Is Illiteracy Responsible for Problems of Pakistan? Narrative to Justify Neocolonialism and dictatorial rule

[To understand the context of this post, please read At What Cost! Why Compute Economic Costs of Faulty Political Decisions]
Are Illiterates Responsible for Woes of Pakistan? Or Is this a Narrative to Support Exploitation? Is this narrative designed to support exploitation by the un-elected “educated elites” in the service of neo-colonialism? There is a dominant narrative in Pakistan which states that lack of education is responsible for all our woes and problems. The narrative starts by emphasizing the dismal statistics of illiteracy in Pakistan, and implies that “illiterates” are responsible for the lack of development and progress in Pakistan. This narrative allows the “educated elites” to absolve themselves of their disastrous governance over the last 70 years of our existence and shift the blame on to hapless “illiterates”. This narrative justifies usurpation of power by the “educated elites” from the people and maintaining their exclusive hegemony over the distribution of resources. In Pakistan, “illiterates” have never been in power. Half of our existence has been directly under the military rule which had been justified using this narrative explicitly, and during the remaining half, the power had never been devolved to the people using this same narrative. Even the governments formed by the politicians elected by the people had been that of the “educated elites”. If there is any clique that should be held responsible for the woes of Pakistan, then it can be no other than the “educated elites”. This post explains how this happens.

The narrative says that because majority of People are illiterate, therefore, democracy is not suitable for Pakistan. What Pakistan needs is a government of technocrats. This narrative prepares the ground for rule by un-elected dictators who are forced to serve the interests of superpowers for protecting their illegal rule and for their survival from mass revolution.

The case of resistance by the “educated elites” to the devolution of power to the provinces after the 18th amendment recently is a typical case [1] in point. This indicates that establishment is still repeating the argument first popularized by Gen Ayub that democracy and self rule is not feasible for Pakistan because of illiteracy.

Major arguments that such elites ignore is that: 

  • (1) Pakistan came into existence through votes in 1946. If 8% literates’ vote in 1946 delivered to us Pakistan! How much more can 58% literates’ vote can deliver to us today! The question is if they would ever be allowed to make decisions for themselves.
  • (2) All problems in Pakistan were created by the “educated” elites. People who created the problems should be held responsible. It it is the educated who need better behavoiral change or whatever more education is required, and not the illiterates.
  • (3) Illiterates had never been in power or governance. Hence, to harp on the illiteracy rate as a cause of non-functioning country is outrageously wrong.
  • (4) Democracy had never worked because it was never allowed to work by educated unelected elites in bureaucracy, judiciary and establishment.
  • (5) Why illiterates should be held responsible for the crimes committed by the educated defies logic!
  • Churchill wrote (page 574):
Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…
The problems with democracy can ONLY be solved by more democracy.  There is just no other way.

Narratives to Support Dictatorial Interventions and Continuous Series of Destabilizations 

A deeper look at the dictatorial interventions and a continuous series of destabilization efforts during civilian rules indicate that this kind of destabilization is present in all the developing countries and is part of post-colonialism exploitation by the world superpowers, this has been named as neo-colonialism. My post on narratives designed to dishonor popular choice and support neocolonialism explains how neocolonialism spreads destructive narratives in developing countries which are taken up by vested interests and un-elected elites. These narratives are used to dishonor the will of the people, and justify the takeover by un-elected elites. This seems to be the history of post-colonialism in developing countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and on and on through out all the old colonies of the imperial powers. This is how they are kept perpetually destabilized and hence “perpetually developing”.


[begin Wikipedia excerpt]
Neo-colonialism or neo-imperialism is the practice of using capitalism, globalization and cultural imperialism to influence a developing country in lieu of direct military control (imperialism) or indirect political control (hegemony). It was coined by Kwame Nkrumah in the context of African countries undergoing decolonization in the 1960s.

In Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism, Kwame Nkrumah wrote:

In place of colonialism, as the main instrument of imperialism, we have today neo-colonialism . . . [which] like colonialism, is an attempt to export the social conflicts of the capitalist countries. . . .

The result of neo-colonialism is that foreign capital is used for the exploitation rather than for the development of the less developed parts of the world. Investment, under neo-colonialism, increases, rather than decreases, the gap between the rich and the poor countries of the world. The struggle against neo-colonialism is not aimed at excluding the capital of the developed world from operating in less developed countries. It is aimed at preventing the financial power of the developed countries being used in such a way as to impoverish the less developed.
[End excerpts from Wikipedia]


[1] Reversing the 18th Amendment?

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