ATP Reads: Your Favorite Books on Pakistan

Posted on January 26, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Books
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Adil Najam

We at ATP like books. Over the last many months we have featured and discussed a number of books that relate to Pakistan in various ways.

In the Name of HonorIn the Line of FireA Mighty HeartCharlie Wilson's WarShameful FlightFriends not MastersThe Sole SpokesmanPakistans DriftJinnah by WolpertGrieving ShiasJehlum: City of VitastaEdhiPortrait of a Giving CommunityBetween Mosque and MilitaryEqbal AhmedThree Cups of Tea

I must confess that I had always hoped that we would talk more about books than we have. I hope we will be able to do so in the future. As a step towards that goal, we would like to invite our readers to share with us your suggestions of books on Pakistan that are worth reading.

This is not a popularity contest. We have no awards to give. We merely want to collate a list of books on Pakistan that people consider to be interesting reads. Specially those that you would consider recommending to others for whatever reason.

We have only two criteria:

  • First, that the books you suggest must be about Pakistan, and significantly so. We, of course, realize that many Pakistanis read many books that are not about Pakistan, but the focus of this blog is not only on ‘All’ Things Pakistan, but also ‘Only’ things about Pakistan.
  • Second, for the purpose of this first exercise please restrict your suggestions to books in the English language. This is a pragmatic, and not an ideological, criteria. The universe of books in Urdu is much larger – especially when one includes works of fiction and poetry – and hopefully we will have a separate exercise on those. For now, we wish to start small by focusing only on English language books.

The plan right now is to make this post and list a standing feature and to keep adding to it as readers share their suggestions and ideas. Hopefully this will be a useful service to those interested in Pakistan and Pakistaniat.

138 Comments on “ATP Reads: Your Favorite Books on Pakistan”

  1. A. says:
    March 5th, 2007 9:15 am

    Speeches of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, 1947-1948, Oxford University Press (may only be available in Pakistan).

    “From Purdah to Parliament” by Shaista Suhrawardy (available at Amazon).

    Michael Palin has written a travelogue and a companion picture book (coffee table worthy) called “Himalaya” and “Inside Himalaya”. (Available at Amazon.)

    A new book that’s out: “City of Sin & Splendour: Writings on Lahore” (at Amazon).

    Are you including fiction?

  2. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    March 5th, 2007 9:16 am

    Lahore: The City Within by Samina Quraeshi with an essay by Annemarie Schimmel.

    Published by Concept Media, Private, Limited.
    1 Grange Road, #05-11/12 Orchard Building
    Singapore 0923
    First printing: September 1088

  3. Samdani says:
    March 5th, 2007 9:57 am

    Nice effort. But your assumption seems to be that we Pakistanis actually READ books. I am not sure they do. Many, in fact, talk about books as if they know everything in it because they know a title and who wrote it!

  4. The Pakistanian says:
    March 5th, 2007 10:03 am

    A Journey to Disillusionment by Sherbaz Khan Mazari. Perhaps a little biased but a great book to read about the post partition history of Pakistan.

  5. Samdani says:
    March 5th, 2007 10:10 am

    By the way, its already up on your list but I recently finished Charlie Wilson’s War. An extremely gripping story that was more captivating even than any novel. A must read.

  6. Jamshed Nazar says:
    March 5th, 2007 10:12 am

    I am a bit surprised trying to recall the good books that I have read about Pakistan. This is probably due to not giving much time to reading in the last few years.

    However, the few books that I liked,

    - Stanley Wolpert’s Jinnah of Pakistan

    - Sadeeq Saliq’s “Mien ney Dhaka dubtey dekha” translated to english, I think or was it origionally written in english?

    - Ayesha Jalal’s book providing an analytic thesis on Pakistan / forgot the name of the book

    - A book on ISI operations in afghanistan and russia / Written by Brig Yousuf ?? / ex ISI. forgot the name of the book

    - Journey through Pakistan – a collection of photography about the land and people of pakistan – author?

    - Emma Duncan / Christina Lambs books on pakistani society – forgot the names of the books

    It took me a bit of time out of high school to figure out all the rubish taught in school in the name of Pakistan history. Even after that, I find that there is so much nonsense written, specially in Urdu, about what Pakistan is / should be / would be – that atleast I lost interest reading such books.

    I did buy Musharaf’s book with a lot of interest. It is sure interesting, but could have been more creidble if Musharaf had written himself & minus the glowing tributes / self righteous comments. By the middle of the book, it is suspiciously similar to Ayub’s Friends not masters!

    Sorry for my limited contribution on this topic Adil.


  7. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    March 5th, 2007 10:18 am

    “Nice effort. But your assumption seems to be that we Pakistanis actually READ books. I am not sure they do. Many, in fact, talk about books as if they know everything in it because they know a title and who wrote it!”

    Now come on Samdani. Many of us actually do buy and read books. Some of us even write books. I wish more do so but that will come with education. Help our Young to be educated and encourage them to read. They will. Just like you and I do. I even know few Pakistani “medicine men” here in America who have read a book or two about Pakistan. Have hope.

  8. Samdani says:
    March 5th, 2007 10:27 am

    [quote comment="36569"]- Ayesha Jalal’s book providing an analytic thesis on Pakistan / forgot the name of the book[/quote]

    The book you mention by Ayesha Jalal is called THE SOLE SPOKESMAN, its up there in the list of titles above.

  9. Arsalan Ali says:
    March 5th, 2007 11:22 am

    BY Stephen P. Cohen

    Hardcover: 367 pages
    Publisher: Brookings Institution Press (September 2004)
    Language: English

    A great book, which gives a thorough and up to date account of Pakistan.It identifies many of the root causes of the problems our country faces today.The central theme is contained in the title of the book: The Idea of Pakistan. He describes how the idea originated, how it developed and crystallised, and the challenges that Pakistan faces today.The book ends with a presentation on the various possible scenarios / paths that Pakistan could take.Some of which are pretty scary, and possibly signs of things to come.

  10. March 5th, 2007 12:35 pm

    Taboo:The Hidden Culture of a Red Light Area by Fouzia Saeed.

    [Amazon Review]
    Book Description
    This book takes you on a journey of discovery into the famous red light district of Shahi Mohalla in Lahore. The author tells her story through the lives of the people linked to the Shahi Mohalla: the prostitutes with their pimps, managers and customers, as well as the musicians and others. Through their stories, the book also highlights the contributions that these people have made to the world of the performing arts. Pakistani society has created and reinforced many myths to explain why prostitution has nothing to do with ‘nice people’. These myths put all the blame on ‘immoral’ women who are responsible for tricking ‘honest’ men into sinful acts. Pakistani society has also strongly discouraged anyone from questioning these myths. By exposing the myths about prostitution, the book helps to eradicate a blind spot in our understanding of power relations experienced by all women throughout Pakistani society.

