Who owns Pakistan

  1. This might help opening our eyes and realize when and where our national leaders erred in building Pakistan’s future. Although I do not agree with the author about Musharraf. Here is an article that I would like to share with you:

    “A friend of mine recently sent me a book titled “Who Owns Pakistan?” by Mr. Shahid-ur-Rahman. My first impressions and commentary after scanning this book are as follows:

    First Impressions:
    This seems to be a well-researched work by the author on a subject that has received very little independent scholarly attention. While it singles out Z.A. Bhutto’s nationalization in the 1970s as the biggest culprit, it also includes a good description of how industrialization was stymied in Pakistan by successive governments while feudal rulers continued to take their toll on any middle class growth essential for civil society and democracy. The author argues that the Bhutto era nationalization has left such “deep scars on the psyche” of Pakistani industrialists that, to this day, these industrialists are not willing to make long-term investments in big industrial projects with long gestation periods. The military governments have, in fact, been more pro-industrialization because the military elite benefits from the manufacturing sector as much as it does from real estate and agriculture sectors.

    Comparisons with India:
    Whenever we discuss Pakistan, comparisons with India are inevitable because we have such a long shared history and both countries became independent at the same time. Looking at the Indian experience, the Indian Congress governments were not particularly friendly to industries as depicted well in the Bollywood movie “Guru” based on the life of Dhirubhai Ambani. The semi-literate Ambani built a multi-billion dollar empire called Reliance Industries in India. However, Congress and Nehru were really hostile to the feudal system and brought it down almost immediately after independence in 1947 through
    real and extensive land reform that reduced individual and family land
    holdings to a few acres each. In spite of his deeply held socialist beliefs, Nehru was a pragmatic leader and believed in industrialization. He recognized that India needed a strong higher education system to support industrialization. The renowned IIT system was, therefore, started in 1951 by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad with the first IIT in Kharagpur inaugurated by Maulana Azad on Aug 18, 1951. Maulana Azad was also the person who brought Birla and Nehru together after Liaquat Ali Khan as Finance Minister in 1938 started investigating Birla for his cash contributions to the Congress party. Recognizing the contributions of Birla and Tata to Congress in the struggle for India’s independence, Nehru gave special treatment to both of the industrialists and asked them to help in India’s industrialization.

    Actions by Nehru and Congress in India were in sharp contrast to the policies pursued in Pakistan. There was no strategic thinking or vision to start anything like the IIT system in India or to reach out to the industrialists who chose to come to Pakistan. Instead, these policies allowed thousands of acres of land in the hands of a few Pakistani feudal families such as the Jatois and the military elite while Pakistan’s leader ZA Bhutto presided over the destruction of the nascent industrial sector that had just started to take off under President Ayub in the 1960s. Like Tata & Birla, some of the Pakistani industrialists such as the Habibs and the Haroons helped in Pakistan’s independence movement and, immediately after independence, Habib Bank had bailed out Pakistan Government with a huge loan in its early days to cover its budget deficit. However, Bhutto showed no recognition of their help during his nationalization campaign in the 1970s. All of Bhutto’s favors were reserved for his feudal colleagues who assumed leadership positions in his administration. These are the conditions under which Pakistan could not move from feudal to industrial society and the middle class could not grow to sufficient strength to demand real democracy based on rule of law.

    Privatization in Pakistan:
    Nationalization had finally been recognized as a failure in Pakistan when Benazir Bhutto became prime minister in the early 1990s. During the two terms each of Benazir and Sharif, each embarked on rolling back ZA Bhutto-era nationalization by privatizing hundreds of industrial units. However, the privatization efforts by both have now been documented by author Shahid-ur-Rahman to be marred by massive corruption involving a giveaway of multi-million rupee units for the token prices of a few rupees. The sales of these units did not make even a small dent in the national debt.

