How to make it big in Pakistan

If you want to make it big in Pakistan, make sure your daddy is big.

Adnan Rasool June 15, 2012
There are many mysteries surrounding the rich and elite in Pakistan. These mysteries  have haunted us since time immemorial; how do they do it? How did that man make it so big, so fast being, so young? Where does he work? How can he be so rich without a job?

These questions haunted me during the day and gave me nightmares at night, and all I could keep thinking to myself was 'but how?'

I am pleased to tell you all that I have finally cracked the code; I have all the answers now!

Reading newspapers, court orders, precedents and online research have all lead me to the same answer:
If you want to make it big in Pakistan, make sure your daddy is big.

I came to this epiphany based on my observation of the chief justice's son, the prime minister's son and the president's son.

Now I am laying out a road map that could lead to your success in Pakistan. Here is the five step process:

Step 1: Make sure dad is in a powerful position

I cannot stress enough how crucial this first step is; dad has to be in a powerful position. This is the key. And to clarify what a powerful position would mean, I regret to inform you that being a brigadier - which isn't a bad position at all - or being a Grade 21 bureaucrat, not bad either, is just somehow not big enough to make the required impact.

He needs to be bigger - we’re talking about someone with influence, not just the regular type, but the kind that can do damage to the whole country. We’re talking about someone who can intimidate even the high-ups of the nation.

So, all in all, step one is to make sure dad has such a position.

Step 2: Leverage dad’s contacts and position to become a nuisance

This is a very delicate process, so be sure to pay attention.

The danger here is that if you become too much of a nuisance people tend to ignore you. What you need to be doing is something on the lines of what the ‘prime’ family does. You just push people enough so that they bend over backwards for your needs, and give them enough space that they can negotiate with you to get things done. Kind of like a, I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine type scenarios, but only with more scratching for yourself.

Once you are done being a nuisance, you will come across two options. These are explained in step three.

Step 3: Start a business to milk the nuisance

You can either make a lot of money by owning a business, or in an individual capacity.

Based on the recent, highly televised, drug scandal and the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scandal, what we all have learnt is that having a business allows you to swindle way more money than you ever will as an individual. The reason is simple; in a business you have the potential to continuously defraud without being noticed, whereas, as an individual you can only manage so much and no more before you are caught. Not that getting caught is the problem, it’s really more about the amount of cash being made. It only makes sense to have a money-making machine manned by a bunch of people as opposed to one managed by an individual.

Common sense.

Also laws governing businesses in Pakistan are very lenient and so with the court on your side, there isn’t much anybody can do to stop you! Hence, a company seems more feasible to me, although, with no fear about consequences, individual capacity would not be a bad option either.

Step 4: Getting caught and getting off

Remember that sooner or later you will get caught and that is not an issue.

The issue is how easily you will get out of a scandal. For example, we have the NICL scandal, where the case was sent to a Banking Court and Moonis ‘Punjab ki shan’ Elahi was out in no time.

Something like this is not possible for say, Musa ‘wasn’t me’ Gilani, who was operating as an individual.

Also whatever you do, remember to always wave at the cameras while entering and leaving the court - it is a must.

Those photos can potentially be used as posters when you decide to finally run for elections.

Step 5: Deny everything and start from step two

Once you have been caught, there is a cleansing process that needs to take place that is bound to last anywhere between six months to a year. This is the time period during which you will reap what you sowed and you will enjoy all those things that you worked hard to steal. So go on vacations and drive around in your SUV’s with police patrol fit for a king. Make sure you interrupt traffic so people understand the gravity of your power.

Once the right amount of time has passed or as soon as some other ‘prodigal’ son has been caught, get back in to the game. Take as much advantage of this situation as possible and be sure to take it all for granted; thank no one.

The key here is to make sure you start from step two again. Repeat for the rest of your life or for as long as your dad manages to stay in his position of raw power.

Good luck to you all!

Read more by Adnan here, or follow him on Twitter @adnanrasool
Adnan Rasool Currently the Deputy Executive Director Center for Enterprise, Trade and Development, Adnan is also a political analyst working mainly on electoral politics and political campaign management. He tweets at @adnanrasool
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