    About the Author
    Fouzia Saeed, with a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Minnesota, has spent the past twelve years in positions related to the task of engendering social change in Pakistan, with organizations like National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, Aga Khan Foundation, and UNDP, Pakistan. She was a founder of the first private organization in Pakistan providing direct services to women in psychological crises, especially those related to rape and domestic violence.
    [/Amazon Review]

  11. Farrukh says:
    March 5th, 2007 12:39 pm

    @Arsalan Ali

    My reaction to Stephen Cohen’s book was not as positive as yours. My reaction to his ‘Idea of Pakistan’ was that he has no idea about Pakistan. Having read his earlier work, I have never been very impressed by him.

    The book that I have not yet read but recently bougth is Shameful Flight by Stanley Wolpert, whose earlier books on Jinnah, Bhotto and Gandhi I greatly admire. Nice to see it in teh list above and am planning to read it soon.

  12. Aqil Sajjad says:
    March 5th, 2007 1:37 pm

    These books are certainly worth checking. However, in addition to the above, it is also very important to read some material on the issues of Pakistan’s socio-economic development, a topic that is badly missing in the whole list.

    Here are a few suggestions.

    1. Pakistan: Fifty Years of Nationhood.
    Shahid Javed Burki, Westview Press, 1999

    2. Pakistan’s Economic and Social Development: The Domestic, Regional and Global Context
    by S. Akbar Zaidi, 2004

    3. Issues in Pakistan’s Economy
    by S. Akbar Zaidi, 1999

    4. The New Development Paradigm: Papers on Institutions, Ngos, Gender and Local Government.
    by S. Akbar Zaidi

    5. Pakistan : The Economy of an Elitist State
    Ishrat Husain

    The wikipedia page on Pakistan’s economy also has a list of books:

  13. king_faisal says:
    March 5th, 2007 1:46 pm

    my favourite book on pakistan is a work of fiction – shame by rushdie published in early 80′s. written in typical rushdie style, the book is a very unique and uncomfortable take on pakistan and deals a lot with life under zia. shame was written when rushdie used to be good i.e. before satanic verses. i used to think rushdie was completely indian but apparently his family moved to pakistan and rushdie worked for radio pakistan for a short while in early 70′s. rushdie himself has never linked himself with pak which is understandable because in gora circles, india is more fashionable than pakistan is and indianess helps to sell more books. i wonder if rushdie’s family still resides in pakistan? i think his sister might still be there.

    waisay i also wonder why pakistanis would read books on pakistan written by goras? goras certainly dont know pakistan as well as pakistanis do. plus goras have always been biased against islam and a country that is so closely associated with islam will never get a sympathetic treatment at the hands of goras. a muslim country with the bomb even less so.

    also books published by pakistani authors for gora audiences are completely useless as well. goras only like to read books written by natives who reinforce gora viewpoint. halo surrounding ayaan hirsi’s “book” is a good example of this. any pakistani author presenting pakistani viewpoint wont be able to sell books in goraland and thus will never get a contract.

  14. March 5th, 2007 1:53 pm

    nice blog.
    sorry for myself, i have only read two books in the collage above, and know of only 2 more.

    “Karachi – Mega city of our times by oxford” is a really cool book, however, its more about historical life rather than what the name suggested to me at first. the chapters on life in the 60′s and 70′s are worth reading. Besides its the only book which increased my knowledge on local figures, for instance Frere, Napier, Abdullah Haroon and others.

    Can anyone recommend a neutral book on Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto?

  15. Maryam says:
    March 5th, 2007 2:21 pm

    1. Leaving Home
    A Collection of English Prose by Pakistani Writers
    Selected and Edited by Muneeza Shamsie

    2. Beloved City
    Writings on Lahore
    Editor:Bapsi Sidhwa

  16. Aqil Sajjad says:
    March 5th, 2007 2:38 pm

    The following list was written mostly in the 1990s, and can be very useful for those of us who were too young to understand/follow the political and economic issues in detail in those days. These publications contain some important details that are often missing in books giving 50-60 year overviews of Pakistan’s history. Since they were written earlier, they are less loaded with hind sight and contain assessments of the issues during the Bhutto, Zia and post-Zia periods when these governments were either in power or had just been ousted.

    1. Pakistan Under Bhutto
    Shahid Javed Burki, 1980

    2. Pakistan under the Military: Eleven Years of Zia Ul-Haq.
    Authors: Kamal Azfar, Craig Baxter, Shahid Javed Burki, Robert Laporte Jr.
    Westview Press, 1991.

    3. Contemporary Problems of Pakistan.
    J. Henry Korson -editor,
    Westview Press, 1993.

    The following were written as a series of biennial assessments of contemporary events and issues in Pakistan affairs during the 1990s (I don’t know whether they continued the series after 1997).

    4. Pakistan: 1992
    Charles H. Kennedy, ed,
    Westview Press, 1993.

    5. Pakistan: 1995.
    Contributors: Charles H. Kennedy, Rasul Bakhsh Rais.
    Westview Press, 1995.

    Pakistan, 1997.
    editors: Craig Baxter, Charles H. Kennedy.
    Westview Press, 1998.

  17. jinni says:
    March 5th, 2007 2:41 pm

    Great Collection. Can all of these books be produced as Audio books that can be consumed as digital capsules.

  18. Darwaish says:
    March 5th, 2007 2:45 pm

    Great post. There are so many books in my list (including 5 in the list up there) that its impossible to pick one or two. But let me add one of my all time favourites. Lahore – A Sentimental Journey by Pran Nevile. This book was first published in 1997 and really deserves wide readership. Its a beautifully written piece of social history and very few people that I know have read it.

    It’s about my beloved Lahore. Ruled by Hindu Kings, Mughul emperors, Sikh monarchs, and British sovereigns, Lahore boasts a historical mix like none other. I bought it from Maqbool Academy located in Diyal Singh Mansion Lahore but I am sure it is available online too. Pran Nevile a Lahori himself says, “a city is not merely its bazaars and buildings. It is its atmosphere, ambience, moods of joy and sorrow, madness and sadness, fun and excitement and above all its people who constitute its soul.”

    I also mentioned this book long time ago in one of my posts here

    On a side note, anyone knows if there has been a book published, a photo book with history may be, about non-muslim architecture of Pakistan (interior sindh, karachi, lahore in particular)?

  19. Farrukh says:
    March 5th, 2007 2:45 pm

    [quote comment="36604"]Can anyone recommend a neutral book on Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto?[/quote]

    Stanley Wolpert’s biography of Bhutto is a great read and very balanced. I would highly recommend it.

  20. March 5th, 2007 2:50 pm

    Thanks to all who have been suggesting books. Some great suggestions here.

    I just want to highlight that,
    (a) the books featured here are not necessarily our list of favorites, it is merely the ones that have been variously featured on ATP before;
    (b) our plan is to take the new recomendations coming here and add them to a running list for future reference.

  21. Eidee Man says:
    March 5th, 2007 2:51 pm

    [quote comment="36613"][quote comment="36604"]Can anyone recommend a neutral book on Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto?[/quote]

    Stanley Wolpert’s biography of Bhutto is a great read and very balanced. I would highly recommend it.[/quote]

    I second that…it’s an excellent book. It’s very interesting how he ends the book on a somewhat sad note referring to Zia being in power, etc. Then there is this epilogue which of course mentions the plane crash and that Benazir is about to go to Pakistan.

