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Pakistan's Drift Into Extremism: Allah, then Army, and America's War Terror Paperback – September 28, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: M.E. Sharpe; 1st edition (September 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765614979
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765614971
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nuclear, unstable, fundamentalist, Islamic—these adjectives are often used in frightening combination when the media turns to the topic of modern-day Pakistan, a critical but volatile ally in the fight to eradicate al Qaeda. With the sensibilities of both an insider and a scholar, Abbas, a Harvard fellow and former officer in President Pervez Musharraf’s anti-corruption police force, adds an important measure of sophistication to the popular understanding of Pakistan’s dangers and dysfunctions. His detailed analysis works through the country’s complicated history, starting in 1947 with the wrenching partition of British colonial India and ending with today’s impoverished, graft-addled government, which seems closer to falling into a maelstrom of religious radicalism every day. An important thread running through this history is the way American foreign policy—at times misguided or self-serving—magnified Pakistan’s homegrown ills. During the early 1980s, for instance, Pakistan’s pro-Western popular opinion appeared rock solid. "Only indifference, myopia and incompetence of flawless pedigree could have reversed this," Abbas writes. "But Pakistan and the United States would combine to produce the missing ingredient"—a policy of statewide "Islamization" orchestrated by Pakistan’s then leader, General Zia Ul-Haq, and amplified by Washington’s parallel support of the anti-Soviet mujahideen movement. Abbas offers valuable descriptions of today’s most active jihadi movements in Pakistan. More importantly, he shows how the Kashmir conflict, South Asia’s most aggravated political wound, has come to express numerous, overlapping national humiliations—often underestimated by Washington and exploited by Islamabad. "If Pakistan is to be saved from its future," Abbas concludes, "It must start by coming to a sincere accommodation with India over Kashmir."
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Review

"An engaging book on terrorism's largest growth market: Pakistan." -- The New York Times

More About the Author

Dr. Hassan Abbas is Professor of International Security Studies at the National Defense University in Washington DC. He is also a senior advisor and Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the Asia Society in New York working on the U.S. relations with South and Central Asia. Dr. Abbas held the Distinguished Quaid-i-Azam Chair at the South Asia Institute at Columbia University from 2009-11. Previous to that he was a Senior Advisor at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, after having been a Research Fellow at the Belfer Center from 2005 to 2009. He is also a non-resident Fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), Michigan, and an Associate of the Pakistan Security Research Unit (PSRU), University of Bradford, in the United Kingdom. He received his Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and an LL.M. in International Law from Nottingham University, United Kingdom, where he was a Britannia Chevening Scholar (1999). Dr. Abbas also remained a fellow at the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School (2002-2003) and as a visiting scholar at the Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation (2003-2004).

His research interests are politics and security issues in South West Asia; and relations between Muslims and the West. His most recent publication is 'Stabilizing Pakistan Through Police Reforms' and 'Pakistan 2020: A Vision for Building a Better Future' both available at asiasociety.org. His book, Pakistan's Drift into Extremism: Allah, the Army and America's War on Terror (M.E. Sharpe) has been on bestseller lists in India and Pakistan and was widely reviewed internationally, including by the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Far Eastern Economic Review, The Hindu, and Dawn. He has also appeared as an analyst on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, Al-Jazeera, and PBS, and as a political commentator on VOA and BBC. He runs WATANDOST, which is a blog on Pakistan and its neighbors' related affairs.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Hassan Abbas has written this book in a interesting way such that it is fun to read.
T. Malik
So far the rulers of Pakistan have not been Islamic fundamentalists, but they have used Islam as a political tool.
Ian Kaplan
The book provides insightful information and nuanced analysis that is written beautifully.
Teri

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Teri on September 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
The book provides insightful information and nuanced analysis that is written beautifully. This is certainly an insider's viewpoint - he is probably Bob Woodward of Pakistan. One may disagree with some of the conclusions of the book about the prospects of Talibanization of Pakistan but there is no doubt the work is authoritative and convincing in its approach. It's a must read for students of South Asian history and for those who want to learn about roots of Islamic radicalism in the region. Profiles of Pakistani extremist groups are very detailed and based on info that I believe is not available elsewhere.

The writer is clearly sympathetic towards minority Muslim groups in Pakistan especially Ahmedis and Shias but provides specific and credible instances of crimes committed against these communities. Also explains how Blasphemy laws are biased against Christian minority. He also severely criticizes Pakistan army for its interference in politics and intelligence agencies for how they groomed and sponsored terrorist groups. In comparison he has been somewhat soft on Pakistani police which he remains associated with as per his bio in the book.

The best part of the book is about General Musharraf and how he is handling Pakistan and the war on terror - he has mixed opinion about Musharraf's capability to make a real difference in the long run. He argues that moderate political parties and revival of real democracy is the only way things can be improved.

Final remark - its an academic book I believe but is written like a thriller - its difficult to put it down once you start reading. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to know how Pakistan is progressing (or digressing) and how intriguing is the history of Pakistan-US relations.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bina on September 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
Fabulous read. It artfully explains the challenges America face in the war on terror. Almost half of the book is pure historical narrative about Pakistan and India (though beautifully written) and the rest is analysis about the present day crisis in terms of capabilities of terrorist groups, impact of Musharraf's bold decisions to reform and policy prescriptions about how a constructive change is possible. For those interested in Muslim states and society this is a must read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chris on July 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you have to read just one book on Pakistan, this is it. Extremely well written and powerful - I have been teaching South Asian history for a decade but haven't come across a book on the country that is so clear in its perspective, so bold and most importantly written by someone who is not only a scholar but one who witnessed the scene firsthand. Its certainly a important contribution to the field.

I have just one suggestion and one criticism for the writer - he could have given more detailed profiles of the Islamic parties that Pakistan inherited in 1947. Secondly, the book requires a chronology of important political events of Pakistan for the Western readers. But despite these limitations, the book is head and shoulders above other contemporary works on the subject.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca on February 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
Very intriguing and bold work - exposes how religious bigots and fundamentalists have entrenched themselves in Pakistan. It doesn't spare anyone - Pakistan army and its intelligence, American foreign policy blunders, Indian intransigence and failure of Pakistan's political elite - a very balanced treatment. I read the book as a required text for a course on South Asia and conflict resolution and its best part is that its written in a story like fashion, so its actually fun to read the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. D. Anderson on May 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
Good information on Pakistan from partition (and slightly before) up until 2004.

Abbas has an entertaining, feisty writing style. His sympathies and condemnations are both spread liberally, which makes for less obvious bias than you will encounter most places. The work is very good in that respect.

One of his main points, and the one most salient for my own interests, is that Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan has been allowed to thrive because of incompetent rulers and failing institutions. As presented, it seems credible.

He deftly handles the Kashmiri issue and makes it perhaps the central motivating factor for Pakistani foreign policy.

Overall it's a good read and short at around 235 pages.

Also decent academic credentials.
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