With a population of 190 million, Pakistan is strategically located at the crossroads of the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and has the second largest Muslim population in the world. The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Pakistan provides an in-depth and comprehensive coverage of issues from identity and the creation of Pakistan in 1947 to its external relations as well as its domestic social, economic and political issues and challenges.

The Handbook is divided into the following sections:

• Economy and development

• External relations and security

• Foundations and identity

• Islam and Islamization

• Military and jihad

• Politics and institutions

• Social issues

The Handbook explains the reasons why Pakistan is so often at the forefront of our daily news intake, with a focus on religious and political factors. It asks questions regarding the institutions and political parties which govern Pakistan and provides an insight into the relationships which the country has forged since its creation, culminating in a discussion of the state’s involvement in conflict. Covering a range of topics, this Handbook offers a wide range of perspectives on Pakistan.

Bringing together a group of leading international scholars on Pakistan, the Handbook is a cutting-edge and interdisciplinary resource for those interested in studying Pakistani politics, economics, culture and society and South Asian Studies.

chapter |12 pages


part I|97 pages

Foundations and identity

chapter 1|26 pages

Escaping India

Pakistan’s search for identity 1

chapter 2|14 pages


Postcolonial imaginaries along borderlands, 1947–57

chapter 4|16 pages

Jinnah’s Pakistan

Debating the nature of the state, 1947–49

chapter 6|11 pages

Cricket – what unites us

part II|76 pages

Politics and institutions

chapter 7|13 pages

Talk the talk

Why parties walk and matter (even in Pakistan)

chapter 9|12 pages

Profit, protest and power

Bazaar politics in urban Pakistan

chapter 10|15 pages

Judiciary in crisis

Judicial politics in Pakistan

part III|75 pages

Economy and development

part IV|44 pages

Social issues

chapter 16|12 pages

Dissimilar histories

History curricula in government and elite Pakistani schools

chapter 18|18 pages

Sanctioning subordination?

The politics of gender laws promulgation and reform in Pakistan

part V|60 pages

Islam and Islamization

chapter 19|27 pages

Explaining support for sectarian terrorism in Pakistan

Piety, maslak and sharia

chapter 21|16 pages

Competing visions of women’s rights in Pakistan

State, civil society and Islamist groups 1

part VI|55 pages

Military and jihad

chapter 22|13 pages

W(H)ither Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

chapter 23|14 pages

Rules for the double game

chapter 24|12 pages

Violent non-state actors in the Afghanistan–Pakistan relationship

Historical context and future prospects

chapter 25|14 pages

The other Pakistan

Understanding the military–jihadi complex

part VII|85 pages

External relations and security

chapter 27|15 pages

The Afghanistan–Pakistan conundrum

History and a likely future scenario, with a focus on the Pashtun areas

chapter 28|9 pages

Iran and Pakistan

A case of keeping a distance

chapter 29|13 pages

Saudizing Pakistan

How Pakistan is changing and what this means for South Asia and the world

chapter 30|19 pages

Pakistan and the United States

Strategic partnership, discordant goals

chapter 31|10 pages

Pakistan and the One Belt, One Road initiative

Prospects for the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor