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Why is Pakistan the Way it is?


Ayesha Siddiqa

MAGNIFICENT DELUSIONS: PAKISTAN, THE UNITED STATES, AND AN EPIC HISTORY OF MISUNDERSTANDING
By Husain Haqqani
Public Affairs, US, 2013, pp. 432, $20.82

VOLUME XXXVIII NUMBER 2 February 2014

If and when foreign observers of Pakistan want to discover more about how the country behaves as it does, they can get some answers from two books published in 2013: Husain Haqqani’s Magnificent Delusions:Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding and Francesca Marino’s Apocalypse Pakistan: An Anatomy of the World’s Most Dangerous Nation (See review on p.16-17). The potential readers for both books are foreign audience that does not understand Pakistan and would like to get information on some critical issues. Another commonality pertains to the authors as Pakistan’s military establishment despises both Haqqani and Marino. The Pakistan Army considers Husain Haqqani as a traitor who went against them. Marino is an Italian journalist who was banned from Pakistan for unexplained reasons but most possibly her defence of the Baluch cause.   Haqqani’s book tells a story that flows through the veins of many Pakistanis. Most people would joke about the country as being one which runs with the help of three As—America, Army and Allah. The Pakistani state cannot live with the US and it cannot live without it either. It is a relationship, which has remained rocky forever, and many find akin to a bad marriage. Husain Haqqani has managed to bring together a lot of archival material based on conversations of various Pakistani leaders starting from the founding father Mohammad Ali Jinnah to Asif Ali Zardari to draw out a tricky bilateral linkage. If we must use the marriage metaphor then, according to Haqqani’s narrative, Pakistan appears like a man in a polygamous relationship with several women at a time. Yet, it would like to go back to the first wife after the day is over. The only question worth figuring out is if this original spouse or first wife (in Pakistan’s case) is the United States of America or Saudi Arabia.   However, let’s forget the Middle East for a moment and concentrate on the US with whom every leader has wanted to have a fruitful relationship. It all began with Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who explained to an American journalist in one of his last interviews his desire to have a strategic linkage with Washington. The idea even in 1947/48 was to benefit from Pakistan’s strategic location bordering on both Central Asia and the Middle East. In Jinnah’s view, it was this location that ...


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