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Hassan Abbas Picks His Top Five Books on Reforming Pakistan




Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Fellow Hassan Abbas in Houston, Texas in 2009. (Asia Society Texas Center)

Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Fellow Hassan Abbas in Houston, Texas in 2009. (Asia Society Texas Center)

In a new interview with The Browser, Hassan Abbas, a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at Asia Society in New York, recommends five books for Pakistan's security services if they are to bring about reform and attempt to solve the country's many problems.

Abbas authored Pakistan 2020, the Asia Society Study Group report about that country's future, which was released last month.

Abbas's book choices reflect what he feels are pressing issues in Pakistan — not only prominent ones that garner international headlines, like religious extremism and terrorism, but also equally important ones that don't get as much attention: health care and food shortages.

"For example, if you go to a bookstore in New York or Washington DC or in London, or even in Paris (I have checked this everywhere) and ask for a book on Pakistan, in 99% of cases you’ll be given a book which is either on a terrorism-related or a religious extremist issue," Abbas said in the interview. "On other important issues — which are necessary for us to understand if we want to change things — there is not much work that is available to the ordinary person."

Abbas's five book picks are:

  • The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader by Peter Bergen
  • Reconciliation: Democracy, Islam and the West by Benazir Bhutto
  • The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam by Muhammad Iqbal
  • Choking Pipes: Reforming Pakistan's Mixed Health Care System by Sania Nishtar
  • Hunger Pains: Pakistan's Food Insecurity edited by Michael Kugelman and Robert M. Hathaway


Click here to read the full interview.