Key Issues Debated
Stephen P. Cohen
THE ARMED FORCES OF PAKISTAN by Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema Oxford University Press, 2004, 220 pp., Rs. 325.00
May 2004, volume 28, No 5

Pakistan is a state that appears to be in rapid movement, but has in fact changed very slowly. In the last few years it has become an overt nuclear weapons state, the army seized power for the fourth time in a coup, there was an ill-fated military adventure across the Line of Control at Kargil, the leadership signed up with the American-led (but ill-named) war on terrorism, and most recently Pakistan’s revered “father of the bomb,” Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan has been exposed as the organizer of a spectacular scheme to spread nuclear (and perhaps missile) technology around the world, arguably with the Pakistan government’s knowledge, if not its explicit approval.Yet, these coups, the alliances, and the military adventures—to say nothing of Pakistan’s domestic difficulties, notably its sectarian violence, have occurred within the context of a stable social-political order. Since the 1950s, right to the present day, Pakistan has been ruled by an oligarchic elite, colloquially known as the establishment.

Continue reading this review