Penguin £10.99 (566pp) £9.89 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Pakistan: A Hard Country, By Anatol Lieven
Arifa Akbar is literary editor of The Independent and i newspapers. She has worked at The Independent since 2001 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk in 2009. She was a judge for the Orwell Prize for books, 2013, and is currently a judge of the Fiction Uncovered Prize, 2014.
Friday 16 March 2012
Pakistan is here dissected part by part, from its birth in 1947 to its economic and legal infra-structure, its military, the ISI and its environmental threats.
Lieven, a professor of international relations and a former South Asia correspondent, provides a finely researched and forensic compendium. In it, he argues that far from any wider international preoccupations, Pakistan's real obsession remains its arch-rival and neighbour, India.
The central argument, for the West not to go in guns blazing, is a mature antidote to the neo-conservative "cut them adrift" policy. A near-failing state it may be, but its existence is essential for the region's stability. This is a penetrating, textured study.
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