The Elite and the Masses

In form, Pakistan is a democracy; in practice, it is an oligarchy. The ruling groups – civil servants, politicians, lawyers, and a few industrialists, educators, and military officers – have much in common. All can speak English and are familiar with English law, history, and customs; most have been educated in England. Members of this ruling class tend to have a secular rather than a religious or parochial approach to most important problems and are characterized by a vested interest in the success, stability, and permanence of Pakistan. Most live well, travel widely, and have several servants. Perhaps one person in ten thousand will be a member of this influential group.

There is another educated class in Pakistan, considerably larger in size, that does not live so well. The majority are clerks who work in the cities and whose low income barely suffices to pay the costs of an urban existence in a period of slowly rising prices, Petty officials, school teachers, and small shopkeepers also belong to this class, which comprises between 1 and 2 per cent of the working population.
The overwhelming proportion of Pakistan’s citizens is in a third category. They strive merely to exist. They till the soil, perform menial and manual tasks of all kinds, live in an isolated village or an urban slum, visit the mosque and the bazaar, and pass their days in the customary pattern of family and village existence. They accept guidance from those more fortunate but in times of illness or famine rarely seek such guidance. Their way of life has not changed appreciably through the centuries, nor is it likely to change in the immediate future. Their primary concern is obtaining food, water, a small quantity of cloth, and shelter from the weather.
Both the first and the third groups are conservative, for different reasons: the first group has a vested interest in things as they are; the third group is too concerned with survival and too ignorant and isolated to press for change. Any radical political movements would probably get the most sympathetic hearing from those in the second category, which is restive and dissatisfied but not yet politically powerful.
To raise the living standards of the masses requires the greatest diligence and patience on the path of those who direct and operate the government, industry, and education institutions. The country’s resources are marginal at best. There is a shortage of skilled personnel of all types, yet those who are skilled often fail to find suitable jobs. There are signs that too few fully understand the importance of acting in “the public interest.” Pakistan’s future status as a nation may largely depend on the ability of those in positions of influence to place the public interest first even though it may conflict with their immediate personal interests and security.

A chapter from a book printed some 43 years ago, still holds so much truth about our society. Looks like nothing has changed in the last 4 decades and we are still the same exact nation as we were.. or even worst.

Some Aspects of Contemporary Pakistani Society
NOTE: I will be posting some more chapters from the book as I find time..

15 Comments so far

  1. danny (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 8:07 am

    Nice post. Who is the book by? And where is it available? Any publisher info?

  2. MB (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 8:37 am

    Nice one
    More info needed

  3. AhZen (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 9:56 am

    good post…and yes it has been the dilemma of pakistan since the beginning….Surprisingly india has been able to eliminate to quite an extent of that landlordism from where it actually started…they no longer hav the circulation of education of the highest standards within a certain group of people….health & education is being provided to the masses……We cannot eliminate it until we kill that “SAHABPAN” in us….itz a fact that we cannot tolerate the lower class to excel and come up to the same level as ours….we would want that the next generation of our servants should keep on serving our next generation….their sons n daughter shouldnt get the same quality of education….huh…let alone same quality…not even “SOME QUALITY”

  4. Poo Poo head (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 10:06 am

    Sufi, please. This is Khi blog, not some socio econo blog. This post has nothing to do with Khi. I did not expect such lame post from you.

    And now plz. do not act like MB and come up with new theories to defend yourself. Admit you made a mistake and then move on. We all be happy that way.

  5. Sufi (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 10:11 am

    pph, u know u r right. I was gona try to post it at but then it seemed like a long process..

    that said, it still is very relevant to Karachi.

    Besides, mein bhi insaan hon, I have the right to make lame posts as well :P

  6. TURAB (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 10:47 am

    wwah jee wwaah kya teer mara hai!

  7. mansoor (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 11:06 am

    sufi: “mein bhi insaan hon, I have the right to make lame posts as well :P” LOLLL!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. mansoor (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 11:07 am

    PPH: your alive!!!! missed you here yaar! although adnan and mb tried the cynicism routine, they just weren’t as fun as you :p

    and to think i just thought about that yesterday.. :p welcome baq! may your cynicism come with extra crappy sauce :D

  9. KHI_D (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 11:12 am

    SUFI ….tu itna purana insaan hai….u r bringing 4 decades old book to ppl

  10. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 11:37 am

    Sufi, I meant to ask you this, at your Karachi Pictures post, but somehow forgot about it.

    My question is that do you have permission from the book’s publishers or the author to reproduce verbatim from these books?

  11. Darthvader (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 11:51 am

    @Sufi : not that i know you or anything but c’mon man . you pulled a very Unaiza/Henna type of stunt here . and i thought you were the “Last of the Mohicans ” if you will…………….



  12. Poo Poo head (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 7:05 pm

    Sufi, I have now more respect for you honestly. Live and learn my friend.

    Mansoor, I was travelling so did not get a chance to log on here and yah I will write my travellogue soon :-)

  13. Omar R. Quraishi (unregistered) on February 15th, 2007 @ 8:10 am

    educated in england? its probably america as well

  14. Nadir (unregistered) on February 15th, 2007 @ 6:05 pm

    There is inequality in all countries. Pakistan is actually better than most countries in this regard. Compare Pakistan with some large Latin American countries like Brazil, Argentina, or Mexico, or look at most sub-Saharan African countries.

    From :

    “Pakistan has no individual with as much as a billion US dollars, according to Forbes magazine, and has the distinction of being (by population) the largest nation to have no billionaires. Among countries that have never had billionaires, Pakistan has the largest economy.”

    Look at this list of countries ranked by economic equality :

    Notice that among countries with over 100 million people, only Japan has a better equality score than Pakistan.

  15. Sami (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2007 @ 8:13 pm

    Pakistan has a middle class of approx. 30 million peoples if defined as incomes of $10,000 or more in PPP terms.

    That structyre alluded to in the opening post is broadly true, a privelaged elite, an industrial class below them, coupled with the professional class, and then a mass of poor. Pakistan’s poverty rate is about 25% now, still far too much but progress is being made.

    Believe in the dream.

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