Book Review: Zafar Altaf, Pakistani Entrepreneurs


As the feudal mode of production is increasingly replaced by capitalism in Pakistan, and as industrialisation increases, a spate of books and theses have appeared on the scene which look at various aspects of this growth. This book by Zafar Altaf deals specifically with the role of Pakistani entrepreneurs in the process of industrialisation. There are five chapters in the book. The first two deal with the economy of Pakistan and with the process of industrialisation in the country respectively. The first chapter entitled “The ‘Pakistan Economy” is the shortest in the book and offers no analysis whatsoever. A relatively superficial description of what has happened in the country over the last 35 years is poorly summarised in fifteen pages. The second chapter on industrialisation in Pakistan countinues where the first one left off and numerous statements are made by the author on the basis again of a cursory analysis of trends. For example, the Economic Reforms of the Bhutto Government in 1972 which resulted in the nationalisation of a large number of industrial concerns are said to have been undertaken merely to satisfy a political vendetta. The author, throughout this chapter shows his bias towards private enterprise and has a great deal of faith in the entrepreneurs who run industrial concerns. He considers them to be “men of vision” who are working for the welfare of the country. He totally disagrees that Pakistani entrepreneurs are motivated by profits. Instead, he believes that “pride in their performance and in their attitude to work” (p.124) has replaced the profit motive. He believes further that since Pakistan’s current problems are too complex, they cannot be handled by government officials, and thus private entrepreneurs must run the show.

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