Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Required reading: Pakistan

Pervez Musharraf is back in Pakistan. But can he really pull off a stunning political comeback?

After five years of self-imposed exile, Pervez Musharraf is back in his native country. He intends to stand in general elections scheduled for May. But he faces charges of conspiracy to murder and illegal detention of judges, and currently remains free only under the terms of a protective bail arranged before his arrival.

So will the former four-star general shock the world by once again assuming the presidency of Pakistan? And why does Musharraf inspire fierce loyalty among some of this countrymen and bitter hatred among others? Time to turn to the books.

First, turn to Ian Talbot's definitive Pakistan: A Modern History to learn more about the bloodless military coup that swept Musharraf to power in 1999, when, on October 12, then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif tried to prevent a flight carrying Musharraf (then a prominent general critical of military strategy) from landing in Pakistan. The army response was rapid: Sharif was placed under house arrest, the airport was encircled and Musharraf was de facto leader of Pakistan that same day.

Musharraf soon moved to consolidate his power, banning all political rallies in 2000. But his support for the US war drew the ire of many of his countrymen. Read Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America, and the Future of the Global Jihad for a look at the intricate dance of power, mistrust and mutual reliance that exists between the two countries.

But Musharraf claimed that his cooperation came only after George W Bush threatened to bomb Pakistan "back to the stone age". Indeed, read Musharraf's 2006 part-memoir, part-propaganda tool In the Line of Fire for his first-hand account of his presidency up to that time.

So what does the future hold for Pakistan, a country still rocked by the 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the 2011 US mission to kill Osama bin Laden? Pakistan: A Hard Country is an acclaimed new analysis by the academic Anatol Lieven. While western leaders have long understood Pakistan's strategic importance, Lieven argues, they are yet to understand the inherent contradictions that will shape its future.

twitter Follow us @LifeNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Hajer Almosleh, the winner of the last year's short story competition, at her home in Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National

Get involved with The National’s short-story competition

Writers have two weeks to craft a winning submission, under the title and theme "The Turning Point".

 It is believed that the desert-like planet of Tatooine is being recreated for Star Wars: Episode VII. Could that be where filming in the UAE comes in? Courtesy Lucasfilms

Could the force be with us? The search for Star Wars truth

On the hunt for the Star Wars: Episode VII set, which a growing number of people are sure is in Abu Dhabi, but no one can seem to find.

 With an estimated 18,000 comic and film fans having already paid a visit to this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con, organisers are hopeful they will have surpassed last year total, of 21,000, by its close. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai

Dubai's World Trade Center was awash with people visiting this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con. Here's some of our best pictures.

 Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, presents Quincy Jones with the Abu Dhabi Festival Award as the Admaf founder Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo applauds. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festival.

A candid talk with Quincy Jones about the UAE, Lil Wayne and the Abu Dhabi Festival award

The Abu Dhabi Festival honoree Quincy Jones discusses his legendary career as a music producer, the return of Dubai Music Week and why he can’t handle the rapper Lil Wayne.

 Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrive at Wellington Military Terminal on an RNZAF 757 from Sydney on April 7, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

In pictures: Will and Kate visit Australia and New Zealand

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge are on a tour Down Under for three weeks.

 A protester gives a victory sign during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo in November 2011. Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Street life: humanity’s future depends on ability to negotiate and sustain public space

Negotiating our ever more crowded cities and maintaining vibrant public spaces are among the major challenges facing humanity in the coming decades.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National