Nevertheless he has managed to write a fine study of Pakistan’s political history, with particular emphasis on the historically symbiotic relationship between the Islamic cleric and the army leadership.
There are one or two glitches in his reasoning but nothing profound. I, for one, don’t buy his theory that Bhutto possibly walked into ‘a trap’ as a result of a glowing ISI memo that suggested that he would ‘sweep the polls’ in 1977.
Rather than write a lengthy review of Pakistan: Between Mosque And Military , here is a pertinent excerpt from one already published in the Wall Street Journal:
After each of Pakistan's many coups, Mr. Haqqani shows, the Pakistani military has "adopted Islamic ideology" to fashion itself as the guardian of the nation and its core beliefs. In doing so it has repeatedly co-opted Islamist organizations--notably the Jamaat-e-Islami--for cover and support. The military has also followed a policy of divide and rule, patronizing existing Islamist groups while seeding new ones that might rival them.
Mr. Haqqani marshals a wealth of evidence to document such claims. He describes in detail the mosque-military alliance during Pakistan's first two military regimes--that of Field Marshall Ayub Khan (1958-69) and Gen. Yahya Khan (1969-71), both generally regarded as secular, whiskey-swilling good old boys. He thus shows that Pakistan's creeping Islamization predates the rule of Gen. Zia ul-Haq (1977-88), the man widely held responsible for giving Islam a major role in all aspects of Pakistani life. Gen. Zia, it turns out, only tightened an alliance that already existed.
Mr. Haqqani argues that, over the past two decades, Pakistan's army has fueled the passions of some of the country's most extreme radicals. Bankrolling these groups has served the strategic purpose of rendering the military desirable by contrast. International observers--not least the U.S. State Department--thus conclude that the military is necessary for Pakistan's stability. The shadowy Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) has played an especially critical role in this game.
As a 1990 ISI report on the future of U.S.-Pakistan relations concluded: "It was important to maintain the impression of widespread anti-U.S. sentiment in Pakistani society, which could be assured by periodic demonstrations by Islamists. This would create sympathy for Pakistani military and intelligence officials among their US counterparts." Flash forward to 2005: Gen Musharraf's regime bans the protest rallies of journalists, feminists and members of the Pakistan People's Party, headed by former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Meanwhile, Islamists manage to hold anti-American "million man marches" throughout the country. How little times have changed.
.... What Mr. Haqqani shows is that a Manichean dichotomy--army good, Islamists bad--obscures the partnership between the two. A better way of combating Islamic radicalism, Mr. Haqqani argues, is to strengthen the very democratic forces that the military abhors.