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Brookings: The Future of Pakistan

Author: Stephen P. Cohen, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
January 2011


With its declining social indicators, crumbling infrastructure, and the military's misplaced priorities, Pakistan is a deeply troubled state and, were it not for the large number of talented Pakistanis, one would be tempted to judge it to be in terminal decline. This is an important point: the Pakistani state is enfeebled, but Pakistani society is as vigorous as ever, manifest particularly in its provincial cultures and talented elite, but here is a yawning gap between aspiration and actual performance.

Earlier projects that looked at Pakistan's future were cautiously optimistic, although a group of experts convened by the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC) was decidedly downbeat. The Appendix section of this report contains a review and critique of these studies.

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