Pakistan: Deep inside the World’s Most Frightening State

1292 words (5 pages) Essay

11th Oct 2017 Politics Reference this

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BOOK REVIEW

“PAKISTAN DEEP INSIDE THE WORLD’S MOST FRIGHTENING STATE”

Author: Mary Anne Weaver

Mary Anne Weaver, the writer of “Pakistan Deep inside the World’s Most Frightening State” has been a long time foreign correspondent for the New Yorker magazine. She is an expert in South Asian and Middle Eastern affairs and political and militant Islam. She has also written on the rise of militant Islam. She has reported from over thirty countries of the world, and currently resides in New York. She has won many writing awards including Citation, the Cornelious Ryan Award for the best non-fiction book on international affairs. Moreover, she has worked for The Sunday Times of London, London Times, Washington Post, and some other groups. She is Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Journalism from Pennsylvania State University and Master of Arts in Arab Affairs from the American University in Cairo. The other important book that she has written is A Portrait of Egypt: A Journey Through the world of Militant Islam. She has written article on the consequences of Saudi and American funding and Egyptian support of Islamic militants fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. She has also written “India’s Bandit Queen”.

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The author’s political and philosophical viewpoint is based on years of experience as a journalist and personal vignettes overseas. She is quite critical on the rise of Militant Islam and the dire need of Pakistan to the United States.

General Summary:

The book is basically about a country which is surrounded by such challenging and complex circumstances that we can find no parallel of. The country is one and only Pakistan. The author has given a classical account of the situation the country has passed through. A nuclear armed state sandwiched between Afghanistan and India, having militant influence inside has been elaborated by her as the most dangerous place on Earth. The country’s integration is an utmost requirement for the world peace. The book gives an account of the most important factors, i.e. Militancy, Nuclear Arsenal, Neighbors, Role in the War on Terror and the shifting policies in different Dictatorial tenures. Moreover, the role of United States and Saudi Arabia has been discussed and the Baloch Tribal Culture and Kashmir, that has been the main bone of contention between Pakistan and India has been utmost importance in the book.

Author’s Thesis or Conclusion:

The author during the journey of writing this book met many important figures of the time, such as General Pervez Musharraf, the then President and Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan Army, Benazir Bhutto, G.M.Syed, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, and some more. The author has given an account of the circumstances in which General Musharraf took over. There was an overall policy shift after he came into the chair, as his takeover was followed by the 9/11. According to her, there was a huge difference in Zia and Musharraf policies. She elaborates the role of Saudi Arabia and Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan in Afghanistan and explains how both contradict their interference. The event of 9/11 led Pakistan into circumstances that it had to become an ally of the United States in the War on Terror. The point of concern for her was that if they counter the Taliban, how they will manage the Jihadis then. Initially, Pakistan benefitted from the United States, as sanctions were removed and aid packages were received. She also highlights the role of nationalists like G.M.Syed. She tells that Osama bin Laden had popular support in Pakistan. People were ready to come out on streets for him. He received help from many tribal elders of Balochistan. The tribal elders of Balochistan were against the education and development in their province, as they see reduction in their influence. Further, she talks about the role of Mullahs in the society and most importantly the politics of Pakistan. Arabs are very close to Pakistan. They mostly come there for hunting purposes with the approval of the authorities. Then she talks about Benazir. She tells that at that time Benazir Bhutto seemed a serious threat to Musharraf, as intelligence agencies at that time had the view that she was the most popular leader of the country. She gives an account of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s death and Benazir and family’s condition at that time. She gives a comparison of Musharraf’s liberal and Zia-ul-Haq’s conservative tenures. She also talks about the role of military in politics. The tussle between India and Pakistan has also been discussed. India blames Pakistan for any incident happening inside its territory and so does Pakistan. India claims that organizations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, etc. are being operated from Pakistan. The objective of United States was to carry out attacks and limit the members of Al-Qaeda, whereas she gives some indication of Pakistani reluctance also. Regarding Kashmir, the major bone of contention between Pakistan and India, she tells the views of both sides. Pakistan forces for a plebiscite as decided by the United Nations, whereas India has a stance that it is a bilateral issue after the Simla Agreement. There is a major deadlock between both the nations, and none of them can afford to lose Kashmir. For this reason, both sides remain on maximum military alert. She highlights a very important aspect that the organizations which were once formed and trained by the intelligence agencies of Pakistan, like Jaish-e-Muhammad, twice tried to assassinate General Musharraf. This is a point of high concern. Pakistan is hence elaborated as one of the most difficult and tough countries of the world.

