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A Pot-pourri

Kalim Bahadur

By Brigadier A.R. Siddiqi
Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2004, pp. xv 260, Rs. 395.00

Edited by Craig Baxter
Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2004, pp. viii 244, Rs. 475.00

By Mohammad Khan Khattak . Edited with a foreword by James W. Spain.
Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2004, pp. xv 271, Rs. 395.00

By Shaukat Raza Mirza
Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2005, pp. xxxvii 224, Rs. 395.00

By S.G. Kashikar
India First Foundation, New Delhi, 2004, pp. 148, Rs. 250.00

VOLUME XXIX NUMBER 12 December 2005

Brigadier Siddiqi was the Chief of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) and press advisor to the president and chief martial law administrator during the East Pakistan crisis which led to the 1971 India-Pakistan war and the emergence of independent Bangladesh. He had a ring side seat to the events in some of which he himself was a participant. Many memoirs by military officers both Indian and Pakistan about the historic events have already been published including the famous report by the Hamoodur Rahman Commission appointed by the Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the memoirs by Siddiq Salik who was Public Relations Officer of the Pakistan army. Siddiqi thus begins his story from the last days of the Ayub regime in late 1969 when Ayub was forced to resign and hand over power to General Yahya Khan. The election conducted under General Yahya Khan in late 1970 was the first ever and also relatively free and fair. This was mainly because the military leadership was convinced that no party would be able to secure absolute majority and in a hung house both the Pakistan Peoples Party leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the Awami League Sheikh Mujibur Rahman would be forced to compromise in which the final arbiter in the formation of the government would be the military. Both General Yahya Khan and Bhutto wanted to prevent Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from forming the government which was the mandate given by the people. General Yahya Khan had planned to unleash military action against the Bengali people to deprive them of their rights. The bloodshed and massacre inflicted on the people of East Pakistan led to the division of the country. Siddiqi has given a graphic picture of the factionalism and intrigues that marked the  military regime during the last days of the East Pakistan crisis and civil war. According to him it was self imposed war by a decrepit regime.      Pakistan on the Brink is a collection of articles edited by Craig Baxter  comprising studies on Pakistan’s major foreign policy issues and domestic problems, covered by articles on the polls in 2002, on economic challenges, the local self governments, education, and fifty-five years of archeological research in the country.  Devin T. Hagerty in his article, ‘The United States-Pakistan Entente: Third Time’s a Charm?,’  asks the question whether September 11, 2001 marks the  beginning of a sustainable friendship between Islamabad and Washington or is it only the ...

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