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The Dynastic Republic of Pakistan

Falcon26

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I found this discussion really interesting. I wasn’t aware how deeply entrenched dynastic politics was in Pakistan. But this discussion opened my eyes and I found it insightful.

The two gentlemen seem to have a deep understanding of the myriad ways dynastic politics has eroded Pakistan’s capacity to be a great nation. Unfortunately, like many others, they are entrapped by privilege and bias. It’s this bias that leads them to faulty conclusions.

For example, they conclude that the antidote to dynastic politics is more urbanization; because urbanized people are less likely to be under the sway of feudalism. But then, in the same breathe conclude that PTI, the party whose center of gravity is urban areas should be defeated and that this defeat should be led by the anti Pakistan movement (PDM) which is led by two kids who inherited power from their parents.

Anyways, it’s a fascinating discussion and helps highlight the contradictions of the elite in Pakistan and how they are or just beneficiaries of the system they rile Against, but in fact, it’s main intellectual sustainers

The Dynastic Republic of Pakistan

With elite families having a firm grip on the levers of power, can Pakistan truly become a representative democracy?
Uzair YounusOct 25
Indian Paintings
Political dynasties exist all over the world. From the Gandhi family in India to the Kennedy or Bush families in the United States, most political systems at one point or another get dominated by dynasties. Even China’s Xi Jinping could be loosely defined as a dynast — his father was Vice Chairperson of the National People's Congress.

Pakistan, however, is unique in the way its political system works. While many of us see political parties, particularly the PML-N and the PPP, as dynastic ones, the reality is that the entire system is dominated by dynasties, particularly in Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan.

To understand how this system works and guards its interests, I invited Dr. Hassan Javid to the podcast. Dr. Javid, an Associate Professor of Sociology at LUMS, has conducted some phenomenal research on democratization and the relationship between class, power, and the state.





You should take out the time to watch the complete discussion, but here I will share a few interesting and important facts Dr. Javid shared on the podcast.

Dynasties are pervasive across the system
Dr. Javid’s research shows that about 400 families have dominated Punjab’s political system since the 1970s, with electable / dynastic candidates often moving from one party to another based on the shifting sands of power in the country.

The PTI is no different, with research showing that over 80 percent of the party’s winning candidates in the 2018 elections in Punjab were dynasts. A significant proportion of these candidates recently defected to the party, meaning that they did not have any ideological commitment to what the PTI stands for.

Dr. Javid described this dependence on dynastic politicians as a chicken and egg problem: to win elections, parties need the support of influential families. Those that put newer candidates on the party ticket - something the PTI did in 2013 - find themselves outcompeted and outmaneuvered. The result is an electoral race to the bottom, where parties must seek to gain the support of dynasties across the country.

This system of influence has spread its tentacles across other organs of the state, with members of the most influential dynasties having familial links into the bureaucracy, judiciary, and the security establishment.

It is these linkages, not just money, that makes dynastic politicians important to the political party seeking to come into power.

The status quo guards its interests, not yours
With dynasts dominating the system, reform, especially progressive reform that delivers equitable and sustainable economic growth, remains a pipe dream. This is why rent-seeking lobbies like the sugar lobby continue to extract money and resources from the state, despite widespread economic consensus that the sector needs serious reforms.

While the country suffers one economic crisis after another, life for these dynasties remains good; in fact, it keeps getting better. So there is no incentive to reform or help out the masses in any major way.

Additionally, the structure of the political economy is such that the voter blocs commanded by the dynasties expect some sort of political patronage: voters rely on the well-connected and well-heeled dynast on everything from helping out at the thana to greasing the wheels of the system to provide things like gas connections.

Many think that the voters make the choice to vote for the dynast due to ignorance about their own interests. But this is not true: the voters make a very calculated choice, recognizing that a weak and inefficient state cannot provide them the things they need. But the dynast can.

So how do things change?
I asked Dr. Javid this question and his response was quite depressing: it will be a long, painful slog to change the structures of Pakistan’s political economy. While urbanization weakens the traditional linkages that perpetuate dynastic politics, the reality is that the status quo has a firm grip on power. Additionally, successive attempts by the security establishment to intervene in the political process actually reinforces the dynastic system — pushing these electable politicians into preferred political parties reinforces their power and establishes them as the “swing bloc” in elections.

The goal then, must be to promote pro-poor parties and make efforts to organize people around a progressive economic agenda. But even there, the status quo dominates and has proven quite effective in clamping down on any outside efforts to rally voters to a pro-poor economic cause.

I learnt a lot during this conversation, but it thoroughly depressed me. I do not have much to share in terms of solutions or a path forward. I will just say that the way the system is stacked up, it seems highly unlikely that Pakistan’s masses will be ruled by a system that truly cares about making their lives better.

