The Nine Lives of Pakistan: Dispatches from a Divided Nation

October 31, 2020
The Nine Lives of Pakistan: Dispatches from a Divided Nation

With its reputation for volatility, brutality and radical Islam,Pakistan's demise has been regularly predicted. But things rarelyturn out as expected, as renowned journalist Declan Walsh knowswell. Over a decade covering the country, his travels took him fromthe raucous port of Karachi to the gilded salons of Lahore to thelawless frontier of Waziristan, encountering Pakistanis whose livesoffer a compelling portrait of this land of contradictions.He meets a crusading lawyer who risks her life to fight forsociety's most marginalised, taking on everyone including thepowerful military establishment; an imperious chieftain spoutingpoetry at his desert fort; a roguish politician waging a mini-waragainst the Taliban; and a charismatic business tycoon who movesinto politics and seems to be riding high – till he takes up thewrong cause. Lastly, Walsh meets a spy whose orders once involvedfollowing him, and who might finally be able to answer the questionthat haunts him: why the Pakistanis suddenly expelled him fromtheir country. Intimate and complex, unravelling the many mysteriesof state and religion, this formidable book offers an arrestingaccount of life in a country that, often as not, seems to be at warwith itself.