    Pakistan Under Gen Musharraf:
    Since “Who Owns Pakistan” was published in 1999, the last eight years under Gen Musharraf have seen the return to annual economic growth of 6-8% with significant new domestic and foreign investment in industries, particularly telecommunications, financial services and infrastructure development. Pakistan’s GDP has more than doubled. The number of telephones has soared to 50 million from a mere 600,000 six years ago. The privatization of banks has led to a huge increase in the production and sales of cars, motorcycles and, perhaps most important, TV sets. From a strictly economic standpoint, military rule in Pakistan appears to have been a lesser evil. But, regardless of what one might think about the merits of military rule, Pakistan has seen significant growth under General Musharraf and his hand-picked Prime Minister Mr. Shaukat Aziz. By all accounts, the ranks of the middle class have been swelling in Pakistan during Gen Musharraf’s rule. According to Tara Vishwanath, the World Bank’s lead economist for South Asia, about 5% of Pakistanis have moved from the poor to the middle class in three years from 2001-2004, the most recent figures available. As expected, the prospering middle class has demanded more than just economic benefits. The middle class is now demanding democratic reform that bodes well for Pakistan in the long run. However, this class is still small relative to the population in Pakistan. It just needs to be cognizant that impatience on its part can roll back the gains made in the last eight years.
    The Higher Education Commission under Dr. Ata-ur-Rahman Khan has seen a tremendous increase in HEC budgets with the opening of dozens of new universities and large number of scholarships to study abroad. My hope is that, if the economic, education and industrial growth continues at the current pace for another decade, we can expect a much larger, more powerful middle class to emerge that will successfully challenge the feudal and military rule in the not-too-distant future in Pakistan. We might even see real land reform at some point to free the unwashed masses in rural and tribal Pakistan. Feudal system might even fizzle out by itself as the vast landholdings get distributed among the feudal offsprings over the next couple of generations.

    The Indian Exception:
    Among the less-developed nations in Asia and Africa such as India and Pakistan, India remains a unique example of a country that has only partially industrialized but it remains largely democratic in spite of the majority of its people not being served well by its successive governments. There seems to be only one plausible explanation for the Indian exception as a democracy: India’s sheer size and diversity make it very difficult for any military to govern it but I think the early and effective land reform in India has been one of the key factors in its ability to free the average people who chose to sustain democratic institutions over other alternatives. With the recent emergence of a powerful middle class in India, India’s democracy has been further strengthened.

    Pakistan remains decades behind India in establishing democratic institutions by failing to limit the power of the feudal lords,the military generals and the clerics.
    The recent economic growth has helped propel the middle class as evidenced by the growth of the media and the powerful resistance to military rule by the civil society including the lawyers, the media and various NGOs. However, the Pakistani middle class is still relatively small to bring about a fundamental change. It needs to grow at the current pace for at least another decade. The challenge for India is to enable sharing of its new-found wealth and opportunities with the rural folks who have not yet participated in India’s progress.”

    Posted 2 years ago on 16 Jul 2010 7:14 #
  2. I own Pakistan ….
    i own Pakistan very much..

    tommorow’s Pakistan is going to be mine .

    i will kick all the Bhuttos ,Zardaris ,Sharifs ,Walis ,Altafs, Qazis ,Fazloos and Pagaras out of this system .inshallah .

    Posted 2 years ago on 16 Jul 2010 7:43 #
  3. Thank you very much for this higly interesting thread. So we’re back to our main problem: we didn’t carry out that much-needed land reform. The Quaid-e-Azam’s untimely death, followed by Liaquat Ali Khan’s assassination account for it, I thinl. I’m not looking for excuses for Pakistan, please not to think. Just probing to see what went wrong at our inception. Thereafter no great leader emerged to put Pakistan before their own ego (Z.A. Bhutto), weakness or greed (all the others). Also, never to forget, by then we’d fallen into US hands and India had allied itself with the Soviet Union. One’s allies also have a great deal of influence on how a fledgling country progresses. And then, sometime midway, we all gave up and seemed to say Allah Malik.

    We all know the econ figures for the Musharraf years. They were repeated often enough at the time. If Musharraf had had the courage of those figures and not sold us out to our enemies, he might still have been the president of Pakistan.

    As things stand, whoever our new leader might be, we hope and pray he brings about that long awaited reform regarding land and adopts a combined nationalised (certain things should never, but never, be placed in the hands of a privileged few) and privatised accelarated industrialisation programme.

    Oh, and as to the thread question: the masses, but they don’t know it, so it’s the privileged few who have taken on ownership.

    P.S. Another comment which I forgot earlier on. I find all these comparisons with India very unnecessary and unfair. They were left with all their institutions, whatever their origin, intact. It’s we who had to start off from scratch. We had nothing, but nothing in our hands when we started off. We have still created a country of some stature out of of it. Only our political institutions failed all down the line. We’re still seeking the best way to go forward.

    Posted 2 years ago on 16 Jul 2010 8:58 #
  4. If anyone is interested, the book in question can be downloaded from Scribd

    I do COMPLETELY disagree with Mr Riaz’s take on the book:
    <blockkquote>While it singles out Z.A. Bhutto’s nationalization in the 1970s as the biggest culprit, it also includes a good description of how industrialization was stymied in Pakistan by successive governments while feudal rulers continued to take their toll on any middle class growth essential for civil society and democracy.

