I WAS switching channels on TV recently to find something interesting enough to hold my attention when I came across an interview being given by Shabbar Zaidi, a former Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman.

He was telling the channel why he had resigned from the post. What he said was indeed food for thought.

He mentioned the theory of elite capture of power and resources in Pakistan. He added that this phenomenon, clubbed with unbridled corruption in state institutions, was enough to ensure that he would not be able to deliver as FBR chairman.

He explained in detail how powerful business empires and the ruling elite were the reason behind the status quo which had gripped the state in its clutches. They were the prime hurdle in the way of bringing about a change in the status quo.

He went on to mention that if anyone ventures to attempt to initiate change, these forces gang up to ensure that the challenger is hounded out of office.

This interview should serve as an eye-opener to our society. It is these powerful forces that will always resist any meaningful change.

Most of all, it shows just how helpless and powerless the state is before the rich and the mighty of the land.

There is an urgent need to mend our ways and put to better use the overflowing prosperity of the elite. A recent example is the wedding extravaganza of a business family which did not think twice before spending a couple of billions on a one-night reception.

If such practices are not controlled, we will have only ourselves to blame if the people decide to repeat here what happened in France in 1789 and in Russia in 1917.

Zafar Iqbal

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2020


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