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The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience (The Ceri Series in Comparative Politics and International Studies)

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9780190235185: The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience (The Ceri Series in Comparative Politics and International Studies)
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Pakistan was born as the creation of elite Urdu-speaking Muslims who sought to govern a state that would maintain their dominance. After rallying non-Urdu speaking leaders around him, Jinnah imposed a unitary definition of the new nation state that obliterated linguistic diversity. This centralisation - 'justified' by the Indian threat - fostered centrifugal forces that resulted in Bengali secessionism in 1971 and Baloch, as well as Mohajir, separatisms today.
Concentration of power in the hands of the establishment remained the norm, and while authoritarianism peaked under military rule, democracy failed to usher in reform, and the rule of law remained fragile at best under Zulfikar Bhutto and later Nawaz Sharif. While Jinnah and Ayub Khan regarded religion as a cultural marker, since their time the Islamists have gradually prevailed. They benefited from the support of General Zia, while others, including sectarian groups, cashed in on their struggle against the establishment to woo the disenfranchised.
Today, Pakistan faces existential challenges ranging from ethnic strife to Islamism, two sources of instability which hark back to elite domination. But the resilience of the country and its people, the resolve of the judiciary and hints of reform in the army may open a new and more stable chapter in its history.

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Review:

'Christophe Jaffrelot, a long-time French scholar of South Asia, has written a fine overview of contemporary Pakistan ... [T]his book is a superb guide to the cultural and social roots of the Pakistan movement as well as of contemporary Pakistan.' --Stephen P. Cohen, India Today

'Broad in sweep and brimming with insights: this is an outstanding analysis of Pakistan s troubled trajectory by one of France s most perceptive scholars of South Asia. Jaffrelot offers a compelling assessment of a country held in stable instability by deep and unresolved historical contradictions centring on the rival claims of a centralised state against the appeal of ethno-nationalism; of an entrenched culture of authoritarianism (both civil and military) against popular opposition, and of an overarching discourse of 'Islam' against the language of cultural diversity. A tour de force that will make you think again about one of the most complex countries in the world.' --Farzana Sheikh, author of Making Sense of Pakistan

'This book is the most comprehensive exposť of the various paradoxes of contemporary politics in Pakistan: the riddle of how a Muslim nationalism in British India; the problematic democratisation of the post-military state in the absence of a strident civil society; and the progression of Islam from ideology to policy, underscored by a widening chasm between Islamists and modernists, between Muslims and non-Muslims, and between Sunnis and sectarian minorities. A monumental work.' --Mohammad Waseem, Professor of Political Science at Department of Social Sciences, Lahore University of Management Sciences

About the Author:


Christophe Jaffrelot is Research Director at CNRS and teaches South Asian Politics and History at Sciences Po (Paris). From 2000-8, he was Director of CERI at Sciences Po. Arguably one of the world's most respected writers on Indian society and politics, his publications include India's Silent Revolution: The Rise of the Lower Castes in North India; Religion, Caste and Politics in India; and Muslims in Indian Cities, all of which are published by Hurst.

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