    Hoqwash. I will go further and say the fella HAS NOT EVEN READ THE BOOK and is basing his arguments on FALSE assumptions. His article might be OK on its own but offering the book by Mr. Shahid-ur-Rahman as ‘supporting material’ is all bvll!

    Posted 2 years ago on 16 Jul 2010 9:33 #
  5. Thanks for link.

    Posted 2 years ago on 16 Jul 2010 10:41 #
  6. Beginning of Bad Loans
    Bhutto’s nationalization has often been dubbed as the bureaucratization of banks and industries that gave birth to a breed of bureaucrats and politicians in business, and businessmen in politics. It is these two in one bureaucrats, politicians and businessmen who plundered Pakistan’s banking in post-Bhutto era and led the economy to present state of near collapse.

    One frequently hears the lament that Pakistan would have been the second Japan or an Asian tiger, ” had Z A Bhutto not happened to Pakistan”. But a country on way to becoming the tiger earned the nomenclature of ” a failed state” in such a short span, not merely because of nationalization but for host of indulgences by successive govts in recent past who had the historic opportunity to put things on track but instead have brought forward the day of reckoning by their misdeeds.

    The White paper on economy under Bhutto, released by General Zia ul Haq in 1979 had estimated that bad loans of Rs half million and above amounted to Rs 1,340 million including Rs 830 million of pre-nationalization era. In order to have a better perspective of who plundered the nationalized commercial banks and how, it is appropriate to reproduce the indictment of Z A Bhutto about the misuse of the banks, in White paper. It said ” the aggregate amount of advances of half million rupees and above which were classified as doubtful or irregular in the State Bank Inspection Report of December 31, 1975 is over Rs 1,340 million. Advances of half million rupees or above given by the banks after nationalization which have been found to be bad, doubtful or irregular abinitio amounted to Rs 510 million”.

    It also found that nationalized commercial banks sanctioned loans worth Rs 562 million under irresistible political and administrative pressure or influence between 1974-77 and major political beneficiaries included Jam Sadiq Ali, Abdullah Shah, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Makhdoom Talibul Maula and Mir Aijaz Ali Khan Talpur.

    Few years later, Zia ul Haq himself was accused by Benazir Bhutto of writing off loans and patronizing the gang of four (The Ittefaq group, The Chaudhries of Gujrat, Saifullahs and Basharat Elahi) who had allegedly monopolized the ban credit by securing loans worth Rs 19,200 million.

    In her speeches and press conferences Benazir vowed to recover the written off loans but when she came into power in 1988 and had the opportunity to do so, she herself indulged in a bonanza of writing off and rescheduling loans on an unprecedented scale.
    Who Owns Pakistan-Page93

    Posted 2 years ago on 16 Jul 2010 12:12 #
  7. “Who owns Pakistan”?

    Well Islam kay Thekay-Dars of course!

    And here is the EULA that the unfortunate people of Pakistan signed with the Thekay-Dars (who were busy opposing the enterprise at the time, incidentally, but we’ll ignore that key fact for now) at the time of the creation of this nation:

    “Pakistan ka matlab kiya? <insert your favorite phrase here>”

    The. End.

    Posted 2 years ago on 16 Jul 2010 12:46 #
  8. gv


    good to see you commenting again.. a little more would not go amiss…

    Posted 2 years ago on 16 Jul 2010 12:58 #
  9. @gv

    hey hey hey! good to see you too man! I’m trying to “participate” some… again … 🙂

    Posted 2 years ago on 16 Jul 2010 13:19 #
  10. Qalma’go

    I have downloaded the book ‘Who Owns Pakistan’. Thanks for the link.

    Posted 2 years ago on 16 Jul 2010 13:27 #
  11. seems an interesting book…

    Posted 2 years ago on 16 Jul 2010 13:43 #
  12. Hussain Farooqui

    Pakistan belongs to all the poor and middle class people of the country. We have to get rid of jagirdars, waderas, sardars, dirty politicans , corrupt judicary and civil service to claim our rights These elements are the userpers of our society.

    Posted 2 years ago on 17 Jul 2010 7:10 #
  13. HK, Just one question: HOW? Through a revolution? And if so, who starts it? And how does it proceed?

    Posted 2 years ago on 17 Jul 2010 8:46 #

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