  22. Aqil Sajjad says:
    March 5th, 2007 2:57 pm

    Also, if anyone has some info about where one might find electronic or audio versions of any of the books, please contact me. I have found some of the above, but most books on Pakistan are not available in accessible format.
    My e-mail:

  23. Roshan says:
    March 5th, 2007 4:04 pm

    @ Jamshed
    The book by Emma Duncan ‘Breaking the Curfew: A Political Journey Through Pakistan’

    The Politics of Managing Water edited by Dr.Kaiser Bengali
    Fifty Years of Pakistan’s Economy by Dr. Shahrukh Rafi Khan

  24. March 5th, 2007 5:09 pm

    Shahabnama by Qudrat Ullah Shahab,

    I have Mirror to the blind, but its poorly written so i am having a hard time reading it :(

  25. March 5th, 2007 7:27 pm

    Moth Smoke (Mohsin Hamid)
    Cracking India (Bapsi Sidhwa)

  26. Samdani says:
    March 5th, 2007 10:35 pm

    Aqil, I am surprised that you have the Charles Kennedy and Craig Baxter volumes (yearly compilations) on Pakistan. I have found these to be really sloppy. A few decent articles in each but many not really worth much. They just wanted an edited book per year and a lot in there seems quite sub standard.

  27. Samdani says:
    March 5th, 2007 10:37 pm

    @Abbas Halai
    Yes, Fouzia Saeed’s ‘Taboo’ is a great read. I loved it.

  28. Kumail says:
    March 5th, 2007 11:22 pm

    I just finished reading Christopher Kremmers Carpet Wars that explores several aspects of Pakistan’s carpet industry alongside the origins and evolution of oriental carpets in south and central asia. A very interesting book that I recommend to all of you.

  29. Arsalan Ali says:
    March 5th, 2007 11:27 pm

    Sir, my opinion was not as positive as you might have guessed from the post. Obviously no Pakistani enjoys reading about Pakistan being a dangerous state/almost out of control blah blah…However, i think the book is significant because of its audience in the states, and because of its possible impact on US thinking and policy.

  30. MQ says:
    March 6th, 2007 12:11 am

    For anyone wishing to understand today’s political Pakistan the following two books, in addition to some already listed in the post, may be helpful:

    The Separation of East Pakistan by Hasan Zaheer – 1994
    The Mirage of Power by Dr. Mubashir Hasan – 2000

  31. Aqil Sajjad says:
    March 6th, 2007 12:36 am

    I was born in 1979, was too young during the 1990s, so my understanding of politics in that period was largely coloured by what I heard from others. These Charles Kennedy and Craig Baxter volumes helped me get a better picture. They are like newspaper articles, not necessarily very deep material, but give a peep into what one might have been thinking about the various issues of the country in those days.
    They may not be very extra-ordinary but are useful for readers who were either too young during the 1990s or those who were older but need something concise to help them recall the decade.
    In some sense, one could say that they are helpful for the same reason why we read newspaper articles, even though a lot of them are not very high quality.

  32. Sajid says:
    March 6th, 2007 5:00 am

    [quote comment="36569"]

    - Sadeeq Saliq’s “Mien ney Dhaka dubtey dekha” translated to english, I think or was it origionally written in english?

    - A book on ISI operations in afghanistan and russia / Written by Brig Yousuf ?? / ex ISI. forgot the name of the book


    Siddique Salik actually wrote the book in english “witness to surrender”. Its sequel is also a must read “haman yaran doozukh”

    Brig Yusuf’s book was “the bear trap”

  33. Naveed says:
    March 6th, 2007 6:31 am

    Adil, I like the warning meant for sharartee log :) in the comments section

    3 books on english verse and 4 book-sets on Sufi poets by Muzaffar A Ghaffar; the ones on shah hussain and bullay shah are amazing. i also love Faiz’s select poems & ghazals translated by V. Kiernan. Then there are coffee table books like the ones on Mehdi Hasan & Tufail Niazi printed by Pak Arab Refinery containing a 2-CD set of their best work

  34. mahi says:
    March 6th, 2007 9:29 am

    @ Adil:

    Will it be too much to ask,at the end of this exercise, for a list of ‘Essential Pakistan’ reading? For a non-Pakistani (I’m Indian).
    I suspect you will have better ideas than me in drawing up the list.

    The reason this would help: those of us not immersed in Pakistan may not have the time or inclination to plough through a variety of books and mine for the gold. While one inevitably loses something in the process of reading only a small set of books, a trustworthy list of books would be a good practical start.

    I also think some of the best thought/understanding may be in Urdu books. But till some great person does worthy translations, this will have to do.

    My own interest is histori/socio/political books.

  35. Babar says:
    March 6th, 2007 9:50 am

    I’d add Stanley Wolpert’s “Zulfi of Pakistan” to this list. Now what about Urdu books??

  36. Ali Choudhury says:
    March 6th, 2007 9:50 am

    Emma Duncan’s Breaking The Curfew is easily the best book I’ve read on the country.

  37. Daktar says:
    March 6th, 2007 10:54 am

    I would also ad Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh

  38. March 6th, 2007 11:46 am

    I do much enjoy Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamid, I truly believe it to be one of the best works of contemporary Pakistani fiction. Another wonderful book is Bolitho’s Biography of Jinnah. I found it to be more objective and better written than the other biography’s out there.

    I would highly recommend both of these, but if anyone could recommend some other books, perhaps in Urdu that are worth getting into, that might be valuable as well.

    Keep Reading and Writing,

  39. Rehan says:
    March 6th, 2007 1:46 pm

    Three Cups of Tea is the most thought-provoking, emotion-wrenching, inspiring book I’ve read in ages.

  40. Sohaib says:
    March 6th, 2007 2:13 pm

    The new book on Lahore by Dawn columnist Majid Sheikh. Forget the name sadly. Fascinating history.

  41. Maleeha says:
    March 6th, 2007 3:34 pm

    These suggestions are so great, and so so needed. I want to read all of them! Where to begin, where to begin…

  42. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    March 6th, 2007 4:35 pm

    Surprisingly no body has mentioned about the autobiographical books on Pakistan by Benazir Bhutto, Imran Khan, Asghar Khan, Hamid Gul so forth and so on. Did Nawaz Sharif write any book.

  43. MQ says:
    March 6th, 2007 11:33 pm

    The only book in Nawaz Sharif’s house, a Lahori once quipped, was the telephone directory. True or not, I have no idea.

  44. Fawad says:
    March 6th, 2007 11:45 pm

    Sohaib: Majid Sheikh’s fascinating book is titled “Lahore: Tales Without End”. I wish it was better sourced and footnoted but a great read nevertheless.

