More than six decades after being carved out of British India, PakistanÂ remains an enigma. Born in 1947 as the first self-professed MuslimÂ state, it rejected theocracy; vulnerable to the appeal of political Islam,Â it aspired to Western constitutionalism; prone to military dictatorship,Â it hankered after democracy; unsure of what it stood for, PakistanÂ has been left clutching at an identity beset by an ambiguous relationÂ to Islam.Â This bookâa work of interpretation rather than of historicalÂ researchâaddresses the political, economic and strategic implicationsÂ of Pakistanâs uncertain national identity. Such uncertainty has hadÂ profound and far-reaching consequences: it has deepened the countryâsÂ divisions and discouraged plural definitions of the Pakistani. It hasÂ blighted good governance and tempted political elites to use the languageÂ of Islam as a substitute for democratic legitimacy. It has distortedÂ economic and social development and fuelled a moral discourseÂ that has sought to gauge progress against supposed Islamic standards.Â It has intensified the struggle between rival conceptions of PakistanÂ and set the countryâs claim to be a Muslim homeland against its obligationÂ to act as a guarantor of Islam. More ominously still, it hasÂ driven this nuclear-armed state to look beyond its frontiers in searchÂ of validation, thus encouraging policies that pose a threat to its survivalÂ and to the security of the international community.