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 the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014, and is currently judging the Aesthetica Magazine new writing prize.
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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