Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Sartaj Aziz. Between Dreams and Realities: Some Milestones in Pakistan’s History. Karachi: Oxford University Press. 2009. Pak. Rs 595.00.

Author: Seemi Waheed

The geo-strategic location of a country gives it advantage or disadvantage in its relation with the comity of nations and addressing its domestic challenges. The vision, acumen and capacity of political leadership, however, determine the maximisation of advantages from geo-strategic location in attaining the national interests. Interplay of domestic political power, geo-strategic location and global power dynamics are aptly reflected in the political history of Pakistan as narrated in “Between Dreams and Realities”. “Between Dreams and Realities” is both an autobiography and dispassionate account of Pakistan’s chequered history as the author puts it “watched the political drama as ring side observer.” The author was actively engaged in roles, confronting formidable challenges to improve policy coordination and implementation. A sequenced political, economic, and foreign relations history of Pakistan is described illustrating turning points, milestones, and debacles in her existence as a country. The political scenario of Pakistan, marred by intermittent military takeovers, with disregard, and mutilation of the constitution, mainly served personal interests. The rulers, irrespective of whether elected or otherwise, conjoined survival of their rule with that of the country. Thereupon, usurpation of power is legitimised by engineered elections or putting in place pliable judiciary. The indiscipline in political parties, absence of vision, political inexperience, self-centered, and headlong political leaders, increased the vulnerability of parliament to complete its tenure. Weak organisation of political parties is, thus easily maneuverable to the wheeling, dealings, and gaming of ‘establishment’. This is amply visible in all military takeovers of elected governments, right from throwing of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s government to dissolution of Nawaz Sharif’s government in 1999.

Seemi Waheed