Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army & the Wars Within

Crossed Swords encapsulates 30 years of research and analysis on the nature and role of Pakistani Army penned down by the exemplary Shuja Nawaz who is also a political and strategic analyst. Nawaz writes for leading newspapers and The Huffington Post, and speaks on current topics before civic groups, at think tanks, and on radio and television. He has worked on projects with RAND, the United States Institute of Peace, The Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Atlantic Council, and other leading think tanks on projects dealing with Pakistan and the Middle East.


In January 2009 he was made the first Director of the South Asia Center at The Atlantic Council of the United States. He was educated at Gordon College, Rawalpindi, where he obtained a BA in Economics and English Literature and the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University in New York, where he was a Cabot Fellow and won the Henry Taylor International Correspondent Award. He was also a member of the prize-winning team at Stanford University’s Publishing Program. One of his other acclaimed books include FATA: A Most Dangerous Place (CSIS, Washington DC January 2009).

Nawaz begins Crossed Swords with a profound and multi-layered understanding of Pakistan Army’s historical nature and role in the country’s polity as well as its turbulent relationship with the United States. Using many hitherto unpublished materials from the archives of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army, as well as interviews with key military and political figures in Pakistan and the United States, he sheds light not only on the Pakistan Army and its US connections but also on Pakistan as a key Muslim country in one of the world’s toughest neighborhoods.

He endeavors to examine the army and Pakistan in both peace and war. In doing so, he sheds light on the facts about Pakistan’s numerous wars with India and its many rounds of political musical chairs, as well as the Kargil conflict of 1999. He notes that the “size and nature of Pakistan Army have a huge impact on the economy and society.” Tracing back to its origins, he recounts that since the independence, Pakistan Army rose to man-power of 800,000 individuals out of which, 550,000 serve as the regular army, while the rest act as reserves. He claims, “Pakistan Army today reflects Pakistani society more than at any time in its history.”

It’s interesting to note how Nawaz manages to present an exhaustive account of the most powerful pillar of the Pakistani State structure with such finesse. He has made great use of his accessibility to insider’s information at the US think-tanks, and the archives of Pakistan Army, in order to bring attention regarding the dynamics of the military institution to the ordinary public.

In all, the second edition of Crossed Swords presents a well researched and updated account regarding the Army, its history and the politics it surrounds. This book is especially recommended to aspiring army-men and to students of history and politics.

Author:  Shuja Nawaz
Price: Rs. 1950
Published by: Oxford University Press
Available at: OUP Bookstores

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