There are challenging complexities in analysing both historical trends and contemporary structures in the region now comprising Pakistan. Interrelating both history and the present poses further challenges. With scholarship aligned on either side of the apparent watershed of 1947, analysts have hitherto remained negligent of a pattern of continuity and disjuncture that is explored in this article, which it is hoped will enable a deeper understanding of historical causations and outcomes. Further, we propose here that such multiple and diverse trends, while they might demand distinct empirical analyses, can coalesce within three overarching themes. Analysing these themes and their interstices, enables a more cohesive and integrated understanding of Pakistan's complex realities than has been hitherto forthcoming from the more segmented approaches that dominate discourse on the study of Pakistan's past and present. The author aims to shed light on why and how retardation in Pakistan is so resilient, and hopes that understanding these long-term outcomes will be greatly assisted by an analytical approach predicated on three themes: thwarted nationalism, economic counter-revolutions, and anarcho-vassalage.