The plot of the novel is set in the backdrop of religious militancy in Pakistan and grapples with the question why militancy has taken root in the country and in which direction society is heading for. The story revolves around Ali Naqvi, a student of philosophy, who is caught between faith and skepticism. Two other main characters are Maulvi Ziaur Rehman, who is the mentor of militants and Dr Junaid, a professor of philosophy but a mastermind of terrorism behind the scene. Ali turns to philosophy to help him puzzle out the riddles of life, the most important of which is whether God exists. However, the study of philosophy makes him more confused and skeptical and dismantles the traditional beliefs he has hitherto held to. The Dr Junaid-Maulvi Zia duo is desperate to force the government to halt its campaign against militancy. Frustrated by their failure, they plan to topple the government through a no-confidence motion in parliament. Supported by the opposition leader and some mega businessmen, they succeed in changing the government. However, the new prime minister has no love for militancy and turns back on his word to repeal the counter terrorism strategy of the previous government. This forces Maulvi Zia to turn against him as well and push up their clandestine activities. Meanwhile, Ali continues to oscillate between faith and skepticism and his skepticism grows so much that he suspects even his mother of poisoning him. Some personal catastrophic events disillusion him with life itself and he loses trust in the people around him. When Dr Junaid comes to know of his student’s predicament, he sees in him a potential recruit for his jihadi organization. Eventually Ali becomes a militant and is assigned to kill a high profile target in a suicide blast. Would Ali carry out the attack? Would he re-gain his faith in God and trust in the world? What would be his ultimate fate?
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The author is from Pakistan and his native city is Lahore, the cultural and literary capital of the country.
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