennial concern with defining the Islamic identity of Pakistan, exacerbated by the Afghan jihad, resulted in the convergence of internal and external factors to produce the ‘fortress of Islam’ self-description that became current in the early twenty-first century. Over time, Pakistan succumbed to extremism and terrorism within, and was accused of being involved in similar activities within the South Asian region and beyond. Such developments have been ruinous to Pakistan’s economic and democratic development. This study explains how and why it happened.

Ishtiaq Ahmed was born in Lahore on 24 February 1947. He received a PhD in Political Science from Stockholm University in 1986. He taught at Stockholm University from 1987 to 2007 and was then invited as Senior Research Fellow and Visiting Research Professor by the Institute of South Asian Studies National University of Singapore, during 2007-2010. He is now Professo Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University and Honorary Senio Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore He has published extensively on Pakistani and South Asian politics. Hi research interests cover fields as diverse as political Islam, ethnicity an nationalism, human and minority rights, and indeed, partition studies.

Cover image courtesy: Brian Cloughley

ISBN 978-0-19-070244-1


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