    Some other favorites with two more excellent books on my beloved city of Lahore:
    1) Lahore: Portrait of a Lost City (Som Anand)
    2) Heritage Guide: Lahore (Yasmeen Lari) [excellent guide]
    3) Pakistani Culture – A Profile (Yusuf Abbasi)
    4) As Time Goes By (Omar Kureishi – the cricket commentator’s autobiography)
    5) Remembering Partition (Gynanendra Pandey)

  45. Daktar says:
    March 6th, 2007 11:46 pm

    [quote comment="36808"]Surprisingly no body has mentioned about the autobiographical books on Pakistan by Benazir Bhutto, Imran Khan, Asghar Khan, Hamid Gul so forth and so on.[/quote]

    The question was to list books that people like.

    Maybe that is why these do not feature.

  46. Eidee Man says:
    March 6th, 2007 11:53 pm

    [quote comment="36862"][quote comment="36808"]Surprisingly no body has mentioned about the autobiographical books on Pakistan by Benazir Bhutto, Imran Khan, Asghar Khan, Hamid Gul so forth and so on.[/quote]

    The question was to list books that people like.

    Maybe that is why these do not feature.[/quote]

    Hahahah…good one. Anyway, I actually have read Benazir’s “Daughter of the East.” I think it is worth reading if you want to understand the whole episode about ZA Bhutto, Zia etc.

    One very interesting similarity between Wolpert’s book on Bhutto and Benazir’s book is that they both END the book on a somehwat dismal note but then both have an additional epilogue about the plane crash, etc.

    Benazir’s book actually left me kind of sad…since it really makes you think of the opportunities her group squandered back in 1989.

  47. YLH says:
    March 7th, 2007 12:58 am

    Interestingly I have read many of the ones you have mentioned above…

    I’d add three very pertinent books:

    1. Sole Spokesman by Ayesha Jalal

    2. State of Martial Rule by Ayesha Jalal

    3. Partition of India: Legend and Reality by H M Seervai

  48. Zainub says:
    March 7th, 2007 4:32 pm

    Rahul Bhattacharya’s Pundits from Pakistan is a tour diary of Indian Cricket Team’s historic tour to Pakistan in early 2004, not only is the book a beautiful recollection of the game of cricket it self, but its also very uplifting read about the troubled history of two nations and an Indian’s journey and discovery of modern Pakistan. Peter Roebuck regarded it as the best cricket book he’d ever read, and I would most certainly agree.

  49. Aqil Sajjad says:
    March 7th, 2007 4:56 pm

    Another very interesting one on partition is

    Pakistan and the partition of India
    by Dr. Ambedkar (the father of India’s constitution), 2nd edition in 1945

    What makes this book particularly instructive is that it is not an analysis of partition by a historian, but a contribution to the debate when the question of Pakistan was being hotly debated. It takes us right into the 1940s, discusses a variety of arguments that were being given on the topic, thus helping the reader get a better understanding of how one might have seen the issue in those days rather than looking at it through the prism of the present situation.
    Ambedkar seems quite sympathetic to the demand for Pakistan, which makes the book all the more interesting and worth reading, considering that this man later became the author of the Indian constitution.

  50. YLH says:
    March 8th, 2007 4:58 am

    Pakistan or Partition of India… by Dr. B R Ambedkar is an amazing book. I thoroughly recommend it.

  51. zs says:
    March 8th, 2007 5:09 pm

    What i’ve read recently:

    1. “The Dancing Girls of Lahore: Selling Love and Saving Dreams in Pakistan’s Ancient Pleasure District” … a Brittish author stays with and catalogues the lives of people in Heera Mandee. Unbelievably sad, depressing, deeply poignont, and very important to read.

    2. Non-fiction: “Kartography” by Kamila Shamsie. Actually, any Kamila Shamsie book is centered in Karachi and talks alot about it.

  52. Razi says:
    March 8th, 2007 11:00 pm

    The best book I have read on Pakistan is Hasan Zaheer’s
    “The Seperation of East Pakistan”. Gives a detailed insight on the happenings leading to the tragic seperation.

    Some other books included “We Never learn from History” By Asghar Khan and “Journey to Disillusionment” by Sardar Sherbaz Khan Mazari and “Hama Yaran Dozakh” by Siddiq Salik.

  53. Sabaa Ali says:
    March 10th, 2007 6:28 am

    Breaking the Curfew – Emma Duncan


    Pakistan: The Eye of the Storm – Owen Bennett Jones

  54. Raseema Alam says:
    March 27th, 2007 2:40 pm

    I am surprised no one listed the Case for Pakistan by Tariq Ali.

  55. hOlY says:
    March 29th, 2007 5:27 am

    Fascinating list. and comments.
    I suggest dividing the books mentioned into separate lists, political, economic, poetry & literature, societal, etc

  56. MansoorC says:
    March 31st, 2007 12:19 pm

    On autobiographies, I would highly recommend “Unlikely Beginnings” by General A.O. Mitha. Very absorbing read – from a soldier’s pen who left most of his family in India, married a Christian woman, rose to the rank of Maj General – and prematurely retired by Bhutto.

    On fiction, I’d recommend Thalassa Ali’s two books “A Singular Hostage” and “A Beggar at the Gate”. Third and final book in this sequel is due out this summer. It is a historical novel set in Ranjit Singh’s Lahore – written from perspective of an English woman. Author is a American widow of a Pakistani businessman who spent many years in Pakistan.

    Enjoy and please keep book recommendations coming!

  57. MansoorC says:
    April 2nd, 2007 11:54 pm

    Another good one that no one mentioned so far is “My Feudal Lord” by Tehmina Durrani. She is ex-wife of Mustafa Khar – hard to put down once you get going with it. Well written, scandalous, insightful of Pakistani upper-class, feudal/political culture.

  58. April 5th, 2007 2:44 pm

    Your readers may enjoy a new suspense fiction called ONE WAY TO PAKISTAN by an expatriate gora who grew up in the NWFP. See Amazon books for reader comments as well as the “Look inside” section for content and style.

  59. Pakistani says:
    April 13th, 2007 9:23 am

    ‘Daughter of the East’ by the ever-exiled Benazir Bhutto.

  60. Humayun says:
    April 24th, 2007 1:04 am

    Very good selection of books. I also think that you should have a seperate page for book reccomendations and make different lists on it.

  61. faisal says:
    April 30th, 2007 6:13 pm

    this indeed is an useful blog. as an army officer, i ve read many books, which were about

    Pakistan in general and army in particular. following is the list with one line/word


    1. witness to surrender - Sadiq Salik - 71 war
    2. Tragedy of errors - Kamal Matinud din - 71 war
    3. Incomplete partiton - alstair Lamb - Partition of subcontinent & instrument of

    annexation of Kashmir
    4. The way it was - Brig (R) Zahir alam Khan – An autobiography/ story of wars etc
    5. unlikely Beginings _ Maj Gen (R) AO Mitha – Autobiography/ wars etc
    6. In the Line of Fire - President Pervez Musharaf – Autobiogrpahy

    thats all uptill April 2007. more to go incls Daughter of the east – new edition and a book

    based on Ayub khan’s diaries.anyone having e book of daughter of the east? info me on please

  62. Raheel says:
    May 24th, 2007 6:37 pm

    There are many:

    My Feudal Lord
    - both by Tehmina Durrani

    Then there is
    Salt and Saffron
    - both by Kamila Shamsi

    ‘Taboo’ which is about Diamond Market, forgot the author.