 

gangsta_rap

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The PTI is no different, with research showing that over 80 percent of the party’s winning candidates in the 2018 elections in Punjab were dynasts. A significant proportion of these candidates recently defected to the party, meaning that they did not have any ideological commitment to what the PTI stands for.

big problem
feudals need to be clamped
 

Indus Pakistan

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Nope. Low general IQ is the problem
Disagree. The twin evils are. Poor education and too much religion. Improve education. Pull people away from the sway of the mullah. And watch how things begin improving.
I found this discussion really interesting. I wasn’t aware how deeply entrenched dynastic politics was in Pakistan. But this discussion opened my eyes and I found it insightful.

The two gentlemen seem to have a deep understanding of the myriad ways dynastic politics has eroded Pakistan’s capacity to be a great nation. Unfortunately, like many others, they are entrapped by privilege and bias. It’s this bias that leads them to faulty conclusions.

For example, they conclude that the antidote to dynastic politics is more urbanization; because urbanized people are less likely to be under the sway of feudalism. But then, in the same breathe conclude that PTI, the party whose center of gravity is urban areas should be defeated and that this defeat should be led by the anti Pakistan movement (PDM) which is led by two kids who inherited power from their parents.

Anyways, it’s a fascinating discussion and helps highlight the contradictions of the elite in Pakistan and how they are or just beneficiaries of the system they rile Against, but in fact, it’s main intellectual sustainers

The Dynastic Republic of Pakistan

With elite families having a firm grip on the levers of power, can Pakistan truly become a representative democracy?
Uzair YounusOct 25
Indian Paintings
Political dynasties exist all over the world. From the Gandhi family in India to the Kennedy or Bush families in the United States, most political systems at one point or another get dominated by dynasties. Even China’s Xi Jinping could be loosely defined as a dynast — his father was Vice Chairperson of the National People's Congress.

Pakistan, however, is unique in the way its political system works. While many of us see political parties, particularly the PML-N and the PPP, as dynastic ones, the reality is that the entire system is dominated by dynasties, particularly in Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan.

To understand how this system works and guards its interests, I invited Dr. Hassan Javid to the podcast. Dr. Javid, an Associate Professor of Sociology at LUMS, has conducted some phenomenal research on democratization and the relationship between class, power, and the state.





You should take out the time to watch the complete discussion, but here I will share a few interesting and important facts Dr. Javid shared on the podcast.

Dynasties are pervasive across the system
Dr. Javid’s research shows that about 400 families have dominated Punjab’s political system since the 1970s, with electable / dynastic candidates often moving from one party to another based on the shifting sands of power in the country.

The PTI is no different, with research showing that over 80 percent of the party’s winning candidates in the 2018 elections in Punjab were dynasts. A significant proportion of these candidates recently defected to the party, meaning that they did not have any ideological commitment to what the PTI stands for.

Dr. Javid described this dependence on dynastic politicians as a chicken and egg problem: to win elections, parties need the support of influential families. Those that put newer candidates on the party ticket - something the PTI did in 2013 - find themselves outcompeted and outmaneuvered. The result is an electoral race to the bottom, where parties must seek to gain the support of dynasties across the country.

This system of influence has spread its tentacles across other organs of the state, with members of the most influential dynasties having familial links into the bureaucracy, judiciary, and the security establishment.

It is these linkages, not just money, that makes dynastic politicians important to the political party seeking to come into power.

The status quo guards its interests, not yours
With dynasts dominating the system, reform, especially progressive reform that delivers equitable and sustainable economic growth, remains a pipe dream. This is why rent-seeking lobbies like the sugar lobby continue to extract money and resources from the state, despite widespread economic consensus that the sector needs serious reforms.

While the country suffers one economic crisis after another, life for these dynasties remains good; in fact, it keeps getting better. So there is no incentive to reform or help out the masses in any major way.

Additionally, the structure of the political economy is such that the voter blocs commanded by the dynasties expect some sort of political patronage: voters rely on the well-connected and well-heeled dynast on everything from helping out at the thana to greasing the wheels of the system to provide things like gas connections.

Many think that the voters make the choice to vote for the dynast due to ignorance about their own interests. But this is not true: the voters make a very calculated choice, recognizing that a weak and inefficient state cannot provide them the things they need. But the dynast can.

So how do things change?
I asked Dr. Javid this question and his response was quite depressing: it will be a long, painful slog to change the structures of Pakistan’s political economy. While urbanization weakens the traditional linkages that perpetuate dynastic politics, the reality is that the status quo has a firm grip on power. Additionally, successive attempts by the security establishment to intervene in the political process actually reinforces the dynastic system — pushing these electable politicians into preferred political parties reinforces their power and establishes them as the “swing bloc” in elections.

