shiv wrote:Lalmullah - I am a little uncomfortable about all these references to Paqui "middle class"
Every time I have checked it appears that Paquis have a "middle class" of perhaps 8-12% of the population. Fine. Let me accept that. But hello? You find that 5% of Paquis own 95% of the land and the elite and extremely wealthy are less than 1%. So the top 50 % of "middle class" are actually wealthy land owners. I am certain that the so called Paki "middle class" are not the salaried class or businessmen. By and large they are feudals.
Going back to Johann's assertion that Pakijabi "middle class" might lead some revolution. they won;t they are feudals anyway.
however let us come back to '2 mango' as a working definition of the revolting. your assertion i believe is that when the paqui crowds march to al-bastille, they will be led by mullahs. johan's assertion is that it will be led by the scooter and fridge owning leaders of the proletariat. i suppose for me the key question is which way is the biskoot going to crumble, towards al-mullah, or towards al-scooteri. and which of these two groups is more scared of or willing to take on al-fauj?
I need to reword something, because I think it came out the wrong way - I don't believe the middle class would *lead* a revolution in Pakistan. What I am saying is that the essential fuel to every revolution is middle class frustration, anger and disillusionment.
Authoritarian and totalitarian states work incredibly hard to externalise that anger and frustration, and in order to do that they need to be able to set and control the agenda in the media and in public discourse. That doesn't work so well in a relatively open media market.
As for Shiv's suggestion that there is no middle class in Pakistan, I have to ask if you Shiv if you're really thinking about Pakistan's cities and towns, or if you are thinking about its countryside.
The vast majority of the millions who work for the Pakistani state in some capacity (PSUs, civil service, state and muncipal govt, education, public healthcare, etc) fall in to the middle class category, as do the millions that own small and medium businesses.
I don't think many people outside Pakistan understand the *huge* economic impact of migration either. Many of those millions in the middle class got there because someone, or several someones got a job in the Gulf at some point in the last 35 years, worked hard and sent money and goods back. Indians from places like Kerala or Punjab might have a better sense of how that kind of 'working class' migration can change class dynamics and class structure. Emigration from Pakjabi villages to the UK, Canada, US, EU, Australia, etc has produced a similar effect, with money transforming housing, lifestyle, social position, source of employment, etc.
Pakistan has after Sri Lanka the highest rate of television penetration in the Subcontinent. Even in the poorest rural areas, unemployed men hang around in tea shops where more often than not there is a television blaring satellite TV in the background, and its changing things, first and foremost their expectations, and secondly for the first time a real diversity of opinions and views in the media.
Pakistan under Ayub Khan was the first to start state-run terrestrial TV broadcasts in the subcontinent, seeing it as a powerful internal and external propaganda tool. India under IG scrambled to follow suit, especially when people in border areas started watching PTV. The tables were turned when India became part of the satellite TV revolution with Zee TV, Sony, etc. The Pakistani state was resigned to the hope that Pakistanis watching private Pakistani channels would be less damaging than Pakistanis watching Indian news and entertainment.
Why do you think its so hard for the state to shut down or control the big channels? Money, and lots of it! These channels have become the centre of all kinds of economic activity, big and small that cuts across many classes and interests. Consumption in Pakistan is growing, and its not just fuelled by a few hundred families. There is a middle class, and it wants a better life, and that spending in turn is creating more economic opportunities for the same middle class.