Former Finance Minister and estranged PML-N leader Miftah Ismail delivered a presentation in London where he discussed the issue of elite capture in Pakistan and its implications on various sectors. The event was jointly organised by Bloomsbury Pakistan, SOAS Pakistan Discussion Forum and SOAS ICOP Student Society.
During his talk, Ismail highlighted the fundamental issues that have hindered Pakistan from becoming an economically robust country and part of the global supply chain. He pointed out the vast difference between the quality of education provided in public and private elite schools, which has resulted in speaking English becoming a gatekeeping function.
Miftah Ismail criticised the dominance of families in the political arena, as well as the elite capture of the industrial sector, where he pointed out that “10 groups control 38% of the industry.” He also drew attention to the concentration of wealth in the country, which has remained unchanged over the past 50 years, unlike the United States, where new faces have emerged as wealthy individuals.
The former finance minister also pointed out the culture of elite capture in the bureaucracy and military, which eventually perpetuate the same system at the senior officer level. He stressed that the Pakistani state is ineffective because the elite are content with their status quo.
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Miftah Ismail argued that Pakistan’s growing population and terrorism were significant factors that hindered economic growth. He urged the need for a “governing philosophy” to decide on subsidies and their impact on economic growth and social justice.
He concluded by stating that if Pakistan can achieve this, it will create a Pakistan to be proud of. Ismail’s presentation shed light on the significant challenges faced by Pakistan and the need for collective efforts to address them.