Pakistan: Elitism and Nepotism Culture 


Will Pakistan’s Government and Private Institutions survive it

A Catalyst for Discontentment amongst Youth

Elitism and nepotism have long plagued Pakistan’s government and private institutions, perpetuating a system that prioritizes privilege and connections over merit and competence. This article explores the detrimental effects of these practices, highlighting the widespread discontentment and dissatisfaction they generate among the country’s youth. Additionally, it addresses the concerning role of the military in securing positions of power, further exacerbating the issue of unfair opportunities for deserving candidates.

Government Institutions:

Political Appointments: Political parties in power often resort to nepotism and favoritism, appointing relatives and close associates to influential positions without considering qualifications or experience. This undermines the principles of meritocracy and compromises the delivery of effective governance.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed his daughter Maryam Nawaz as the leader of the PML-N’s youth wing, while his brother Shehbaz Sharif, who previously held the office of Punjab Chief Minister, is currently the country’s Prime Minister.

Bureaucratic Culture: Government bureaucracy in Pakistan is often criticized for being entrenched in elitism. A culture of entitlement and preference for a specific social class persists, resulting in the exclusion of competent individuals from underprivileged backgrounds and perpetuating the cycle of privilege and power.

Education System: Elitism is deeply ingrained in Pakistan’s education system, where prestigious educational institutions favor students from affluent backgrounds while neglecting those with potential from disadvantaged communities. This bias further entrenches social and economic disparities. In the late 1970s, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto allowed the politicization of college and university campuses in order to build a political base for himself and his party among the country’s students.

Private Institutions:

Corporate Sector:  Nepotism is rampant in the private sector, with family-owned businesses favoring relatives and connections for key positions, disregarding the qualifications and abilities of other deserving candidates. This practice hampers innovation and growth, as talent and fresh perspectives are overlooked.

Professional Associations: Many professional associations and bodies in Pakistan are marred by elitism, with influential individuals dominating decision-making processes and limiting opportunities for aspiring professionals who lack connections or financial backing.

Pakistan fast-bowler, Mohammed Asif, who faced a seven-year ban from playing cricket after he was involved in a match-fixing scandal in 2010, opened up about “Nepotism” in Pakistan cricket, however he was being selected in Pakistan’s domestic cricket based on their contacts.

Military Fiasco The role of the military in perpetuating elitism and unfair opportunities is a significant concern in Pakistan. The armed forces hold significant influence and often secure key positions in various government and private institutions, bypassing the merit-based selection process. This practice not only undermines the principles of fairness but also prevents deserving candidates, especially youth, from accessing opportunities for employment and growth. Pakistan retired Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s son Sarosh Kayani got a contract from the ISI. Nothing unusual in the nepotism-riven subcontinent. But in this case, nepotism worked.

The prevalence of elitism and nepotism in Pakistan’s institutions has left many young individuals disillusioned and disheartened. It creates a sense of unfairness, where hard work and qualifications seem futile compared to connections and privilege. This discontentment among the youth can lead to a loss of trust in institutions, diminished motivation, and even brain drain as talented individuals seek opportunities abroad.

The prevalence of elitism and nepotism in Pakistan’s government and private institutions has had a detrimental impact on the country’s youth. Discontentment and dissatisfaction are widespread, as deserving candidates are overlooked in favor of privileged individuals. It is essential for Pakistan to address these issues by promoting meritocracy, transparency, and equal opportunities. Reforms should focus on strengthening institutions, ensuring accountability, and providing avenues for youth empowerment and inclusion. Only by tackling elitism and nepotism can Pakistan nurture a fair and inclusive society that harnesses the full potential of its talented and capable youth.


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