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Professor Kapur charts the continuous power struggles of Pakistan's ruling elites from independence in 1947 to the rise of Benazir Bhutto. He argues that the legacy of the British Empire, with its method of divide and rule', has made the chance of democracy succeeding in Pakistan slight. With rulers more interested in personal aggrandisement and maintaining a minority power base, Pakistan has suffered from a lack of forward-thinking politicians interested in uniting the country and the various ethnic factions. The army, with its links with the US government, has hindered any chance of real reform and progress. Islam has failed to address the internal structural divisions at the heart of Pakistan society. Neither is there a mass movement commanding enough support to bring about lasting change.
In this book Ashok Kapur shows how Pakistan's political problems are the result of anti-democratic intervention by the army; the colonial legacy of minority rule; geographical borders which reflect the administrative interests of British India and divided ethnic communities; a lack of social cohesion; no sense of nationhood; ethnic violence and rivalry; corruption, murder and political intrigue. With a historical and comparative approach, the policies and methods of Pakistan's leaders are analysed and the involvement of the army in political matters is shown. While the author is pessimistic about the chances for the success of democracy in Pakistan, he holds out the hope that ordinary Pakistanis will be attracted by the democratic pluralism and broad-based political activity currently finding voice in much of Eastern Europe and the Third World, and so transform Pakistan into a nation in spirit as well as in name.