Is Pakistan moving towards a revolt against elite? AK Haider

by Tauqeer Abbas

Anti-eliteism has been an intellectual part of the progressive left, liberal academics and every social movement in the world, and Pakistan has deep roots in it.

Unlike many developing countries, including India and other South Asian states, Pakistan is primarily a feudal and tribal country. Not that the social structures of others are different – but in the case of Pakistan, it is the dominant social and political formation.

People considered to be low in the social hierarchy are usually meek and passive, and see their plight as fate determined by forces over which they have no control.

Relations between landlords and peasants, commoners and rulers, kings and subjects, and the political class and the common man remain stable as long as there is some sense of justice, legality and general acceptance. All anti-elite rebellions and revolutions have ultimately faced the fundamental truth – the right to rule.

As we see in Pakistan today, the social, economic and political system has lost its legitimacy.

There is no longer an intellectual standing on a street corner questioning the concentration of wealth, the lives of the privileged or the power of the powerful. Rather, it is the common man who is tearing electricity bills on the streets, setting fire to government vehicles with green number plates and besieging the offices of electricity distribution companies.

This protest is not just against electricity bills. It is a reflection of deep anger, frustration and resentment against the ruling class or elite in Pakistan. This protest is spreading like wildfire, and it is dangerous, because it seems to be happening spontaneously without a leader or a political party.

The reason is clear: political parties, dominated by hereditary political elites at all levels, are part of a system of privilege, power and access to public resources.

Another reason for the difficulties Pakistan is going through is the unfair terms and conditions signed by the major political parties in the power purchase agreements with the power generation companies.

Interestingly, the mainstream media organizes celebrity political talk shows, but does not include critical voices.

Meanwhile, on alternative digital media platforms, official and elite-controlled truth has been under sustained attack for a long time and the effects are visible.

The ruling elites are squeezing public money for more privileges and benefits, and the bureaucracy, military and politicians have created a gulf between themselves and the common people.

The disparity of wealth in society is very old, and goes back to the era of Ayub Khan, when the country’s most famous former Chief Economist, Dr. Mehboobul Haq of the Planning Commission of Pakistan, divided two-thirds of Pakistan’s industrial sector, 80% of the banking sector. percent and talked about only 22 families controlling 79 percent of the insurance.

This sparked a major political debate on the ‘Decade of Development’.

Now there was a leader and a new party to turn popular resentment against Ayub Khan into electoral success.This time, there are two big changes.

Firstly, no one is talking about the industrial class, but the political class, including all its parties, bureaucracy, state-owned companies and establishments.

There is one more change. All of them are seen as part of a single ruling class whose interests are intertwined, part of nepotism and hybridism, i.e. the dominant influence of the military in politics.

This system of intermingled elites has created two Pakistans, one of which is benefiting from it and the other is the common people who are suffering from it.

The ruling class lives in the best part of the city, they have huge financial benefits, they get properties in housing societies, free accommodation, free expensive cars, free oil, free electricity and free treatment in foreign countries.

Apart from this, every department of the state has its own housing society, which is the largest and only business in Pakistan.

There is no precedent in parliamentary history when the country is burdened with debt and its members are afforded huge pensions and families can travel abroad.

With alternative media, narratives targeting elites and their privileged positions in society are increasingly popular. Since all the breaking news is related to rise in oil and power prices, depreciation of rupee and increase in inflation, their impact is huge.

The ruling classes are blamed in everyday normal conversation and it is becoming more and more aggressive. This time, they are not waiting for anyone, and if they take matters into their own hands, there will be a lot of chaos, fire, smoke and destruction.

Shafaqna Pakistan

Note; Shafaqna do not endorse the views expressed in the article 

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