Fiction. Middle Eastern Studies. Whither the Islamic world? Whither Pakistan? Revolution is on the streets of the Arab/Islamic world, Pakistan is experiencing a remote drone war and violence fomented by mysterious forces, and writing has apparently thrown up its hands at making sense of the chaos.Ten years after the start of the perpetual war on terror, Pakistan, the country at the fulcrum of it, remains a mystery. All we hear about are lawlessness and violence, without social history or political context to fill out the picture. THE FIFTH LASH AND OTHER STORIES gives us a portrait of Pakistan, and Muslims in general, struggling to reason their way into a better future. Paranoia, self-hatred, delusion, insecurity, serfdom, surveillance, and denial have been some of the prevalent psychological motifs of the last decade; it's important to step outside their journalistic confines and move into the lyrical borderline where responsibility follows a two-way street and causes and consequences become muddled and merged, and this is what the book seeks to do.The old securities everywhere are gone; identities are switched and tried on and abandoned faster than ever; the media landscape saturates individual consciousness, and makes lies out of centuries of tradition and heroes of plastic idols. THE FIFTH LASH AND OTHER STORIES daringly enters this phantasmagoric cauldron, where appearance and reality have seamlessly blended, to complicate the picture even further, to turn all we think we know about Islam and Pakistan on its head. The "truth" will never set you free, is the ironic signature of the original voice defining this collection.