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India-Pakistan Relations and Pakistan


I.P. Khosla

DIVIDED BY DEMOCRACY
By Meghnad Desai and Aitaz Ahsan. Series editor David Page
Roli Books, New Delhi, 2005, pp. 144, Rs. 295.00

INDO-PAK CONFLICTS, RIPE TO RESOLVE?
By Rizwan Zeb and Suba Chandran
Manohar Publication, New Delhi, 2005, pp. 116, Rs. 250.00

PAKISTAN, DEMOCRACY, DEVELOPMENT AND SECURITY ISSUES
Edited by Veena Kukreja and M.P. Singh
Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2005, pp. 301, Rs. 360.00

POLITICS OF ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN PAKISTAN
By Savita Pande
Shipra Publications, Delhi, 2005, pp. 199, Rs. 395.00

THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PAKISTAN
Chief Editor Hafeez Malik and Yuri V. Gankovsky
Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2006, pp. 432, Rs. 995.00

VOLUME XXX NUMBER 5 May 2006

There are two reasons for the recent upsurge in interest in India- Pakistan relations and the future of Pakistan. One is the nuclear tests of May 1998, followed shortly thereafter by the dizzying see-saw of the Lahore agreement, which seemed to establish an unusual bonhomie in the bilateral relationship, then a few months later the Kargil conflict with the shadow of nuclear war hanging over it. Then came the Agra summit and, again within months, the buildup along the border which again seemed to threaten war. For almost half a decade this see-saw left even seasoned observers of the relationship wondering whether to expect, just around the corner, a handshake or a set-to.   The second reason is linked. Without Pakistani support of the Taliban government in Afghanistan there could have been no 9/11. And now there is the rise of sectarianism and religious intolerance in parts of both Pakistan and Afghanistan, so one has to wonder precisely in which direction the present tendencies will lead, without, of course, underplaying the importance of the positive trends like the curbs on cross-border and cross-LOC movement in Kashmir. Of the five books under review two deal with questions pertaining to India-Pakistan relations while the other three are about where Pakistan is going.   Meghnad Desai and Aitzaz Ahsan have written a section each in this second book of the Cross Border Talks series, which seeks to improve understanding of the issues that divide India and Pakistan. The attempt by the authors is to understand why India has succeeded in establishing democracy and why Pakistan has found it more difficult. The importance of this is presumably based on the Kantian or liberal argument, which is not specified as such anywhere in the book, that democracies are more peaceful. Desai argues that Indian democracy owed much to the character of one man – Jawaharlal Nehru – and of the party he led, so that the constitution, which had built-in autocratic tendencies, instead took democratic roots during the seventeen years he was Prime Minister. Thereafter, two forces saved it: that the judiciary was by tradition and practice independent; and, somewhat surprisingly, that the fissiparous tendency of the Congress party, typical of Indian society, prevented any one group or leader being able to assert autocratic rule. So he is able to argue both ways: that the continuation of one leader prevented autocracy; and that the inability of one leader to emerge prevented ...


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