  63. May 27th, 2007 1:04 pm

    ONE WAY TO PAKISTAN, eye-opening novel about police extortion and abduction by Harold Bergsma wins Indie Excellence multi-cultural writing award for 2007.

  64. Rohit says:
    June 6th, 2007 2:56 pm

    Waiting for Allah by Christina Lamb is a great account of the days following the death of Zia and the accesssion of Benazir Bhutto

  65. Wasio Abbasi says:
    June 9th, 2007 11:40 pm

    Indeed a very good collection of books. I had admired Cohen’s book “Idea of Pakistan” since many of his arguments and suggestions were bang on target, some even complimenting what Musharraf is doing.

    I have read several books, nice to see “Pakistan’s drift to Extremism” up in the list. I’ll add the following books

    1) Kux’s “Pakistan and United States: Disenchanted Allies”

    2) “Pakistan, between Military and mosque” by Hussain Haqqani

    3) “PPP rise to power” by Philip E. Jones

  66. Feisal Khan says:
    June 10th, 2007 2:07 pm

    There is also “Passage to Peshawar” by Richard Reeves (yes, THE Richard Reeves; not exactly a literary nobody). Now quite dated (published in 1984 but still available on Amazon), it is one of the best accounts of Pakistan under Zia that I’ve ever read. It’s also one of the best dissections of what makes Pakistan what-it-is. Given how little time Reeves spent here, he quite impressed me with his insights into Pakistan.

  67. MZ Khan says:
    July 26th, 2007 8:37 pm

    Now Gauhar Ayub’s book is coming out;

    Let’s see what he has to disclose..

  68. Waheed says:
    July 31st, 2007 2:36 pm

    Gauhar Ayub’s book was launched today;

    Anybody knows anything about it? Anything interesting?

  69. Rashid Jahangiri, MD says:
    November 23rd, 2007 10:24 pm

    I will recommend two books:

    Pakistan: Eye of storm, by Owen Bennett Jones

    Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons, by Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark

  70. Roaid says:
    January 23rd, 2008 1:36 pm

    Hi. Mirror to the blind by tehmina durrani is a wonderfull book about a great man of this century Edhi . People like him are born with a mission in mind and they wont rest till they achieve it and that what this book is all about . A must read.

  71. Ijaz Khan says:
    February 4th, 2008 4:05 am

    Title: Pakistan

  72. Farah Felix says:
    March 29th, 2008 8:53 am

    I am working on Pakistan’s regional role, especially in the context of ‘War against Terrorism’. I found recent books about Pakistan by Ayesha Sadiqua Agha’s Military Incorporated, Hussain Haqqani;s Pakistan between Mosque and Military, Mary Ann Weaver’s Pakistan in the Shadow of Afghanistan and Jihad, and the latest one by the little known Professor from Peshawar Ijaz Khan Pakistan’s Strategic Culture and Foreign Policy Making to be excellent studies of their subject that is Pakistan today and a must study for any one trying to understand the phenomenon of Pakistan

  73. Daktar says:
    May 10th, 2008 1:38 am

    By the way, just finished reading “Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam” by Zahid Hussain and I would certainly add that to my list of book to read on Pakistan politics. I thought it explained why we are in the mess we are in very very well.

  74. Shahid Mehmood says:
    June 10th, 2008 2:13 pm

    I strongly reccommend ‘Pakistan’s Strategic Culture and Foreign Policy Making: A Study of Pakistan’s Post 9/11 Afghan Policy’ by Ijaz Khan for a fresh deeper and better understanding of Pakistan and its predicaments.

  75. Raza Mohammad says:
    September 10th, 2008 1:01 pm

    I want to recommend Shaila Abdullah’s book Beyond the Cayenne Wall. It won quite a few awards I believe. The stories are very inspiring and reminiscent of life back home. Here is her website:

  76. Monkey says:
    December 8th, 2008 2:35 pm

    Is somebody updating this list also? I see many books that people have recommended through comments but they are not showing up on the post.

    I would suggest you add Benazir Bhutto’s books: Daughter of the East, and Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West.

    Also, there’s Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan by Stanley Wolpert, the same guy who wrote Jinnah of Pakistan.

  77. Monkey says:
    December 8th, 2008 2:39 pm

    Pakistan on the Brink: Politics, Economics, and Society
    by Craig Baxter.

    Partition and the Making of the Mohajir Mindset by Brig (retd) Siddiqi.

  78. March 5th, 2009 10:13 am
  79. Shiraz Emmanuel Singh says:
    August 12th, 2009 5:17 am

    Pakistan’s Strategic Culture and Foreign Policy Making is a great book as it helped me get an ‘A’ at CUNY.

  80. Shahid says:
    December 14th, 2009 7:22 am

    A journey to disillusionment by Sher Baz khan mazari
    Zulfi BHutto of Pakistan by Stanley wolpert

  81. noor says:
    December 21st, 2009 2:04 am

    why pakistanis dont read?there is a reason.yes!the quality of page.library periods in schools and the strictness on them.i myslf have observed that most teens waste time in library and thats worth hurting to pakistan.its about wasting time on reading fashion magzines.general knowledge contest should be held on national level to develop curiosity in youth

  82. Owais Mughal says:
    January 26th, 2010 10:40 am

    ‘Three cups of tea’ remains my favourite book on Pakistan.

  83. January 26th, 2010 11:02 am
  84. sheepoo says:
    January 26th, 2010 11:20 am

    1. Jinnah of Pakistan
    2. From Jinnah to Zia
    3. Descent into Chaos

    Since I noticed some people talking about their wish list regarding the reading culture in Pakistan, I would love to see my dream of an Urdu Spelling Bee come to fruition. It would be fantastic to have a national contest like this. It will motivate the younger generation to read more books in Urdu, a trait which is dying out very fast.

    Just my 2 cents!

  85. Zamir says:
    January 26th, 2010 1:20 pm

    One of the best books I ever read on Pakistan was “Conflicts, crises and war in Pakistan” by Kalim Siddiqui. The book starts from the war of 1857 and ends with the separation of East Pakistan. It narrates the internal dynamics between different classes of Muslims (ulema, politicians, civil servants, military etc.) as well as between Muslims and Hindus.
    You get a fairly good idea about how the civil servants and military acquired power in Pakistan. This book is a must read for any student of Pakistani history.

  86. Nabeel says:
    January 26th, 2010 1:45 pm

    Ice-Candy Man by Bapsi Sidhwa is one of the books that I had the pleasure to read recently,and it was both powerful and educational. Yes, it is old – but the current Pakistani youth needs to read more about the Partition. I might have recommended Freedom At Midnight but shamefully I have not read it myself and it is not solely about Pakistan after all.