The goal then, must be to promote pro-poor parties and make efforts to organize people around a progressive economic agenda. But even there, the status quo dominates and has proven quite effective in clamping down on any outside efforts to rally voters to a pro-poor economic cause.

I learnt a lot during this conversation, but it thoroughly depressed me. I do not have much to share in terms of solutions or a path forward. I will just say that the way the system is stacked up, it seems highly unlikely that Pakistan’s masses will be ruled by a system that truly cares about making their lives better.

Fantastic synopsis of what ails Pakistan. You don't need to read a book. This article is enough. I would add though that religion is also a factor in perpetuating this dynastic political economy.
 

Microsoft

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Disagree. The twin evils are. Poor education and too much religion are the problem. Improve education. Pull people away from the sway of the mullah. And watch how things begin improving.
I think just by improving education would do the job. Religion is fine to continue alongside, it promotes a relatively strong bond between peoples of different provinces.
 

Indus Pakistan

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I think just by improving education would do the job
I suppose widespread education that opens minds would reduce the hold of the mullah anyway. You see that in Turkey and other Muslim countries with very high literacy and education level.

it promotes a relatively strong bond between peoples of different provinces.
Honestly this idea of "religion as a glue" does not hold water and is a myth that has taken hold. If religion was as people claim then it would dissolve the Durand Line and conjoin us with the Islamic lands to west of us. As you know that is not quite the case.

What holds Pakistan is the administrative architecture and the military handed down to us by the Raj. This reinforced by the common economic prosperity this brings. The British Raj lasted for over 150 years and it held together Tibeto-Mongol Burmans with Iranic Baluch with Bhuddist Ladakhi with Hindu Tamils and everything inbetween which today is housed in Myanmar, Bangla, India, Pakistan. Pakistan is 70 years old and alread it suffered one breakup. The Raj was around for twice this timeframe. Yet it held together a galaxy of peoples.
 

gangsta_rap

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I think just by improving education would do the job. Religion is fine to continue alongside, it promotes a relatively strong bond between peoples of different provinces.
too much religion. Improve education. Pull people away from the sway of the mullah. And watch how things begin improving.
The most democratic party in Pakistan is Jamat e Islami. It is also the premier religiously motivated party in Pakistan.
The most feudal and archaic party in Pakistan is the secular-leaning PPP which will never shed it's dynastic nature nor will it ever toss out the feudals from leadership.
 

Yankee-stani

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Dawg, White people are the problem.
Yo dawg whitey need to be put in camps son all hail the Kara Boga
The most democratic party in Pakistan is Jamat e Islami. It is also the premier religiously motivated party in Pakistan.
The most feudal and archaic party in Pakistan is the secular-leaning PPP which will never shed it's dynastic nature nor will it ever toss out the feudals from leadership.
All Political Parties in Pakistan are garbage and only care in looting the country
I think just by improving education would do the job. Religion is fine to continue alongside, it promotes a relatively strong bond between peoples of different provinces.
There also needs to be a framing of what National Identity Pakistan strives to be our people would rather shine shoes for Turks now first ot was Arabs now Turks cause they are Muslim bros and shiett mentality while the Turk and Arab laugh behind our back
 

gangsta_rap

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All Political Parties in Pakistan are garbage and only care in looting the country

yes that's true. JI keeps shooting it's own foot and they are stuck in the past. It's either dynasties or dumbas$es.

Since JI is basically a local chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood (very much like Erdogan's AKP in Turkey) I wish they would take some inspiration from their colleagues in Turkey and modernize themselves - but they won't do that for obvious reasons.
 

Yankee-stani

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I suppose widespread education that opens minds would reduce the hold of the mullah anyway. You see that in Turkey and other Muslim countries with very high literacy and education level.

Honestly this idea of "religion as a glue" does not hold water and is a myth that has taken hold. If religion was as people claim then it would dissolve the Durand Line and conjoin us with the Islamic lands to west of us. As you know that is not quite the case.
.

Shirvan from Caspian Report he is Azerbaijani btw he did a excellent report about when Pakistan did try to insert itself into Eurasia in post Soviet Vaccum of the early to mid 1990s and it failed ver miserably because we had nothing to offer but Tablighis and mullahs no wonder China,and Turkey inserted much easier and Russia despite its demographic decline in those ex republics still sway a lot in terms of geo politics
yes that's true. JI keeps shooting it's own foot and they are stuck in the past. It's either dynasties or dumbas$es.

Since JI is basically a local chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood (very much like Erdogan's AKP in Turkey) I wish they would take some inspiration from their colleagues in Turkey and modernize themselves - but they won't do that for obvious reasons.
I doubt it we need new political parties and politicians down with all these parties
 

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The poor are also part of problem as they don't want change and if given chance they will be more or less be the same
 

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