Although Pakistan may be a new state in an historical context, it possesses an ancient legacy and culture. This volume examines the history of Pakistan from its archaeological heritage and origins in the Islamic civilization in South Asia to its political, economic, and social characteristics since 1947. The dynamics of its volatile history have been conditioned by its chequered constitutional development. It has produced vivid and forceful leaders, both civilian and military, from the Bhuttos-Zulfikar Ali and his daughter Benazir-to the string of military rulers who have governed the country, namely, Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Zia ul-Haq, and the last military dictator, Pervez Musharraf. Religious and class differences and regional forces tear at the fabric of the nation and hinder the development of a stable democratic regime. In spite of these persistent retrograde forces, there is a remarkable commitment among the progressives and the educated of the country to move it forward. Pakistan possesses a remarkable history through its interplay of regional and economics forces, through wars and civil wars, through being a 'Front-Line State', and through nuclear confrontations in the form of nuclear tests performed by Pakistan as well as its neighbour India. This volume is a rich and authoritative guide to those turbulent decades as well as to the history of the Indian subcontinent.