Both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif didn’t acquit themselves well in the “trial of democracy” from 1988 to 1993. They did worse confronting the “dilemma of democracy” from 1993-1999 – how an elected government can complete its five year term and also provide a level playing field to the “government-in-waiting” to turn the tables at the end of the period. In consequence, Pakistan was driven straight into the jaws of martial law in 1999.
This volume traces the rise and fall of the second Bhutto regime from 1993-96. It records how, through the good offices of the Establishment, she began on a conciliatory note with Nawaz Sharif by offering to nominate a consensus candidate (Wasim Sajjad) as President in exchange for jointly undoing the notorious Clause 58-2(B) of the 8th Constitutional Amendment which hung like the sword of Damocles over every prime minister. It tracks the negotiations to breaking point, compelling her to nominate her “own man”, Farooq Leghari, to the Presidency. It records Nawaz Shun cunning ways to drive a wedge between Leghari and Bhutto, which eventually led the former to use the 8th Amendment to sack the latter.
The major policy issues that preoccupied Benazir Bhutto in her second term were nuclear proliferation, MQM terrorism in Karachi and conflict in Kashmir. The book explains how the US applied economic and military sanctions to pressure Pakistan to cap, freeze and roll back its nuclear programme but failed to achieve its objective. It details how she successfully tackled and put down MQM terrorism through effective use of civil-military power. And it records how she teamed up with the military to promote jihad in India-Occupied Kashmir.
The book is about foul play by both Bhutto and Sharif; foreign policy blues; warlordism in Afghanistan; mythology of Mohajirism; nuclear policy; Mehrangate; General Mirza Aslam Beg’s “grand plan”; threat of an India-Pak nuclear war; journalists for sale; pains of privatization; Indo-Pak relations; doctrine of necessity; corruption and Surreygate. The analysis covers the mind of Benazir Bhutto, her Achilles heel and fatal flaws.
It is indispensable reading for the student of history who wishes to understand how and why democracy failed to take root in the 1990s. ISBN: 9789694026534 Publisher: VANGUARD BOOKS
Compared to post-invasion Iraq, Afghanistan seems a success story; but first impressions can be misleading. The country remains on a knife-edge, and the loss of momentum in its transition from the Taliban regime puts Afghanistan at grave risk of relapsing into dangerous insecurity.
Although many Afghans have contributed courageously to rescuing their country, and some key benchmarks have been achieved, Afghanistan continues to face severe difficulties. Elite political competition is fierce, and able ministehave been removed when deemed to be occupying too much of the limelight. President Hamid Karzai, while articulate and incorruptible, remains wedded to a politics of bargaining and networking that has seen unappetizing figures promoted to positions they have then abused. This has created space for the resurgence of the Taliban in the south, with Pakistani backing. The new Afghan National Army is proving too expensive to be locally sustainable, and the police force offeonly a pale shadow of what is needed. The predominance of opium in the economy poses the risk that Afghanistan could become a nacre-state, and on a range of human development indicatoit remains one of the world’s poorest countries, with popular frustration rising. While foreign governments have contributed large sums to reconstruction, too much money ahs gone to Western contractors, at the expense of local capacity.
It is not too late to turn things around, but time is running short. Only if the Afghan government re-focuses on the delivery of competent, clean and inclusive governance and the wider world ensures that its commitments match its rhetoric, is it at all likely that disaster can be avoided. ISBN: 1850658463 Publisher: C. HURST & CO
creative writing in the English language has been a part of the literary tradition of most former British colonies in Africa, the West Indies and South Asia for the last 150 years or so, but little critical attention was given to this writing till the mid ISBN: 9694023106 Publisher: VANGUARD BOOKS