    Ice-Candy Man, though, focuses on the events in Lahore and shows a nation torn apart with the pain that we in Pakistan (who often take our freedom for granted) have forgotten.

  87. Umar says:
    January 26th, 2010 1:49 pm

    I think a lot of new books have come since this was first posted some years ago, especially in English fiction by Pakistani authors.

  88. Karim says:
    January 26th, 2010 2:14 pm

    Three Cups of Tea – undoubtedly most inspiring book about the work done by someone in Pakistan

  89. Khurram Farooqui says:
    January 26th, 2010 3:05 pm

    “In Other Rooms, Other Wonders” by Daniyal Mueenuddin
    - A relatively recent collection of short stories.

    “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” by Mohsin Hamid
    - same guy who wrote “Moth Smoke”

    “Freedom at Midnight” by Lapierre and Collins
    - This was mentioned in an earlier post but it holds special meaning for me because this was the first book I read, back when I was in school, which made me realize that there is another side to the story besides what we learned in school. A bit biased against Jinnah, but still an important read.

    “Selected Stories” by Saadat Hasan Manto.
    - Can be found in English, although better to read in Urdu. This should really be required reading in school. Maybe it is?

  90. Owais Mughal says:
    January 26th, 2010 3:09 pm

    @Khurram Farooqui. Manto is not a required study in schools yet. Atleast not in Sindh and atleast not upto and including Grade XII. May be if someone goes for advanced degree in Urdu at University level then Manto may be required study. Am not sure about that.

  91. Zamir says:
    January 26th, 2010 3:11 pm

    Some other recommendations
    1: Distinct neighbors by Kuldip Nayyar, about Indo-Pakistan relations.
    2: The myth of independence by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan’s international relations. This book was written in 1960 when he was out of favor with Ayub Khan. One of the most fascinating and memorable line from the book is “I dare to predict that in 1970s US and China will become friends.” This book is completely about Pakistan and international relations, not much about Pakistan’s internal politics.
    (Available in PDF at
    3: If I am assassinated by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
    (Available in PDF at
    4: Can Pakistan survive? By Tariq Ali, not my favorite but an interesting look on Pakistan’s history from a leftist’s point of view.
    5: Danger in Kashmir by Joseph Korbel. He was a member of UN commission on Kashmir, Madeline Albright’s father and Condoleezza Rice’s mentor.
    6: Leopard and Fox by Tariq Ali. Haven’t read it yet, so can’t comment, but it was written for a BBC teleplay.
    7: Taliban by Ahmed Rashid. Read it to get an idea about geopolitical and economic reasons for supporting Taliban.
    8: Jinnah by Jawant Singh.
    9: Conflicts, crises and war in Pakistan – by Dr. Kalim Siddqui.
    10: Pakistan: The Economy of an Elitist State Dr. Ishrat Hussain former governor of State Bank.
    I have some recommendations in Urdu books also. Many books by Bhuttos and about Bhuttos are available in pdf format at

  92. Owais Mughal says:
    January 26th, 2010 3:34 pm

    ‘Shahabnaama’ and ‘mein ne Dhaka doobte dekha’ are two very captivating Urdu books on Pak history but it is very difficult for me to separate facts from fiction in them. Perhaps they both have some truth and some stretch of truth.

  93. Yasir says:
    January 26th, 2010 3:37 pm

    Naseem Hajazi’s “100 Saal baad”. The best humor about India’s plan to attack Pakistan which goes wrong.

  94. Zamir says:
    January 26th, 2010 3:40 pm

    I thought we were not supposed to mention Urdu books on this blog.

  95. Owais Mughal says:
    January 26th, 2010 3:44 pm

    Zamir saheb. my mistake :)

  96. maria says:
    January 26th, 2010 3:57 pm

    Daughter of the East/Dokhtare Mashriq by Benazir Bhutto
    In the line of fire – as mentioned elsewhere.

    I believe various fiction works deal with “Pakistan” and the life therein very well. To understand a lot about Pakistan, they are quite valuable.
    The Pakistani Bride and Ice candy man – Bapsi Sidhwa. Although both are set in a time frame of partition, not much has changed since in various attitudes.
    Kamila Shamsie’s Kartography
    And The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid.

  97. akif nizam says:
    January 26th, 2010 5:46 pm

    I’m finishing up on “Homeboy” by HM Naqvi. Leaves any work of fiction by a Pakistani author I have ever read in a pile of dust, goo and lint. What imagery! what language!
    I’ll give you the first paragraph of the book for reference.

    “We’d become Japs, Jews, Niggers. We weren’t before. We fancied ourselves boulevardiers, raconteurs, renaissance men, AC, Jimbo, and me. We were mostly self-invented and self-made and certain we had our fingers on the pulse of the great global dialectic. We surveyed the Times and the Post and other treatises of mainstream discourse on a daily basis, consulted the Voice weekly, and often leafed through other publications with more discriminating audiences such as ***** or *******. Save Jimbo, who wasn’t a big reader, we had read the Russians, the postcolonial canon, but had been taken by the brash, boisterous voices of contemporary American fiction; we watched nature documentaries when we watched TV, and variety shows on Telemundo, and generally did not follow sports except when Pakistan played India in cricket or the Knicks made a playoff run; we listened to Nusrat and the new generation of native rockers, as well as old-school gangsta rap, so much so that we were known to spontaneously break into Straight outta Compton, crazy ******** named Ice Cube / From a gang called Niggaz With Attitude but were underwhelmed by hip-hop’s hegemony (though Jimbo was known to defend Eminem’s trimetric compositions and drew comparisons between hip-hop’s internal rhythms and the beat of Kurdish marching bands). And we slummed in secret cantons of Central Park, avoided the meatpacking district, often dined in Jackson Heights; weren’t rich but weren’t poor (possessing, for instance, extravagant footwear but no real estate); weren’t frum but avoided pork—me on principle and Jimbo because of habit—though AC’s vigorous atheism allowed him extensive culinary latitude; and drank everywhere, some more than others, celebrating ourselves with vodka on the rocks or Wild Turkey with water (and I’d discovered beer in June) among the company of women, black, Oriental, and denizens of the Caucasian nation alike.”

  98. SJH says:
    January 26th, 2010 5:47 pm

    Ethan Casey’s book “Alive and Well in Pakistan” is an enjoyable read. Not too heavy but insightful nonetheless.

  99. SJH says:
    January 26th, 2010 5:47 pm

    Ethan Casey’s book “Alive and Well in Pakistan” is an enjoyable read. Not too heavy but insightful nonetheless.

  100. Aqeel Jafri says:
    January 26th, 2010 9:15 pm

    “Stones into Schools” by Greg Mortenson, author of “Three Cups of Tea”

  101. SH Kavi says:
    January 26th, 2010 10:59 pm

    “CUTTING FREE” an autobiography by Salma Ahmed.

  102. msb1606 says:
    January 27th, 2010 12:19 am

    “Empires of Indus” by Alicia Albinia

  103. Aamir Ali says:
    January 27th, 2010 12:50 am

    For a book on how ISI fought Afghan war read “Afghanistan : The Bear Trap” by Brigadier Mohammed Yousaf and Mark Adkin. However the book made me sad when I considered what a Pyrrhic victory that was for Pakistan.

