Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 2008 - History - 655 pages
Pakistan and its army are inseparable entities. For most of its life as an independent state, Pakistan has been under direct or indirect army rule, while pursuing an elusive quest for nationhood. Pakistan has also been an important ally of the United States, during the Cold War, the Afghan Waragainst the Soviet Union, and more recently, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States of 2001, in the 'War on Terror'. The US-Pakistan relationship is a long one and often filled with mutual distrust on both sides. It has also provoked much street unrest within Pakistan, a countryfacing a hostile larger neighbour, India, and wracked by internal wars and insurrections, pitting linguistic, ethnic, and religious groups against each other and the state.Yet, Pakistan remains a key to the future stability and growth of Central Asia, South Asia, and the Gulf region, as a major Muslim country, armed with nuclear weapons, and with a growing and predominantly youthful population of some 160 million. Recently, it has seen the emergence of heavily armedJihadi groups, bent upon imposing their own view of Islamic Law on a Pakistani population that is largely moderate but silent. These uprisings have pitted the Jihadis and their Al Qaeda associates against the army, breaking a relationship between the Mullahs and the Military that was born during theregime of General Ziaul Haq in the 1980s and sustained by Pakistan's support of the Kashmiri uprising against India through the army's Jihadi surrogates. Pakistan has also witnessed proxy wars between Shia and Sunni extremists, financed by local and foreign sources. Many fear that an undemocraticPakistan fighting its many internal wars may become a 'failed state', with dire consequences for the volatile and strategic region of the world in which it resides.The Pakistan army is at the centre of this maelstrom, with President Pervez Musharraf, who has been ruling since 1999 after a coup d'etat against an elected prime minister, still wearing his uniform as the Chief of Army Staff. Regardless of whether he stays or goes, the role and nature of thePakistan army remains key to Pakistan's future.Will it continue to intrude into national politics? Or will a democratic system emerge and be sustained by the politicians, many of whom have been too keen in the past to bring in the army into managing the state. Will the conflict between the constitutional authority of the state and the coercivepower of the military ever end? Or will an eventually unstable and Islamist-controlled army contribute to the collapse of the current Pakistani state and change its relationship with the West?Based on 30 years of research and analysis, Shuja Nawaz, who has ancient military ties and whose brother, General Asif Nawaz, was army chief over 1991-93, delves into these and other questions. This book is a profound, multi-layered, and historical analysis of the nature and role of the Pakistanarmy in the country's polity as well as its turbulent relationship with the United States. Nawaz examines the army and Pakistan in both peace and war. Using many hitherto unpublished materials from the archives of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the General Headquarters of the Pakistanarmy, as well as interviews with key military and political figures in Pakistan and the United States, he sheds light not only on the Pakistan army and its US connections but also on Pakistan as a key Muslim country in one of the world's toughest neighbourhoods. In doing so, he lays bare key factsabout Pakistan's numerous wars with India and its many rounds of political musical chairs, as well as the Kargil conflict of 1998. He then draws lessons from this history that may help Pakistan end its wars within and create a stabler political entity. This book takes you behind theheadlines.

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User Review  - danoomistmatiste - LibraryThing

This country had the markings of a failed state right from the start. Midwifed by England and nurtured since then by the US, the country has never been able to get out of the rut it has dug itself and ... Read full review

wow at last the facts

User Review  - shahid nawaz janjua - Borders

Excellent portrait of a country in the middle of the unfolding drama in south east Asia. When, why,who, and how it all started and where it will take us all. Most comprehensive facts about Pakistan ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)


SHUJA NAWAZ was a newscaster and current affairs producer with Pakistan Television from 1967 to 1972. He covered the 1971 war with India on the Western front. A graduate of Gordon College, Rawalpindi and the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University, he has worked for The New York Times and the World Health Organization, and as a Division Chief at the International Monetary Fund and as a Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency. He has also been Editor of Finance & Development, the multilingual quarterly of the IMF and the World Bank, and has written and spoken widely on military and politico-economic issues. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

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