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Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military

4.2 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0870032141
ISBN-10: 0870032143
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Editorial Reviews


"[Husain Haqqani] brings impressive credentials to the task of analyzing his native land, including a personal acquaintanceship with many of the key military and political personalities of the past two decades." —Alex Alexiev, Center for Security Policy, Commentary, 12/1/2005

"a notable contribution to scholarship on South Asia" —Kapil Gupta, Foreign Service Journal

"In this cogent, well-informed and extraordinarily informative book, Husain Haqqani describes in detail the unholy alliance between Islamists and military officers that has shaped Pakistan's past and may well determine its future. An important and disturbing tale, deftly told." —Andrew J. Bacevich, author of THE NEW AMERICAN MILITARISM

"A well-written and authoritative account from someone who knows Pakistani politics from the inside." —Peter Bergen, CNN Terrorism Analyst and author of HOLY WAR, INC.

"We are in Husain Haqqani's debt for providing the authoritative account of the linkages between Pakistan's powerful Islamists and its professional army.... This brilliantly researched and written book should be required reading for anyone who wishes to understand this increasingly important state." —Stephen P. Cohen, Brookings Institution, and author of THE IDEA OF PAKISTAN

"Husain Haqqani has seen Pakistani politics close up. But his book is much more than a memoir: Haqqaani has produced a provocative and controversial history revealing the depth of the links between the army and the Islamic radicals. Required reading." —Owen Bennett-Jones, BBC, and author of PAKISTAN: THE EYE OF THE STORM

"Husain Haqqani has written the most comprehensive account of the role of religion and the army in Pakistan's tangled history. It makes for fascinating and sobering reading. The challenge of maintaining a 'moderate Islamic' identicy at a time of national insecurity and religious passion remains one of the central problems confrontinc any Pakistan government." —Teresita Schaffer, CSIS, and former U.S. Ambassador and Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia

About the Author

Husain Haqqani is a visiting scholar in the South Asia Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and an associate professor of International Relations at Boston University. He is former adviser to Pakistani prime ministers, and has served as Pakistan's ambassador to Sri Lanka.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 397 pages
  • Publisher: Carnegie Endowment for Int'l Peace (2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870032143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870032141
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By WAYNE YUNGHANS on March 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
When I began this book, my knowledge of Pakistan was the sum total of various sound bites, short conversations with Pakistani co-workers and articles I had read. This resulted in a vague and conflicted perception. Such is no longer the case. The time spent reading Haqqani's book has acquainted me well with the personalities, issues, history and indeed the phenomenon which is Pakistan.

This outstanding work provides the kind historical analysis only available from someone who was there to live the history of which he speaks. As an advisor to three of Pakistan's prime ministers, an acquaintance or personal friend of several influential generals, and as Pakistan's ambassador to Sri Lanka, the author writes with authority from first hand knowledge. He provides a close-in view of the personalities, relationships and complicated intrigue behind many of the events which comprise the story which is the history of Pakistan.

Concerning political intrigue: I think it's fair to say that since its inception, Pakistan has taken that phenomenon to a new level. The interplay and opposition between the military (whose aim is always to control the government), the civilian government (who at times dares pursue ends unsanctioned by the former entity) and the islamist extremists (whom the former seeks to manipulate to help them control the latter) results in a pervasive and ongoing tension. The media is correct to speak of Pakistani politics as "shadow games". Indeed, much goes on in the shadows, behind the scenes where none are supposed to see. The military - and intelligence service (the ISI) exercise an amazing ability to manipulate events, perceptions and ultimately the sentiments of the masses in order to further their own agenda.
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Format: Paperback
This is a well researched book and offers a new perspective on Pakistan's history and politics. Haqqani's main thesis is that the Islamists and the military in Pakistan have always found it beneficial to cooperate with each other. The main reason for this relationships dates back to the creation of Pakistan when the circumstances forced the early leaders of Pakistan to adopt a tripod strategy. The pillars of that strategy were Islam, hatred against India and reliance on American aid. Haqqani argues that this strategy has not changed over time. In conclusion, he asks the American policy makers to stop assisting the military in Pakistan and help Pakistan move from an ideological state run by the mullah-military alliance to a functional one run by the people of Pakistan.

The major weakness of the book lies in its conclusion. It appeals to the American policy makers to do some thing to solve Pakistan's problems. It is the same mistake that Pakistan's military dictators have always made and that the two exiled Pakistani leaders (Mr Nawaz Sharif and Ms Benazir Bhutto) are making now. Rather than appealing to the people of Pakistan to rise up to the occasion and to understand that if Pakistan becomes a democratic, liberal and progressive state they are the ones to directly benefit, Haqqani seeks the solution in the Capitol Hill and the White House.

The problem is that a majority of Pakistanis is still not fully convinced that a truly democratic Pakistan will serve their interests better than the one run by mullah-military alliance. However, it is for this very reason that scholars like Haqqani should come forward and tell the people of Pakistan what is good and what is harmful for them.
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Format: Paperback
As a Pakistani with active interest in the poltics and history of the country, I realize that Pakistan is a difficult country. Its politics is topsy-turvy. It is an American ally but its people hate America. Recently it has been at the forefront of the War Against terrorism but continues to be criticized in U.S. media for being a breeding ground for terrorism.

Most books on Pakistan either question the country's rationale or are apologetic about its circumstances. This book does neither. Mr. Haqqani acknowledges the difficulties Pakistan faced at the time of its creation and then proceeds to analyze how its leadership made choices that have led the country through many crises. Instead of backing Pakistani nationalism with a constitutional government, its mainly military leaders tried to base Pakistan on a somewhat contrived ideology. That, more then anything else, explains why Pakistan was divided in 1971 and became a supporter of the Taliban in the 1990s.

This book is not about blame. It explains, analyzes and clarifies. It would help Americans and Pakistanis alike in understanding why Pakistan has become so complicated and how it can become stable in the future.
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Format: Paperback
Given Haqqani's close relationship with several recent Pakistan governments, I had been looking forward to reading his text.

On the pluses, the book is well researched, with several interesting insights and facts which maintained my curiosity. For instance, it was surprising to learn of the ISI's active interest in Afghanistan which began in 1973 (6 years before the USSR's invasion). Then there were the specifics about Benazir's foreign policy options during her first prime ministerial office being largely curtailed by the army.

On the minuses, Haqqani failed on the book's higher conceptual thinking - specifically he failed to adequately relate the interesting facts with enough of a meaningful conceptual framework. The book feels like a laundry list of events, a boring chronology book (not even a history book, let alone a European IR text) when it really needed to explore the core concepts more powerfully. The book is after all supposed to be focused on the relationship between Pakistan's 'Mosque and Military'.

My guess is that the author rushed the book. Students who have had to write a thesis may appreciate my next comment more easily than others. This book gave me the impression that the author had written the first draft, proofed for typos and run to the printers. I would have thought that if he had allowed a gestation period, even a few weeks, he would have been able to self-reflect that little bit more and push the conceptual dimension.
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