Understanding Pakistan Project Team August 20th, 2007
Guest Post By: Anonymous
Dr. Mahbubul Haq (figure-right)–an eminent development economist from Pakistan who is considered one of the founders of the Human Development Theory and who along with Nobel Laurette Amertya Sen of India created the Human Development Index–who was, most ironically, General Zia-ul-Haq’s Finance Minister (1982-84) is known to have said that twenty-two families controlled 66% of Pakistan’s total industrial assets, 70% of insurance, and 80% of all banking assets in Pakistan at the height of Ayub’s power. While these claims have remain unsubstantiated (Zaidi, 1999), there is little doubt that Pakistan experienced considerable concentration of wealth–by both legal and illegal means–in the 1960s and beyond. Rashid Amjad’s work on industrial concentration in Pakistan considerable evidence in his own research.
Who were these 22 families that Mahbub-Ul-Haq hinted at? Nobody knows for sure for he did not disclose the names. But here is a list of 40 of the richest families in Pakistan today that I found from somewhere on the web. Despite my efforts, I could not find a credible source for this essay. Since the data is unsubstantiated–and somewhat subjective–I would advise readers to take it with a grain of salt. However, it puts some nice context around the discussion on Ayub’s economic policies and the “monopoly houses” that immensely profitted from these. Inclusion in this list–which corresponds to 40 richest families of today, not necessarily during Ayub’s time (but there are overlaps and it might be useful to analyze during what periods of time each of these families accumulates their wealth and their political connections with those regimes)–is not a reflection on the whether the wealth was accumulated by legal or illegal means. Indeed, founders of some of these families have played an important at critical moments of Pakistan’s history. That can’t be said about all of them and we leave the judgement to our readers and the future historians.
Anyways, here is the list… Continue Reading »