The democratic process has frail roots in Pakistan and the system seems destined to preserve inherited privilege. It is widely believed that basic inequalities ensure that inherited privileges of Third World ruling elites are perpetuated through family connections and educational opportunities. Robert LaPorte Jr. examines the structure of this power elite and changes therein in the book under review. The study reveals that there are traditional patterns of elitism within Pakistan. The military and the civil services with the land-holding families form the political elite. The economic elite consists of forty (others say twenty-two) families who gained wealth through the process of industrialization. Social elitism is achieved by close intermarriage within these groups. The growth of power in the military-bureaucratic alliance is basically ascribed to the instability of parliamentary government in the early years. Coalition governments were concerned more with the politics of survival than effective administration. Moreover, Mr. Jinnah chose to be the first Governor-General of Pakistan, rather than its Prime Minister, elevating the executive aspect of government at the expense of its parliamentary character. Naturally, therefore, power accrued to those concerned with the mechanics of administration.
July 1976, volume 1, No 3