Pakistan Under Siege: Extremism, Society, and the State

Madiha Afzal (Author)

Product Details

Brookings Institution Press
Publish Date
January 02, 2018
6.0 X 0.4 X 8.9 inches | 0.6 pounds
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About the Author

Madiha Afzal is a David M. Rubenstein Fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. Her research lies at the intersection of political economy, development, and security, with a focus on Pakistan. She previously worked as an assistant professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, College Park. She holds a PhD in Economics from Yale University.


Madiha Afzal has pulled off the rare feat of writing a well-balanced and thoughtful account of extremism in Pakistan, describing its roots and also the extent of its influence, and offering some ideas about how Pakistan can move forward to a more tolerant future.--Peter Bergen, author of United States of Jihad: Investigating America's Homegrown Terrorists

This is an important book, bringing to a foreign audience a nuanced understanding of Pakistan's challenges: how Islamization has affected society in recent decades and how institutions have responded. It's a tough and often disheartening story. Yet with diligent research and an open mind, Madiha Afzal leads us past stereotypes of violent extremists and cynical elites. She demonstrates that there is indeed a vital center in Pakistani society--and that this center can be the basis for the stability and prosperity that Pakistan could enjoy.--Cameron Munter, President, East-West Institute, and former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan (2010-12)

Afzal explores the ways in which Pakistan's deep connections to the Islamic faith and its obsession with India shape the views and opinions of its citizens. Unlike books on similar topics, Afzal's coverage of the military, political parties (typically Islamist in nature), and civilian government introduces readers to an important side of Pakistan. Recommended.--CHOICE

A valuable guide to understanding some of the major problems and challenges facing Pakistani society and the measures required to resolve them.--Joshua Sinai, Perspectives on Terrorism

Pakistan Under Siege: Extremism, Society, and the State, by the young academic Madiha Afzal, is a remarkably clear, concise, and accessible attempt to dismantle assumptions common among Westerners about public opinion in Pakistan. . . Afzal not only gives the lie to Western stereotypes about the prevalence of extremist beliefs in Muslim countries; she also looks closely and critically at the ways in which the Pakistani government has encouraged the country's militarization and what she refers to as its "Islamization."--Ahmed Rashid, The New York Review of Books

"Afzal's multi-layered approach to explaining Pakistan makes it sound like a normal country--almost. The book details the rise of religious extremism and explains how the state has been both complicit in extremist violence and victimized by it. . . . Afzal's book offers a useful survey of the many pressures--cultural, religious, economic--that add to social and political instability in Pakistan."--Mohammed Hanif, Foreign Affairs

"Pakistan Under Siege is fascinating, and a tremendously valuable contribution to the literature."--Teresita C. Schaffer, Survival