My Reaction to Author’s Views:

I agree with the author’s views in most of the aspects she has given. She is absolutely correct about the difference in the approaches, i.e. liberal and fundamentalist of Musharraf and Zia ul Haq. She correctly tells about the support and sympathies Osama bin Laden had in the country. The Baloch tribal elders themselves do not want economic and educational empowerment in their province, in order to keep in order their influence. The aspect of Arabs which she has discussed is in my point of view correct and having a line in order with Arabs is a basic compulsion on Pakistan, for financial, economic and political reasons. The role of military in politics is a truth, and still politics is not free of their influence. Moreover, the most important aspect in my point of view is that of the organizations that were formed under the influence of our security agencies and now they are our own enemies. This has been clearly witnessed by the whole world. So, her view of Pakistan, one of the most difficult states in the world is correct, as the complexity of problems that can be witnessed here, are not that common in the world.

Summary and General Recommendations:

The book is well written, and covers many of the problems and, complexities of the problems, that Pakistan is facing today. The author has herself met many bigwigs and then mentioned the experiences on the basis of those meetings and travels that she had in the country. The book includes index, map, but lacks pictures.

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As far as referring the book is concerned, yes, I will refer the book to others, for the reason that it contains a whole analysis along with the background of the problems that the country is surrounded by today. This book is a good read for the general reader.

BOOK REVIEW

“PAKISTAN DEEP INSIDE THE WORLD’S MOST FRIGHTENING STATE”

Author: Mary Anne Weaver

Mary Anne Weaver, the writer of “Pakistan Deep inside the World’s Most Frightening State” has been a long time foreign correspondent for the New Yorker magazine. She is an expert in South Asian and Middle Eastern affairs and political and militant Islam. She has also written on the rise of militant Islam. She has reported from over thirty countries of the world, and currently resides in New York. She has won many writing awards including Citation, the Cornelious Ryan Award for the best non-fiction book on international affairs. Moreover, she has worked for The Sunday Times of London, London Times, Washington Post, and some other groups. She is Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Journalism from Pennsylvania State University and Master of Arts in Arab Affairs from the American University in Cairo. The other important book that she has written is A Portrait of Egypt: A Journey Through the world of Militant Islam. She has written article on the consequences of Saudi and American funding and Egyptian support of Islamic militants fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. She has also written “India’s Bandit Queen”.

The author’s political and philosophical viewpoint is based on years of experience as a journalist and personal vignettes overseas. She is quite critical on the rise of Militant Islam and the dire need of Pakistan to the United States.

General Summary:

The book is basically about a country which is surrounded by such challenging and complex circumstances that we can find no parallel of. The country is one and only Pakistan. The author has given a classical account of the situation the country has passed through. A nuclear armed state sandwiched between Afghanistan and India, having militant influence inside has been elaborated by her as the most dangerous place on Earth. The country’s integration is an utmost requirement for the world peace. The book gives an account of the most important factors, i.e. Militancy, Nuclear Arsenal, Neighbors, Role in the War on Terror and the shifting policies in different Dictatorial tenures. Moreover, the role of United States and Saudi Arabia has been discussed and the Baloch Tribal Culture and Kashmir, that has been the main bone of contention between Pakistan and India has been utmost importance in the book.

