This book suggests that Pakistan has been stuck in a transition characterized by the simultaneous existence of particularistic- emotional societal features alongside rational-democratic values. The country’s governing elite could have led the society to cross the transition threshold through appropriate socio-political reforms, but being itself the product of existing social structures, it possesses both an authoritarian inclination as well as a belief in the legitimacy of a rational-democratic order. It is thus constrained by the paradox of practicing authoritarianism while seeking legitimacy in democratic terms. Thus, the governing elite neither adopt consistent coercion nor complete accommodation. The task of adjustment between irreconcilable features compels adoption of a framework of decision-making which accounts only for the immediate changing context. This ad hoc governance keeps the state oscillating between the poles of being an effective, resilient state or a failed state. This book is must read for those wishing to understand the governance perspective in Pakistan underlined by this paradigm.
Sagheer Ahmad Khan is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan. He has previously served as a visiting Lecturer and Research Assistant (in a HEC funded research project) in the department of Politics & IR at the International Islamic University, Islamabad.