BREAKING THE CURFEW: A Political Journey Through Pakistan by Emma Duncan

BREAKING THE CURFEW: A Political Journey Through Pakistan

Email this review


The South Asia columnist for The Economist offers her perceptive insights on politics, society, and economics in Pakistan. Duncan has that rare gift of getting people at the top of corporate and governmental structures to open up and talk honestly about how things really are. Consequently, here she has produced a remarkably penetrating exploration of a foreign country. Pakistan, slightly over four decades old with a population of over 100 million, is a nation of contradictions. One of the few nations to have been born of an idea (a Muslim homeland), it has been torn geographically (until Bangladesh was created in 1971 out of East Pakistan), politically (24 of its 41 years have passed under martial law), physically (three wars have been fought with India), and economically (its per-capita income ranks between Haiti's and Lesotho's). Duncan manages to add personal impetus to her social analysis. Explaining the oddly puritanical nature of the country, where crimes of lust are still punished by stoning to death, she relates how lust is just under the surface in every male/ female confrontation: her own experience includes having one top official (married with a mistress) load his conversation with her with double-entendres before groping for her knee. Duncan's book culminates in one of the last interviews with Prime Minister Zia before he was murdered in a planned plane crash. (""He was a happy man who would never have a sleepless night nor yearn to share his problems with a shrink. He had no doubts and he would never feel guilty."") A marvelous job of bringing this mysterious and explosive country to light.

Pub Date: Sept. 13th, 1989
Publisher: Michael Joseph/Viking