Author’s Thesis or Conclusion:

The author during the journey of writing this book met many important figures of the time, such as General Pervez Musharraf, the then President and Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan Army, Benazir Bhutto, G.M.Syed, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, and some more. The author has given an account of the circumstances in which General Musharraf took over. There was an overall policy shift after he came into the chair, as his takeover was followed by the 9/11. According to her, there was a huge difference in Zia and Musharraf policies. She elaborates the role of Saudi Arabia and Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan in Afghanistan and explains how both contradict their interference. The event of 9/11 led Pakistan into circumstances that it had to become an ally of the United States in the War on Terror. The point of concern for her was that if they counter the Taliban, how they will manage the Jihadis then. Initially, Pakistan benefitted from the United States, as sanctions were removed and aid packages were received. She also highlights the role of nationalists like G.M.Syed. She tells that Osama bin Laden had popular support in Pakistan. People were ready to come out on streets for him. He received help from many tribal elders of Balochistan. The tribal elders of Balochistan were against the education and development in their province, as they see reduction in their influence. Further, she talks about the role of Mullahs in the society and most importantly the politics of Pakistan. Arabs are very close to Pakistan. They mostly come there for hunting purposes with the approval of the authorities. Then she talks about Benazir. She tells that at that time Benazir Bhutto seemed a serious threat to Musharraf, as intelligence agencies at that time had the view that she was the most popular leader of the country. She gives an account of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s death and Benazir and family’s condition at that time. She gives a comparison of Musharraf’s liberal and Zia-ul-Haq’s conservative tenures. She also talks about the role of military in politics. The tussle between India and Pakistan has also been discussed. India blames Pakistan for any incident happening inside its territory and so does Pakistan. India claims that organizations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, etc. are being operated from Pakistan. The objective of United States was to carry out attacks and limit the members of Al-Qaeda, whereas she gives some indication of Pakistani reluctance also. Regarding Kashmir, the major bone of contention between Pakistan and India, she tells the views of both sides. Pakistan forces for a plebiscite as decided by the United Nations, whereas India has a stance that it is a bilateral issue after the Simla Agreement. There is a major deadlock between both the nations, and none of them can afford to lose Kashmir. For this reason, both sides remain on maximum military alert. She highlights a very important aspect that the organizations which were once formed and trained by the intelligence agencies of Pakistan, like Jaish-e-Muhammad, twice tried to assassinate General Musharraf. This is a point of high concern. Pakistan is hence elaborated as one of the most difficult and tough countries of the world.

My Reaction to Author’s Views:

I agree with the author’s views in most of the aspects she has given. She is absolutely correct about the difference in the approaches, i.e. liberal and fundamentalist of Musharraf and Zia ul Haq. She correctly tells about the support and sympathies Osama bin Laden had in the country. The Baloch tribal elders themselves do not want economic and educational empowerment in their province, in order to keep in order their influence. The aspect of Arabs which she has discussed is in my point of view correct and having a line in order with Arabs is a basic compulsion on Pakistan, for financial, economic and political reasons. The role of military in politics is a truth, and still politics is not free of their influence. Moreover, the most important aspect in my point of view is that of the organizations that were formed under the influence of our security agencies and now they are our own enemies. This has been clearly witnessed by the whole world. So, her view of Pakistan, one of the most difficult states in the world is correct, as the complexity of problems that can be witnessed here, are not that common in the world.

Summary and General Recommendations:

The book is well written, and covers many of the problems and, complexities of the problems, that Pakistan is facing today. The author has herself met many bigwigs and then mentioned the experiences on the basis of those meetings and travels that she had in the country. The book includes index, map, but lacks pictures.

As far as referring the book is concerned, yes, I will refer the book to others, for the reason that it contains a whole analysis along with the background of the problems that the country is surrounded by today. This book is a good read for the general reader.

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