- What’s re­ally wrong with Pak­istan?

Southasia - - CONTENTS - Re­viewed By Javed An­sari

What’s wrong with Pak­istan? A very per­ti­nent ques­tion to ask but is there a ready an­swer? Ap­par­ently not. And even Babar Ayaz’s re­cent book on the sub­ject, while at­tempt­ing to find an an­swer, fails to do so.

Pak­istan is a coun­try gone se­ri­ously wrong. It must have done some­thing right though or why does it still man­age to sur­vive on the world map as a sov­er­eign state 66 years af­ter its birth? It is only a pity that the orig­i­nal state of Pak­istan was dis­mem­bered just 34 years down the line and what we have to­day is only half of what we orig­i­nally started with.

So what’s wrong with Pak­istan? Lots, to say the least. To be­gin with, the coun­try is still find­ing its bear­ings while other much younger states have moved on in the race to progress and pros­per­ity and are now bask­ing in the sun­light of suc­cess. It is highly ap­pre­cia­ble that Babar Ayaz, a jour­nal­ist-turned-PR man, has picked up his pen to make an ef­fort and an­swer the mil­lion-dol­lar ques­tion. But like many oth­ers be­fore him, who may not have given a sim­i­lar ti­tle to their ef­forts, he too finds him­self bogged down in a mire of con­fu­sion and chaos be­cause he also con­cludes the book with a ques­tion.

It is, in fact, all a mat­ter of ques­tions. Through 347 pages and 34 chap­ters, a long and lim­ber­ing ar­gu­ment at­tempts to an­a­lyse what is wrong with Pak­istan, what is the ge­n­e­sis of th­ese wrongs and how th­ese wrongs can be righted. And, at the end of it all, the orig­i­nal ques­tion still re­mains unan­swered.

From what ails Pak­istan ge­net­i­cally to Zia’s con­tro­ver­sial laws and then the ques­tion “Has democ­racy de­liv­ered in Pak­istan?”, the Babar Ayaz quest cov­ers the whole spec­trum but there is no easy an­swer in sight. He seems to be go­ing round in cir­cles and com­ing ev­ery time to the same ques­tion: Is Pak­istan a failed coun­try? In re­ply­ing to the ques­tion, he does come up with a mud­dle of an­swers but there is no co­her­ence and the con­fu­sion con­tin­ues.

The book is quite a labour of love and, de­spite his other pro­fes­sional obli­ga­tions, both as a jour­nal­ist and as a PR pro­fes­sional, Babar Ayaz must be lauded for tak­ing out the time to write the book in the first place and for touch­ing on so many as­pects of this trou­bled land. He treats some key is­sues rather de­ri­sively but is quite in­ci­sive in the anal­y­sis of other ills that plague the coun­try. He also opens new win­dows on old re­al­i­ties. His take on the Pak­istan Army, for ex­am­ple, is that it is con­nected with sev­eral of the ji­hadi or­ga­ni­za­tions which still com­ply with the norms set by it but he goes on to state fur­ther on that the very pur­pose of sup­port­ing the Tal­iban by the Pak­istani mil­i­tary es­tab­lish­ment was its peren­nial de­sire to counter the In­dian in­flu­ence in Afghanistan.

The ac­count is a good read any­time be­cause, in six co­gently con­ceived parts, it takes you through the me­ta­mor­pho­sis of Pak­istan as an evolv­ing state that has con­tin­ued to fight its own in­ner bat­tles and has come out vic­to­ri­ous de­spite all its faults.

As to the ques­tion, “What’s wrong with Pak­istan?” - no one re­ally knows!

Ti­tle: Author: Pub­lisher: Pages: Price: ISBN: What’s wrong with Pak­istan? Babar Ayaz Hay House In­dia 347, Hard­back PKR 995 9789381431597

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.