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"Pakistan: A Two-Speed Society, Destination Unclear"

Supporters of Pakistani religious party Sunni Tehreek chant slogans in favor of Mumtaz Qadri, alleged killer of Punjab governor Salman Taseer, and shower rose petals while waiting for him outside an Anti-Terrorist Court in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, 6 Jan 2011
AP Photo

"Pakistan: A Two-Speed Society, Destination Unclear"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

January 13, 2011

Author: Charles G. Cogan, Associate, International Security Program

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security


The first time I met Zia-ul-Haq was in the late 1970's, at a dinner party at the home of the Pakistani Military Attaché in Amman. Zia had been head of the Pak Military Mission in Jordan at the time of the Palestine Liberation Organization's revolt in Black September (1970) against King Hussein, and Zia was paying a return visit as President. He had an entourage of a half-dozen senior military officers with him, and they spent most of the evening off in a corner by themselves speaking in... English!

Yes indeed, Pakistan is a two-speed society. On the one hand there are the civil and military elites, the latter being mostly Punjabi's, the prized martial class of the period of the British Raj. On the other hand are the rest, notably the masses, first conditioned by the Third World "non-aligned" (and implicitly anti-American) rhetoric of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Then, when nationalist movements became discredited in the Arab and Muslim world, radical Islam, with its image of a future Islamist state in Pakistan, rose to replace nationalism as the rallying point, and the ideological beacon, for popular discontent....

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For Academic Citation:

Cogan, Dr. Charles G. "Pakistan: A Two-Speed Society, Destination Unclear." The Huffington Post, January 13, 2011.

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