Pakistan, a nation for only fifty-five years, has had a turbulent history. Ruled by the military for half its existence, it has seen three wars with India and the loss of much of its territory. The combination of political instability, deep-seated economic and social problems, and access to nuclear weapons has made it one of the most strategically sensitive countries in the world. The war in neighboring Afghanistan has placed it at the very center of global attention and projected its military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, onto the world stage.Musharraf has become the first Pakistani leader in thirty years to dare to confront the countrys Islamic extremists. But can he succeed in controlling the forces that helped create the Taliban in Afghanistan? In this riveting history of Pakistan from 1947 to the present, Bennett Jones describes the many fault lines in Pakistani society. While most Pakistanis have a moderate, tolerant vision of Islam, he argues, the countrys central institutions are so weak that the military regime may prove incapable of rescuing the failed state of Pakistan.

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