More than six decades after being carved out of British India, Pakistan remains an enigma. Born in 1947 as the first self-professed Muslim state, it rejected theocracy; vulnerable to the appeal of political Islam, it aspired to Western constitutionalism; prone to military dictatorship, it hankered after democracy; unsure of what it stood for, Pakistan has been left clutching at an identity beset by an ambiguous relation to Islam. This book—a work of interpretation rather than of historical research—addresses the political, economic and strategic implications of Pakistan’s uncertain national identity. Such uncertainty has had profound and far-reaching consequences: it has deepened the country’s divisions and discouraged plural definitions of the Pakistani. It has blighted good governance and tempted political elites to use the language of Islam as a substitute for democratic legitimacy. It has distorted economic and social development and fuelled a moral discourse that has sought to gauge progress against supposed Islamic standards. It has intensified the struggle between rival conceptions of Pakistan and set the country’s claim to be a Muslim homeland against its obligation to act as a guarantor of Islam. More ominously still, it has driven this nuclear-armed state to look beyond its frontiers in search of validation, thus encouraging policies that pose a threat to its survival and to the security of the international community.