Pakistan: Transition From Military To Civilian Rule

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Pakistan: Transition From Military To Civilian Rule

By Golam W. Choudhury
University of British Columbia Press, 1989
256 pp. $39.95
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Over the years a number of academics and politicians have tried to make the case for "qualified" democracy: guided democracy, one-party democracy, socialist democracy, etc. The Bengali academic and former Pakistani government official Golam Choudhury now tells us there is something called "Islamic democracy," brought to Pakistan by the late President Zia ul-Haq. The author manages to avoid all the most difficult questions in his effort to justify this oxymoron. When it comes to analyzing the rights of non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan, for example, he assures us that the rights accorded to any minority in any state depend on the ideals of those in power, not on the laws and institutions that protect those rights. He also sees no problem in the fact that Zia introduced a federal Shariah court that changed, amended or nullified about 500 existing laws of the country on the grounds that these laws were repugnant to the Koranic injunctions. A solid book remains to be written on Pakistan; this one falls far short of the task.

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