Amna Nawaz in The New York Times:
The question has confounded many: How does Pakistan stay alive?
The 73-year-old nation born of a bitter postcolonial divorce has heaved through humiliating defeats, careened from coup to coup and stubbornly endured despite relentless forces working to unweave it.
The New York Times foreign correspondent Declan Walsh is the latest to try to answer that question. In his new book, “The Nine Lives of Pakistan: Dispatches From a Precarious State,” he pulls from years of contact with sources on the ground, presenting nine narratives — each given its own chapter — to paint a vivid, complex portrait of a country at a crossroads.
This nuclear-armed nation is today the fifth most populous in the world. Its subcontinental perch grants it strategic geopolitical importance. And though its past wars with India seem to consume Pakistan’s almighty army leaders, for the past two decades it’s largely been America’s war in neighboring Afghanistan that’s demanded their attention. Walsh spent nearly a decade living in and covering Pakistan, first for The Guardian, then for The Times. His tenure coincided with some of the country’s most turbulent modern years: fraught elections, assassinations and military rule; a war next door and within; and a tenuous alliance with the United States fraying to the breaking point, particularly after American Special Forces found Osama bin Laden hiding inside Pakistan, and killed him.