Does Forbes support dictatorship in Pakistan?

Published: November 13, 2010

The military has always played a role in Pakistan’s politics.

I found this year’s Forbes list of the most powerful people illuminating. Most revealing was the inclusion of General Kayani on the list.

The military has always played a role in Pakistan’s politics. Be it the overt martial law regimes or the democratically chosen politicians, it is the army that has the power. We, of course, remain happy in the illusion that we have the power of choice.

But the Forbes list is a rapier of piercing light that shreds the magician’s cloth of delusion, shining on the single most important fact for Pakistan – the military is and has always been the most powerful institution in the country. Democracy is, and always was, a fairy tale told by the powers that be to keep the masses drugged on the West’s opium of democracy.

Last year Gilani ranked 38 on Forbes most powerful people list – a rank below Osama Bin Ladin. Forbes description of Gilani began with

“less powerful than bin Laden, cannot find him in his own country?” and ended on an apologetic tone of “still, (he) has the keys to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.”

The grudging acknowledgement of power is because of the PPP’s nemesis PML’s nuclear programme that of course just gave the military more power. Gilani may go on saying ‘my army’, but at the end of the day he is powerful because of the army, not the other way round.

The editors of Forbes list must have realised this when they bumped Kayani up to 29 – 28 ranks above Bin Ladin this year. After all, the list is not based on hefty bank accounts alone, it is based on ‘people who actively use their power’. Or maybe the Forbes people just want a dictator to take over Pakistan and this is just their way of going ‘wink wink nudge nudge’.

After all, they did put Chinese President Hu Jintao as the most powerful man in the world because ‘pesky bureaucrats’ do not stand in his way!


Fatima Attarwala

A sub-editor on the national desk of The Express Tribune

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.