Dr Khalil's Intellectual Space

Pak Political Economy +

Dr Khalil's Intellectual Space

Pak Political Economy +

The Rise of State Aristocracy in Pakistan – Reviews

This book was published by Alternate Solutions Institute in February this year. Originally it is in Urdu, Pakistan Mein Riyasti Ashrafiya Ka Urooj.

After the Media Release announcing the publication of the book was made, I sent its copies to prominent newspapers, journals, and eminent intellectuals and writers for the purpose of review. However, no one bothered even to acknowledge the receipt of the book except Dr. Tariq Rahman, who called me and told that he had received the book.
Here are the reviews done:
The day (February 21) the Media Release was issued, I received a call from Business Recorder. Its senior reporter, Mohammad Rafique Goraya asked me to send copies of the book; he wanted to review it in the Business Review. On March 3, a review was published.
In The Express Tribune, on April 23, Ali Salman in his article, Rental Power Saga – Court gives an economic paper instead of a legal order, makes the following mention:
“In private sector firms are able to function, profit and even steal, the blame should really be on the state for failing to arrest corruption. As the libertarian thinker Khalil Ahmad argues in his latest book on the rise of state aristocracy in Pakistan, responsibility of our crisis should be fixed on the watchmen, and not on thieves. A society which declares its businessmen thieves, and spares the watchmen, can deserve only perpetual darkness.”  
Another mention was made by Huzaima Bukhari & Dr. Ikramul Haq, in their article, Budget for the Ashrafia, in Business Recorder on June 8.
“In his book Pakistan: Economy of Elitist State, Dr Ishrat Husain has observed that in sharp contrast to the East Asian model of ‘shared growth’, based on rapid economic development coupled with a rapid reduction in poverty and more equitable distribution of the benefits of development in Pakistan, the elitist model confers political and economic powers to a small coterie of elite (parasites). While commenting upon Dr Ishrat’s work, Dr Khalil Ahmad of Alternate Solutions Institute, in his recent book, Pakistan Main Riasti Ashrafia ka Urooj (Rise of State Elitism in Pakistan), published in February 2012, has also concluded that Pakistan is presently owned and exploited by ‘state elites’ whereas it should belong to all.”
On July 31st, Saadullah Jan Barq, the famous columnist, in his Urdu column, Zair-e-Lab, talked about the book in laudatory terms, while the correct title of the book was missing; the column was titled as Paksitan Mein Siyasi Ashrafiya Ka Urooj. In it, intellectual and philosophical content of the book found a specific mention.
In an Urdu weekly, Hum Shehri (August 10-16), Liaqat Ali Advocate reviewed the book. This review highlights various important theses of the book, such as philosophical substantiation of the institution of rule of law in Pakistan as an instrument of dismantling the State Aristocracy’s network. Here is the scanned image of the review:
On August 13, Shakil Ahmad reviewed the book in detail in Daily MashriqPeshawar, and talked about the potential of the book to bring change in the Pakistani society. Here is the scanned image of the review:
On October 7, a short and mutilated introduction (copy-paste of the review by Liaqat Ali Advocate) appeared in the Urdu daily, Waqt. Here is the image:
Recently a friend informed that there has appeared a short introduction of the book on www.bbc.com/urdu. Yeah, under October 10 listings, a good tantalizing introduction appeared on the BBC website.
My thanks are due to all these reviewers!
However, I still crave for a worth-while review of the book!
Let me mention one episode there; it reflects on the intellectual state of our society. One of my good acquaintances, an artist most of the Urdu book titles published from Lahore are designed by him, asked: whether the book has been reviewed in this, or in that paper, etc. I told: No! He told, “They won’t. Get prepared a few reviews of the book, and give me along with some copies of the book. When someone visits me, I’ll give that to him and hope they will publish it. Otherwise, no one would do it.” I don’t believe in such tactics, I apologized!
Here is a recap of the previous post about the book:
Some of the important points discussed in the book, The Rise of State Aristocracy in Pakistan:

First, the book tries to argue that rule of this or that class, such as rule of the proletariat, puts one class in conflict with the other classes, and does not resolve the problem.  Also that it’s not the issue who should rule; rather the issue is: how to rule. So, what is needed are “just rules” (or say “just laws”) which favor none, and are based on inalienable individual rights, and protect these rights. That may bring the whole society to a harmonious state: where there exists no rule of person or persons, or any class.

