I have a more detailed review of Maleeha Lodhi’s edited volume Pakistan: Beyond ‘The Crisis State’ in Dawn’s Books & Authors: All is Well… or is it? I had briefly discussed it in my previous review essay, but this is special care:
Pakistan, as a subject of critical analysis, is ill-served when realities are ignored for the sake of policy. The need to resist a crude stereotype of “failed state” is clear and present but to go “beyond the crisis state”, we must also look seriously to history, to narratives other than the state or military and admit the harsh truths: The Pakistani military is just as fallible as its civilian regime, though the latter needs the explicit support of the population as a legitimate government. The state structure incorporates within it gross injustices towards the minorities — defined religiously, ethnically or culturally. Redressing these injustices — against the Ahmadis, the Christians, the Hindus, the Baloch, the Swatis — is just as vital to the nation-state as the need to prioritise health or education or commercial sectors. This volume is but a hampered beginning in this long process of a national soul-searching.