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Monday, Oct 25, 2021
Outlook.com

Striking A Flint Near Heaped Combustibles

M.J. Akbar brings new insight to Pakistan’s past, but fails to fully plumb its maddening present and possible future

Striking A Flint Near Heaped Combustibles
Prabhjot Singh Gill
Striking A Flint Near Heaped Combustibles
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The modern Indian political imagination can count many remarkable achievements to its credit—not least, the capacity to envisage a multi-religious and plural democracy. But one of its most spectacular and consequential failures has been its inability to imagine Pakistan: in the past, to foresee what made so many want it; in the present, to grasp its unrivalled capacity to make chronic crises its means of survival; and looking ahead, to assess its possible futures.

That failure of imagination and judgement continues. Even as Pakistan’s possible futures weigh upon our own, we seem content to outsource the problem to others, specifically the Americans: let them produce research, develop and prosecute policy. Our hope is that we can get away with minimum involvement—contain Pakistan, perhaps the problem will go away. It won’t. More urgently than ever, we need to understand better, to diversify policy options, and to create a repertoire of policies. Above all, we need to concentrate on what we should and can do if it...

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