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ISLAMABAD: the context


The human price of carving out Pakistan from India in 1947 was a million dead and 15 million people displaced.

 

For decades, Pakistan has grappled with profound challenges, its history marred by conflict, political upheavals, and societal discord. For most of its existence, it has been governed by the army directly or indirectly with deep imprints on the nation’s psyche.


Late in coming, but introspection now sweeps the nation, providing a pivot to comprehend the root causes of our nation's plight. While scholarly discourse attempts to dissect these complexities, hard truths often elude the grasp of the masses.


I have always felt inspired by the wisdom of a famous author who said that, sometimes, fiction is the only effective way to communicate harsh truths. 

 

Thus, the inception of "Islamabad."

 

Islamabad is set against the backdrop of tumultuous years spanning from September 1965 to December 2007, a period stained by conflict, political strife, and human tragedy: three Pakistani-initiated wars with India in 1965, 1971 and 1999—Pakistan losing all three and getting dismembered; persistent and dangerous infiltrations and skirmishes in Kashmir; four militarydictators; state-led religious extremism; the execution of a Prime Minister; a full-scale army attack in a Muslim country on a mosque that killed hundreds and wounded thousands; and the assassination of a former Prime Minister.

 

The novel unravels truths obscured by the annals of history—truths that would unsettle many.


Weaving this reality with fiction, Islamabad delves into the lives of ordinary Pakistanis, particularly the poignant narrative of Tariq’s family. Through the eyes of Tariq, his son Major Khaled, his wife Maryam, and their daughters Zeynab and Ayesha, we witness the profound impact of Pakistan's tumultuous journey—a journey marked by wars, violence, and societal disarray.


My fervent desire is for Islamabad to resonate with as many readers as possible, serving as a clarion call for introspection, reform, and a collective endeavour to forge a brighter future for Pakistan's generations to come.

Munir Sheikh

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