A Blueprint for Reconstruction
General Jehangir Karamat
POWER AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN PAKISTAN by Anita M. Weiss Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2004, 312 pp., price not stated
May 2004, volume 28, No 5

The book is a collection of papers by well known authors who are acknowledged experts in their fields of interest. The editors, Anita Weiss and Zulfiqar Gilani, have done excellent editorial work to bring out the basic problems that beset Pakistani society. The focus of the book is squarely on the premise that uncertainty and social crises in society are the result of perceptions that power can be acquired by any means. The book attempts to discover the common features that give Pakistani society an identity and basis. This has been done through a historical survey of power and society in Pakistan. The effort has been to cut through the differences to identify and isolate distinguishing features. The book also has a futuristic facet because it moves from the historical perspective to an analysis of civil society before attempting to give a broad overview of a blueprint for the reconstruction of a stable and healthy society. Shahid Javed Burki in his essay on ‘Politics of Power and its Economic Imperatives’ focuses on economics as the driving force behind social change. His thesis is that there has to be a balance between politics and economics and the change in society.

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