Akbar Zaidi’s book on the relationship between the military, civil society and political parties in Pakistan is primarily a compilation of what he has written in the past on the impact of militarization on his country’s national life. The travails, trauma, dilemmas and follies that the newly formed country experienced in the aftermath of its Independence on August 14, 1947 has often been clinically dissected, extensively researched and written about. Even while focusing on these issues Akbar Zaidi’s book is perhaps the first publication written by an eminent Pakistani analyst and social scientist, which calls into question the popularly held belief that ‘liberals’ and ‘civil society’ are strong supporters and advocates of democracy and elected governments in the country . While Zaidi dwells extensively on the political ethos, social structure and economic policies that emerged after Field Marshal Ayub Khan took over as Pakistan’s first military ruler, he tends to gloss over the details of the follies of its Punjabi dominated military establishment, which led to the emergence of an independent Bangladesh in December 1971.
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