Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Hassan N. Gardezi. Understanding Pakistan: The Colonial Factor inSocietal Development. Lahore: Maktaba Fikro-Danish (1991). Pages 162.Price: Rs 99.00.
Author: Ziaul Haque

After almost forty-four years of existence as a sovereignnation, Pakistan still remains an underdeveloped country. Thisunderdevelopment and poverty is not the original state, that is, it isnot entirely inherent in the original social and economic structures orcultural traditions of Pakistan; rather this socio-economic retardationof Pakistan is due mainly to the integration of Pakistan’s society andeconomy in the world capitalist system. This integration of a weak andstagnant semi-feudal society with the industrially advanced capitalistsocieties has gradually resulted in an unequal relationship and aninternational division of labour, which binds Pakistan as a ‘periphery’to the highly developed and industrialized metropolitan ‘centres’ ofcapitalism, and in which resources tend to flow from the former to thelatter. Hassan N. Gardezi advances this radical hypothesis bycharacterizing Pakistan’s socio-economic formation as ‘peripheral’capitalism which is internally ruled by a tiny, but powerful, minorityof feudal, capitalist, bureaucratic, and military elites. These rulingelites, says Gardezi, are externally dependent on and subservient to thehighly industrialized capitalist countries; and the colonial factor hasdetermined the contours and character of Pakistan’s socio-economicsystem.

Ziaul Haque

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