Generally speaking, the modern world asserts itself to be democratic. In practice, it is a deceitful and tricky network of plutocracy. In simple words, under the garb of democracy, highest possible practices of fraud and corruption exist which go on cementing political power with economic power in the hands of rich ruling class, while keep on weakening the poor ruled classes. To perpetuate mechanism of exploitation and stratagem, not only is the constitution amended, but the order of the day turns out to be violence.

The option left with the exploited masses is protest and sit-ins emphasizing the urgent need for the system change. To sabotage the whole issue, an unending debate is inaugurated whether the suggested changes are within the parameter of the constitution or change means the change of system altogether.

Furthermore, a whole campaign is launched to crush the protest movement. The government uses police and para-military forces who create hurdles by erecting shipping containers, try to pushback demonstrators, fire tear-gas shells to disrupt the mob, order mass arrests, conduct raids to catch and to form charges against the leader and his companions to send them behind bars while regularly puffing up deep media pockets with generous supply of monetary rewards so as to defend the point of view of the ruling class. The civil disobedience is declared as law and order situation and then, if further aggravated, the writ of the state is invoked branding the already oppressed as conspirators. Meanwhile, judgments are made on speculations, hypothetical analyses and concocted theories to establish the links of the rebellious leader with foreign agencies.

The media also propagates the line that has been transmitted by the ruling classes. Every moment of the rebellious leader’s life is dissected, exposed and a spool consisting of selected portions are televised to confirm his crime. A hot discussion follows with comments accompanied by lampooning, farcical verbal expressions, violent gestures and loud shrieking to authenticate their remarks on the one side and on the other side, to excite the TV watching public into tension and morbid sentimentality. All these machinations by the media are in the name of freedom of speech and independent thinking. Hurrah! Democracy of the rich is saved.

A Lahore based academic related an anecdote to describe the thought process of the ruling rich: One super rich politician thoughtfully asked him what he would do with the money which is so huge in bulk that it requires a life span to count it, if converted into one rupee bills. The academic sarcastically replied that he did not want him to distribute his money as charity among beggars because when once he would get rid of it, then one more beggar would add up to the existing list. The professor in fact means to say that concentration of wealth had reached the end of its tether where the super affluent failed to understand what to do with this huge amount of wealth or how to reinvest and re-circulate it in order to satisfy his lust for more wealth. The situation is a reminder of the Easterlin Paradox: “You are probably not happier than your parents were, even though you are probably richer”.

In Pakistan, the same trend of wealth concentration and its one way traffic are root causes of socio-politico-economic inequality which further hamper opportunities for progress and development. Its magnitude is so harmful that there is hardly any Pakistani office-bearer and institution that has not been corrupted by this lingering evil. One of the frequent practices is the rich businessman’s aspiration to achieve a monopoly so as to earn maximum profit to satisfy his greed for wealth. In this way, inequality keeps on generating economic insecurity until horrifying phenomena appears when rulers and classes engage in a bloody conflict.

The yawning gap between the rich and the poor in Pakistan is growing moment to moment. This alarming situation is linked with world scenario, which needs a little probing.

After the Industrial Age in the 19th century, two concepts of democracy and capitalism gathered man’s hopes for the future. The economic condition of the world was refashioned by virtue of revolutionary techno-scientific advancement and globalization. A new class of super rich with global ramifications emerged which had been labeled as plutocrats. A plutocrat is a self-made oligarch –fabulously rich, whose colossal wealth does not depend upon inherited property and assets on trans-global level. If he is a British plutocrat, his culture centers upon horse racing, cricket, opera, universities environment such as Jimmy Goldsmith, Charles Branson; if American, he might be Donald Trump, Rockefeller, Georg W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton, Ken Griffin the founder of Citadel, Steve Job of Apple, or Bill Gates of Microsoft; if Egyptian, Hosni Mubarak; if Middle Eastern, Sheikhs of the Persian Gulf. If Indian, he could be Ashok Khade, or the Alpha Geeks of Bangalo. In Pakistan we have Mian Mansha, Tahirul Qadiri, Jehangir Tareen, Dr. Asim, Babar Ghauri and Altaf Hussain… among others.

To show the range and velocity of progress, references to Chinese, American and European societies can be given. In 1980, a US CEO earned 42 times more than a worker and by 2012, the ratio jumped to 380 times. Plutocrats of Western European countries experienced almost similar leaps and bounds in growth and wealth.

But this economic strength was not limited to North America or Western Europe. The salient countries which have the potential to become super powers are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, known as BRICS along with N-11 countries where new markets are supposed to emerge. Pakistan is also one of the N-11 fast progressing economies. Although there are no documented figures, the same can be applied to Pakistan where this ratio is quite visibly the same.

At this point in time, the question is not only of achieving equality for the wretched of the earth, but it is, in fact, of maintaining one’s freedom. This time the masses are neither the slaves of the British nor afraid of being crushed by the Hindu majority.

It is a matter of freedom from Muslim rich elite with nouveau riche mentality, who are dictating the destiny of 200 million knowing not perhaps how the strength and unity of the Muslim world is being gradually shattered; be it Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran or Pakistan! The plutocrat fails to understand that he is standing on troubled waters of corruption without any linchpin.

There are many suggestions which can be made. The first and foremost is evolving a democratic culture where money is disassociated from politics. In the words of Louis Brandeis: “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we cannot have both”. The second suggestion is reduction in inequality-gap between the rich and the poor. The third is introduction of new clauses in the constitution to cope with new realities and removal of those which are ambiguous and which are flexible enough for malpractices. The fourth is harmony between civil and army, and not at the top level only.

The fifth suggestion is epitomized in one word, that is, ‘intention’. If the intention is betterment of Pakistan (in which is hidden the welfare of everybody), nothing is impossible whether it is the construction of Kalabagh Dam, or elimination of terrorism, or building of Pak-China Economic Corridor.