The rich cultural and religious history of Pakistan dictated through a journalist’s personal stories.
Born in America to Pakistani parents, Mufti (Journalism/Univ. of Richmond) considers himself a native of both lands. He spares readers “every torturous twist and turn in Pakistan’s modern history,” opting for a harmonic analysis of the sovereign country from both a frontline journalistic approach and a familial, homeland perspective. Mufti proudly unspools his country’s tapestry of allegiance and warring strife and embeds his own family’s legacy within it. The nuances of his parents’ arranged marriage amid the violence of the Pakistan-India war of 1965 merges into his father Shahzad’s struggle to maintain order throughout a doctoral tenure amid political upheavals in the 1970s. A decade later, after his father had accepted a medical school professorship at Ohio University, the author was born into an era where being Muslim equated with an allegiance to Ayatollah Khomeini. He traces his earliest memory of Pakistan from age 4, settling in Lahore, war-torn by Indian army attacks. The author pauses to reflect on how the Islamic culture became (and continues to be) denigrated in the shadow of 9/11 and posits that even a cease-fire in the Afghanistan War would still fail to curb the senseless violence decimating Pakistan. Steeped in personal anecdotes, Mufti writes of bomb scares and defiant million-man marches on the streets of Islamabad as a roving journalist and gingerly dissects the roots of his surname, which can be traced back to the prophet Muhammad. Yet he ponders if he will ever live to see a quiescence between Islam and the West.
An undeniable visionary, Mufti insightfully glances back at Pakistan’s past and nods hopefully toward its precarious future.