The History of Pakistan

The History of Pakistan

The History of Pakistan

The History of Pakistan


In the course of a few years, Pakistan has assumed strategic importance on the world stage, acting as both a linchpin in the global war on terrorism and a "swing" state in the ideological conflict between democracy and dictatorship, and between Islamic and secular rule. How did this poor country come to occupy such a position in little more than half a century of existence? What are the historical precedents for its present course? And what can we learn from its past that can help us evaluate the prospects for its future?
This book presents a concise yet thorough account of this land whose past as a birthplace of civilization is as important to world history as is its pivotal place in contemporary geopolitics. Coverage includes the dramatic events, notable people, and special customs and traditions that have shaped this country. By illuminating the nation's past, this book gives students a detailed perspective of Pakistan today and enables them to intelligently consider how it might change in the future.


Since September 11, 2001, Pakistan has emerged as a pivotal front in the U.S. war on terrorism. Its very political destiny is distorted by the unfolding global struggle against al-Qaeda and other militants, such as the Taliban, who have found a home in Pakistan. With the exception of Iraq, the global confrontation against jihadists and their Taliban allies is playing itself out on the streets of Pakistan’s crowded urban centers and tribal areas more than in any other country.

From a U.S. perspective, Pakistan’s active participation in the fight against terrorism dwarfs everything else in importance, including human rights, socioeconomic equity, and democracy; like its other Arab and Muslim neighbors, Pakistan has become important for the wrong reasons.

A flood of publications and media commentary on Pakistan focuses almost exclusively on Pakistan’s commitment to the war on terrorism and the security of its nuclear arsenal. Little is being written or aired on the daily struggle of Pakistan’s impoverished population, the endemic corruption of its ruling elite, and the influential role played by the security forces. Little is being said about how America’s war on terrorism exacerbates internal tensions and cleavages in the country and deepens and widens the divide between religiously oriented activists and other social and political forces; it also provides the security apparatus with a powerful rationale to suspend constitutional checks and balances and marginalize civil society America’s war on terrorism could easily destabilize the country and turn it into a failed state.

But as James Wynbrandt shows in his incisive history, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan occupies a position of historic and strategic importance as a crossroads of religious and political ideologies that have influenced international events. Although Pakistan is a young nation, born after World War ii, Wynbrandt reconstructs the historical continuity of the Indian subcontinent as a cradle of spiritual awakening and intercivilizational fertilization between East and West; Pakistan stands at the center stage of world culture and politics. Before and after achieving independence in 1947, what is now Pakistan was and is a prize and participant in the Great Game of global power politics. More . . .

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