    I notice a lot of people reading books on Pakistan by Westerners. Some of these Westerners, like Stephen Cohen or Owen Bennett Jones, indeed have insight and knowledge to offer but most of them write rubbish books quickly published in periods when “Pakistan” is a hot topic in the news/international politics, and all such books have the theme of “Pakistan on the brink!!”.

  104. Ammar says:
    January 27th, 2010 3:11 am

    The Indus Saga by Aitizaz Ahsan.

  105. takhalus says:
    January 27th, 2010 4:23 am

    Anyone suggest a journey into disillusionment by sherbaz mazari?

  106. January 27th, 2010 6:21 am

    I like the book ‘ Pakistan drift into extremism’ as it portrays a true picture of how our country has gradually drowned into extremism and the measure that must be taken for Pakistan to be saved. You guys should give it a read. Its very informative.

  107. AF Ahmad says:
    January 27th, 2010 12:05 pm

    I recommend “Breaking Links” by Razia Fasih Ahmad. This is a historical novel surrounding the events of 1971 – the break up of Pakistan. Published by Oxford University Press, it’s one of the few books I have seen on this topic and some reviewers have called it a good historical record in addition to being an interesting novel.

  108. January 27th, 2010 12:07 pm

    I like “The idea of Pakistan” by Stephen P. Cohen

  109. Nadeem Ahsan says:
    January 27th, 2010 8:28 pm

    Another wonderful book to be released in July 2010

    Pakistan: The Next Asian Super Power, by Adnan Virk

  110. Nihari says:
    January 27th, 2010 10:47 pm

    Breaking the curfew by Emma Duncan

    The above is a commentary on Zia days

  111. Adeeba says:
    January 27th, 2010 11:47 pm

    Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamid

    A novel that provides excellent commentary on the political, economic and social situation in Pakistan at the time of the nuclear tests.

  112. harris says:
    January 28th, 2010 7:35 am

    Just finished reading “The Wishmaker” by Ali Sethi. Pretty good book, would recomend it to anyone, especially if you are a lahori.

    Its a new book, and Ali Sethi is a really young, talented author. Good read.

  113. Mansoor C says:
    January 28th, 2010 9:06 am

    On Pakistan History and Politics, my favorite book remains to be “Journey Into Disillusionment” By Sher Baz Mazari.

    On Historical Fiction and Satire, I loved reading “A Case of Exploding Mangoes” by M. Naeem and the three part series from “Thalassa Ali” – starting with “A Singular Hostage” & “A Beggar At The Gate”

    Some great Biographies that I read:
    (1) Little known but an excellent read “Unlikely Beginnings” by Gen. A. O. Mitha [no it is not a typical Pakistani General's rant]
    (2) “Mirror to the Blind” by Edhi/Tehmina Durrani – not the best written book but still deeply moving & motivating
    (3) “My Feudal Lord” by Tehmina Durrani [scandalous but also insightful for its peek into the elite lifestyle]

    On Fiction, my favorites are:
    “Ice Candy Man” also titled “Cracking India” by Bapsi Sidhwa [setting 1947 Lahore]
    “Moth Smoke” by Mohsin Hamid [setting Lahore]
    “Trespassing” by Uzma Aslam Khan [setting Karachi]

    On Sports, an excellent read is “Pundits from Pakistan” by Rahul Bhattacharya” [sports writes who travelled to Pakistan with the Indian Cricket Team]

  114. Aamenah says:
    January 29th, 2010 11:15 pm

    One of the best books I read last year was Empires of the Indus by Alice Albinia. The author traveled all along the Indus, from the South near the Arabian Sea, all they way to the source in Tibet. It is a travelogue, but also recounts the ancient history of present day Pakistan along the way. It reminded me of another similar book I read a couple of years ago, called Where the Indus is Young, written by Dervla Murphy. Ms. Murphy walked to Baltistan with her six year old daughter (who rode on a pony) in the peak of winter, in the 1970s. I recommend both books to anyone interested in history and travel.

    Other books on Pakistan read in the past year include the Deul by Tarik Ali; the Wish Maker by Ali Sethi; In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Moeenudin, and my favourite A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Muhammad Hanif. This last one was, in the words of one commentator, “unputdownable”.

    For Three Cups of Tea fans, the sequel Stones into Schools is out. I am currently reading. Unlike most sequels, it hasn’t disappointed me so far.

  115. Haider says:
    January 30th, 2010 6:59 am

    Haven’t gone through the complete comments, so don’t know if anyone mentioned already. Anyway, a book by Steve Coll is pretty authoritative on the Afghan war.

    Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

  116. Yasir Malik says:
    January 30th, 2010 2:55 pm


    I am reading a book called “Murder of History” by KK Aziz. It is definitely a book worth reading. It exposes all the lies that were taught to us at school during history lessons relating to Pakistan. Definitely a must read.

  117. shaheed says:
    February 3rd, 2010 5:26 am

    Hello Yasir Malik Sahab
    where did you get that book the murder of history. I have been looking for it like crazy. it is out of stock everywhere.

  118. Shahid Javed says:
    February 19th, 2010 6:00 am

    Hello guys
    I reccommend reading a book by Dr. Ijaz Khan of University of Peshawar for a fresh and different understanding of Pakistan through the study of its Policy towards Afghanistan. The tile of the book is ‘Pakistan’s Strategic Culture and Foreign Policy Making: A Study of Pakistan’s Post 9/11 Afghan Policy’. It is a good reading.

  119. angud says:
    February 24th, 2010 12:25 pm

    Amazon search results for the book Murder of History KK AZIZ

  120. jamshed says:
    February 24th, 2010 1:17 pm

    A few books I liked :
    Kathleen Jamie’s “The Golden Peak”( travels in Northern Pakistan in 1992).
    Emma Duncan’s “Breaking The Curfew”. (Pakistan during the Zia era).
    “The Memoirs of Lt. Gen. Gul Hassan Khan.”
    Stanley Wolpert’s “Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan.”
    Siddiq Salik’s “Witness To Surrender.”
    Rear Admiral Zahir Shah’s “Bubbles of Water.” (Anecdotes of Pakistan Navy).

  121. Jamshed says:
    February 24th, 2010 10:03 pm

    A few more words about the books I mentioned earlier.General Gul Hassan’s book gives his perspective on the 1965 and the 1971 wars when he held key posts in the GHQ.His account of his relationship with Bhutto is fascinating.
    “Bubbles of Water” depicts the “human side of a very serious profession”,the Pakistan Navy. Some of the anecdotes are genuinely hilarious.It is also an informal history of the navy spanning over half a century.Highly recommended.
    Kathleen Jamie’s “The Golden Peak” is a delight in its own right.A young Scottish woman travels alone on foot,jeep and bus through the wilds of Northern Pakistan in the early 1990s.She befriends local families and lives in their homes.Her commentary on their lifestyle is lively and her description of the beauty of the area is poetic.It is so witty,it reminded me of Emma Duncan’s “Breaking the Curfew.” The only trouble is this book is a little hard to find.

