Vying for Allah’s Vote
Understanding Islamic Parties, Political Violence and Extremism in Pakistan (South Asia in World Affairs series)
Is Pakistan becoming a deeply political nation with a thirst for extremism or is it just the political parties at fault? Two of the most prominent personalities of Pakistan were killed in cold blood; one in the name of Islam; Salman Taseer ironically by his very own security guard and the other, Benazir Bhutto allegedly by the extremist parties active in Pakistan. These incidents only emphasize the rising connection of Pakistan with political dilemmas, religion misrepresentation and policies.
This book is an attempt by Haroon K. Ullah to establish an understanding of the actively growing and practicing Islamic parties; their driving forces and extremism. His book is focused on the intensity and misdirection that Pakistani Islamic parties have taken towards extremism and how they can direct their policies towards moderation. A model (loosely terming) has been developed by the author to understand the activities of these parties and the motives and intents behind them. Only when the critical analysis of these parties is made, can the international nations including USA begin to have interactions with the nations under deep influence of the Islamic parties also acting as political influence of the country.
The author hasn’t limited his instances to Pakistan only but has mentioned other Muslim countries practicing democracies as well focusing on their Islamic political parties which have won elections such as in Egypt. Likewise it is the conjecture of the author, based on his broad knowledge of the subject, that the democratic evolution of Pakistan relies heavily on the extent to which the rules are implemented and terrorism is controlled by the Islamic political parties of Pakistan. The magnificence of this book is the way Dr. Ullah has differentiated the Pakistani extremists (only interested in gaining seats in the assembly) in comparison to other states where the Islamic parties have little to no apparent interest in possessing the reigning control over national matters but for the total authoritative power.
Pakistani currently passing through its worst time and in battle since 2001, a war of ideologies, leftist and rightest liberals and fundamentals, Dr. Ullah book gives in-depth analysis and a mean path to counter this extremism which is destroying Pakistan by each passing day, So need of the time is to bring basic changes which shall end the virus of Extremism.
Besides my own review on book, some of the well-known political figures and journalists have very positive feedback about this book. Here I am adding few of them:
“While others are content simply to label Pakistan 'the world's most dangerous place,' HaroonUllah has patiently studied the political groups behind the headlines and written a book that explains them cogently and clearly. Those who want to see a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan, and to face its many problems head on, must read Ullah's work; understanding its complex politics is the first step toward building the Pakistan its people–and its friends–should want."–Cameron Munter, former US Ambassador to Pakistan
"HaroonUllah has vividly humanized the challenge Pakistan faces in the explosive mixture of religion and politics. Ullah brings to the expertise of a scholar with first-hand knowledge of the country and culture and the perspective on U.S. policy of a diplomat who was a member the late Richard Holbrooke's "AfPak" team. The result is authoritative, insightful, andtimely."
–Strobe Talbott, President of the Brookings Institution
"Pakistan is a rare case where unresolved issues about relations of Islam to politics intersect with democratic development. Vying for Allah's Vote provides a valuable glimpse into how Islamic party politics in Pakistan has influenced the development of political platforms and how Islam and democracy are likely to impact one another. Insightful and informative."–
Vali Nasr, dean of The John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and author of The Shia Revival and Forces of Fortune
"An insightful study of the complexities of Islamic parties in Pakistan with useful and clear recommendations for American policy."
— Bruce Reidel, director, The Brookings Intelligence Project
Haroon K. Ullah’s work focuses on democratization, security studies, and political party dynamics. He has a Master’s degree in public policy and international development from Harvard University and holds a PhD in political science and public policy from the University of Michigan. Ullah is currently a staff adviser to the US State Department based in Islamabad and was a member of the late Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke’s policy team on Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Author tweets @haroonullah