Second, in addition to rules (laws), the book considers the emergence of the institution of the state as a great step ahead in the progress of humankind, and that the foremost purpose of the state is to protect the individuals’ person and property and his rights or freedoms. This it does by formulating just rules and just laws, and by implementation them indiscriminately. Which is not the case in Pakistan!

Third, I have built my thesis of Riyasti Ashrafiya on the important work of Dr. Ishrat Hussain. His book, Pakistan: the Economy of an Elitist State, first published in 1999, analyzes the workings of Pakistan’s economy and comes out with the thesis: “The capture of the institutions of the state and the market by the elite is complete.”  In his subsequent articles, Dr. Ishrat has endorsed this thesis. But as far as his solution or the “reform agenda” is concerned, the book suggests it is Ashrafi (Aristocrtic, elitist), i.e. it does keep the Ashrafi capture of the state intact.

Fourth, that pre-modern Ashrafiya used to derive its power and authority from various distinctions, such as racial superiority, divine sanction; while the Riyasti Ashrafiya or State Aristocracy (or Pakistani Ashrafiya) derives its power and authority from the State. Be it wealth or clout, privileges or subsidies, the Ashrafiya through the State, appropriates everything for itself.

Fifth, thus this book holds Pakistani Ashrafiya as the biggest obstacle in the way of the supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law in Pakistan; and also a hurdle in the creation of wealth in Pakistan since it favors special interests. The book demonstrates that the Pakistani Ashrafiya lives via its capture of the state, state institutions, and the resources of the state. The heart of the Pakistani Ashrafiya, i.e. Politicians, the Establishment, and the Bureaucracy, have made the constitution subservient to their interests; resources of the state and the wealth created by the citizens of Pakistan their relish; whereas security of fundamental rights, i.e. security of person and property and rights to the ordinary citizens is almost an impossibility. What comes to the lot of the ordinary citizens is endless sufferings at the doors of government offices, the courts, and the polling stations.

Sixth, the book also takes notice of the existence of Two Pakistans, a necessary consequence of Ashrafi capture of the state and its resources. In most of the big cities, in terms of social services, such as potable water, sanitation, public transport, paved roads, street lights, library, parks, playing grounds, two cities may be seen existing: one with no services at all, or with very low standard of services; and one with good quality services.  The book makes a case for an amendment in the constitution so that these social services with a standard of quality may be guaranteed to all the citizens wherever they live in Pakistan. That does not amount to burdening the public sector, but essentially bringing in the private sector to produce these services with government playing the supervisory and regulatory role.

Seventh, the book puts the blame for this formation of the Riyasti Ashrafiya, and then capture of the state and market by this Ashrafiya, on the shoulders of the politicians and political parties. I have written in detail about this crime of the politicians and the political parties in my Urdu blog as well, and in my forthcoming book, Siyasi Partian Ya Siyasi Bandobast: Pakistani Siyasat Ke Pech-o-Kham Ka Falsafiyana Muhakma (Political Parties or Political Arrangements: A Philosophical Analysis of Politics in Pakistan). But nobody seems to buy the point. The dominant view incriminates the Pakistan Army for all the ills facing Pakistani citizens.
The book dwells on its explanation also: it is politicians and political parties which make constitution and make amendments in the constitution; it is they who contest elections, and come to rule and make economic policies. In short, it is they who are constitutionally responsible to rule. Not the Army. If they submit their political and constitutional will to the Army, it is their fault. When they are pressured, for instance, by the Army, they never resign and come back to the citizens, who empower them to rule. The day they realize the source of their power are the citizens of Pakistan, they will be empowered.

Eighth, the book also shows a way to transform the Ashrafi Pakistan into Everyone’s Pakistan by ensuring personal freedom and along with it economic freedom to all the citizens without any discrimination. It invites all the classes and groupings of Pakistan to the cause of rule of the constitution and the law; and exhorts them to stay on a singular achievement of human civilization, i.e. law.

Finally, the author thinks that humanity is entering a new Age of Rules, superseding the Age of Ideologies, and the present book derives its inspiration from the same enlightenment.
© The Blogger
All rights reserved. No part of the contents published on this Blog – Notes from Pakistan may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of The Blogger.
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

[…] at the lifestyle of the state oligarchy, the riyasati ashrafiya, when the vast majority of the people are starving. The grim truth of Pakistan is the rulers’ and […]


[…] coterie of elite (parasites). While quoting Dr. Ishrat’s work, Dr. Khalil Ahmad, in his book, Pakistan Mein Siyasi Ashrafiya Ka Urooj (Rise of State Oligarchy in Pakistan), has also concluded that Pakistan is presently owned and […]