  122. Jamshed says:
    February 25th, 2010 12:26 am

    British journalist Sandy Gall’s “News From The Front.”
    This book is not entirely about Pakistan,but the section it has on Pakistan makes for compelling reading.In the aftermath of the 1977 coup,the author visited Pakistan on the personal invitation of General Zia with whom he had a prior acquaintance.He interviews Zia and manages to meet Bhutto. His impression of Bhutto is less than favourable.

  123. Jamshed says:
    February 26th, 2010 5:25 am

    Raja Anwar’s book on the Life and Death of Murtaza Bhutto (1998 Vanguard Books,translated by Khalid Hasan).Raja Anwar claims to have lived with Murtaza Bhutto during his exile in Afghanistan.Al Zulfiqar operations are described in detail,including the 1981 hijacking of a PIA plane.There are plenty of details about the life and death of the hijacker Salamullah Tipu.The cast of characters includes Najibullah who later became the President of Afghanistan. The veracity of events described in the book is subject to debate.However, this book is compulsively readable as it gives an intimate portrayal of Murtaza Bhutto and the controversies surrounding his actions.

  124. Jamshed says:
    March 29th, 2010 11:16 am

    Greg Mortensen’s book “Three Cups of Tea” remains a favourite of mine.The story of an American climber who made it his mission to build schools in the remote villages of Northern Pakistan.Compulsively readable.As a book it is great.As for the impact of Mortensen’s efforts,a judgement must await objective accounts by people other than Mortensen.

  125. Jamshed says:
    March 29th, 2010 11:29 am

    Javed Miandad’s biography “Cutting Edge” (written by Saad Shafqat) is an entertaining read.All the controversies are here,so are his legendary deeds.Plenty of anecdotes and behind the scenes narratives.

  126. Jamshed says:
    March 29th, 2010 2:54 pm

    Stanley Wolpert’s “Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan”,another non-stop read. Bhutto’s life was dramatic and Wolpert does a fine job narrating it.He talks about Bhutto’s remarkable achievements but is equally candid regarding his failings.

  127. Jamshed says:
    March 30th, 2010 3:19 am

    Two contrasting books by Tehmina Durrani.”My Feudal Lord” is the better known of the two,a book which became a European bestseller.Sensational stuff but reveals too many private,intimate details.
    Her second book,much less well known, is so much better.”Edhi : A Mirror to the Blind”.Inspiring stuff.Hair raising accounts of how the man has defied the odds,defied death itself to perform his noble deeds.

  128. Jamshed says:
    March 30th, 2010 6:40 am

    After the 1965 war,the PAF published “The Story of PAF Heroes.” As it is an official book,it may well be biased.However,the major actions undertaken by the PAF are presented in vivid detail.Thrilling accounts of dog fights,ground strafing and night bombing missions,supported by gun camera photos.Includes the record breaking exploits of Sqn.Leader M.M.Alam,pictures of PAF martyrs and recepients of gallantry awards.There is the poignant account of the last mission of Sqn.Leader Sarfraz Rafiqui whose guns jammed but he stayed with his colleagues until he was shot down.

  129. Jamshed says:
    March 30th, 2010 11:07 pm

    Another chapter has been added to the saga of the Bhutto family.Fatima Bhutto,the daughter of Murtaza Bhutto,launched her book “Songs of Blood and Sword” yesterday.

  130. Jamshed says:
    March 30th, 2010 11:11 pm

    An insider’s account of the 1977 coup,”Betrayals of Another Kind” by Lt. Gen. Faiz Ali Chishti.Once a cohort of General Zia ul Haq,he later became increasingly embittered.

  131. Jamshed says:
    April 1st, 2010 11:51 pm

    Pakistan,seen through the eyes of a young Indian.Rahul Bhattacharya’s “Pundits from Pakistan.” It is a book about cricket (India’s tour to Pakistan in 2004) but it is also a book about Pakistan and its cities.Remarkably good.

  132. Jamshed says:
    April 8th, 2010 11:27 am

    Long before he became a politician,Imran Khan wrote an autobiography,”Imran”. It is the straightforward story of his remarkable career.Among the better books on Pakistani cricket.

  133. Jamshed says:
    April 25th, 2010 1:07 am

    Bapsi Sidhwa is often credited with being the first major Pakistani English novelist.It is somewhat ironical then,to read her book “Ice Candy Man” (also publised as “Cracking India”) and to find that she was less than thrilled with the idea of the creation of Pakistan.Partition riots also find a place in another of her books “The Bride”.
    Bapsi is a fine writer,nevertheless.The city of Lahore is one of her favourite subjects,finding a place in several of her novels.She has also written a separate book on Lahore.

  134. Jamshed says:
    May 10th, 2010 4:32 pm

    Dawn’s Sunday supplement,”Books and Authors” regularly features reviews of new books along with excerpts.Some of the books featured in recent months :
    “Rock n Roll Jihad” by Junoon musician,Salman Ahmed.
    “Partition and the Making of the Mohajir Mindset” by A.R.Siddiqui.
    “Alive and Well in Pakistan” by Ethan Casey.

  135. Adam Pal says:
    June 8th, 2010 3:55 am

    The Best book on pakistan is recently published “Pakistan’s Other Story – The 1968-69 Revolution” by Lal Khan. Also an introduction by Alan Woods.
    5 editions of this book have been published. 2 in urdu, 1 in english in pakistan, 1 from sweeden and 1 in India by Akaar books. Inauguration ceremonies of this book have taken place in Islamabad, Karachi, Hyderabad, Quetta, Rahim Yar Khan, Multan, Lahore, Gujranwala, Rawlakot, Peshawar, London and New Delhi.

    All leading urdu and english papers have published reviews on it including Dawn

  136. Jamshed says:
    June 17th, 2010 4:08 am

    Christina Lamb’s “Waiting for Allah” is a somewhat cynical book. But she does manage to travel extensively in Pakistan and visits many remote areas.She also talks to most of the major political figures in Pakistan.Particularly interesting is her exploration of ethnic violence in Karachi.

  137. Jamshed says:
    June 25th, 2010 8:16 am

    “The Lighter Side Of The Power Game” by Air Marshal Asghar Khan,a slim volume of anecdotes.Among those making an appearance in its pages are Ayub Khan,Bhutto and the Shah of Iran.

  138. april says:
    September 3rd, 2010 1:29 am

    I haven’t read the entire comprehensive comment thread, so these may be repeats. Still, i see that you have Abbas’ Pakistan’s Drift Into Extremism listed here, and that happens to be a text that my Pakistan-born professor chose for our Nation and Literature class this semester. Our other required readings include:

    Sidhwa’s Cracking India
    Suleri’s Meatless Days
    Khan’s Trespassing
    Shamsie’s Kartography
    Naqvi’s Homeboy

    And, finally, The Pakistaniat is listed under our required texts. I have to be honest: this website is my favorite required reading so far.

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