In the groundbreaking work exploring the troubled relationship between Pakistan and the United States, The Battle for Pakistan untangles the decades-long, complex US-Pakistan relationship drawing on extensive travel to the region, policy interactions, and many on-the-record interviews with key leaders. Shuja Nawaz identifies the path forward, provided US and Pakistani leaders make the right choices for the longer term.
On Monday, October 28th, South Asia Center Distinguished Fellow Shuja Nawaz held a book release and discussion of his new work, The Battle for Pakistan, with the host of NPR’s Morning Edition, Steve Inskeep. The event covered a variety of topics including the future of civil-military relations in Pakistan, consolidation of its democratic institutions, changing relations with the United States, the trajectory of Pakistan’s economy and the future of Pakistani development efforts.
The Atlantic Council’s Executive Vice President Damon Wilson led the event with introductions, followed by Shuja Nawaz’s own introductory remarks, which highlighted The Battle for Pakistan as a greatly updated continuation of Mr. Nawaz’s previous book on Pakistan, Crossed Swords.
Mr. Nawaz expressed his gratitude to those who agreed to interview and speak on the record as part of his research for the book. He also emphasized the value of understanding the relationship between Pakistan and the United States as a difficult alliance brought together by seemingly mutual interests in Afghanistan. Mr. Nawaz finished his opening remarks by stating that pluralism is a strength for Pakistan, and that democracy is the one force that can ultimately bring the country together.
NPR’s Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep then joined Shuja Nawaz for a short discussion. Asked about the true nature of the power structure in Pakistan, Nawaz explained that civilian governments are on unequal footing with the military in part due to a lack of good governance.He also stated that once the economy stabilises, the civilian government will have an opportunity to prove itself as able and willing to govern effectively. Mr. Nawaz expressed a huge potential in economic cooperation between the United States and Pakistan as well.
The event concluded with a short Q&A session from the audience. Asked about how the Pakistan-US relationship can evolve beyond its existing security focus, Mr. Nawaz explained that “once you straighten out the economy, there’ll be opportunities not just for the US government, but for private investment also to occur… then this relationship will open up.” He ended by emphasizing the value of open discussion about Kashmir between India and Pakistan as the only way to bring sustainable peace and prosperity.