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Current Social, Economic and Political Challenges for Pakistan: Impact of Feudalism

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Pakistan has faced major challenges in its socioeconomics situation over past seventy years. However not all the problems have been overcome. Some of the key problems of Pakistan includes water scarcity, hunger, poverty, illiteracy, poor health conditions, unemployment, land management, corruption, drug abuse and overpopulation etc.

Land Management

A nexus of officers and politicians, pursuing their own interests, have made poor citizens lives miserable. The combined effect of incompetence and corruption has created a strong perception that the government no longer exist because no department appears to be functioning in accordance to its mandate. As a result, signs of frustration and anger are obvious in the population, but no one notices it.

With majority of the World’s population lacking secure land and property rights, land is at the center of development challenges.

Eliminating poverty and boosting shared prosperity, increasing food security, facilitating urbanization, addressing climate change, reducing fragility and reducing inequality and exclusion of vulnerable groups all depend on secure land and property rights,

Land signifies different things to different segments of society. Land is a repository of capital, fertile source of wealth, vehicle of getting into socio-political mainstream, agency of gaining political leverage. Besides it is a hub of agricultural sector and a source of livelihood for millions. Land hosts a varied array of activities. Land is the jugular vein of Pakistan’s economy.

What is Feudalism?

Feudalism is a system of receiving land from a king and in return fighting for him. Feudalism is also defined by a system of landownership by superior classes in special relation to the royal or state power. A feudal had to collect tax whether in coin or in any kind on the behalf of the state and deposit it in the royal exchequer. Moreover, a feudal had to cultivate an army which could help the state whenever required. A feudal was answerable to the central authority and not to the peasants or to the members of the villages inhabiting his fief. The Sultans of Delhi, the Mughals and the British, who invaded, occupied and ruled over the subcontinent, promoted feudalism in the subcontinent to hold their foots on it. During the British reign, the process of conversion of feudal lords into capitalist began and the same continued after the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.

The feudal system revolves not around the matriarchal system but around the patriarchal system of family in which the male head takes care of the family, which is commonly a large joint family and looks after the land he owns in inheritance.

Feudalism Is a Major Obstacle in The Way of Social Mobility in Pakistan

Pakistan is an under develop country. Pakistan faced political instability through out its history since 1947 to date. Then Pakistan was bound to face four martial laws due to instable political situation in the country. For under develop country like Pakistan stable political situation is must for the progress and for strong economy. Economy depends upon agriculture and industrial development as well as on mineral development. Pakistan was an agrarian economy but most part of land is occupied by feudal lords. These feudal lords also entered in politics and since its birth till now they are ruling the country. The feudalism is a major hurdle in the way of progress and prosperity of the country because the feudal lord does not let their subject to be educated so that no one share their power. Rural areas of Pakistan are severely damaged by this evil. However, in urban areas there is a decline of feudalism due to industrial development and education. But industrial sector is also going under the control of feudal lords as they are shifting their investments to industry instead of agriculture. In rural Sindh and Baluchistan, the situation is worse as compared to Punjab and K.P.K. The feudal lords not only controlled agriculture land but also occupied political system and civil, military service in Pakistan.

Feudalism in Pakistan has a stranglehold on the economy and politics of the nation. The feudal landlords have created states within a state where they rule their fiefs with impunity. The landlord’s influence spans over the police, bureaucracy and judiciary. Since its birth Pakistan is run by the politicians who are mostly feudal that is why, Pakistan is still an under develop country. The Bhutto’s is one of the richest families of the subcontinent. The Bhutto’s own around 40,000 acres of land in Sindh and assets worth billions of dollars.

Feudal Lords do not permit their subjects to get education, acquire money, to improve their standard of living, to improve their social conditions. Even they are not allowed to perform religious duties without the approval of federal lord. They are bound to get permissions for the marriages of their sons and daughter from the feudal lords. The poor farmers are at the mercy of feudal lord. Feudal lords consider poor farmers or village men as their personal goods

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In Pakistan, the feudal are known as Chaudhary’s, Warraich, Pirs, Khans, Makhdoom’s, Arbabs, Mizaris, Khars, Leghari’s, Nawabzadas, Nawabs, Sardars and Shah.

Land Mafia

Land grabbing is another issue that is creating a fuss and disturbance in Pakistan. Land mafia seems to be very powerful with complete political backing, taking away the lands owned by the citizens and also government’s land. Different gangs of land mafia clashing with each other disturbing the peace of city and if someone tries to resist, mafia conveniently give it ethnic colour. This entire circle of land mafia, politicians and officials of law enforcement agency are responsible for the ethnic rifts in the city to save the illegal lands.

Pakistan is home to many Land Mafia who illegally take possession of land or claim ownership of land and dispossess true owners through legal or extra-legal means.

In Karachi, the land mafias are involved in drugs, illegal weapons, kidnappings for ransom, bank robberies and many other crimes; it has made the city a living hell for the common citizen. In Lahore, there is a well-connected land mafia that keeps its eyes on uninhabited plots and buildings in prime areas and moves in with fake ID cards to take possession leaving the real owners to then pursue the case in the court for years.

Islamabad also had a land mafia whose activities often go unchecked, noting The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has recently admitted that 54, 552 kanals of state-owned land are under the possession of land grabbers.

Land disputes are the most common form of dispute filed with the formal court system. Between 50% and 75% of cases are land-related disputes. By one estimate, over a million land cases are pending countrywide. Major causes of land disputes are inaccurate or fraudulent land records, erroneous boundary descriptions that create overlapping claims, and multiple registrations of the same land by different parties.


Pakistan is the seventh-most populist country in the world. Its urban population has increased at a rate of 2.7 % per year. Rural-to-urban migration is taking place at an unprecedented scale. At present the state has no plan for dealing with the migrant and nor in the position of providing homes to them. Many people move to the urban areas primarily because cities promise more jobs, better schools for poor children and diverse income opportunities.

Some scholars suggest that urbanization creates slums because local governments are unable to manage urbanization. The gap between the people’s low-income and high land price force people to construct cheap informal settlements known as Slums.

Karachi’s Orangi Town is one of the largest slums in the world. Moreover, Lahore which is labelled as the Paris of Pakistan, has massive infrastructure project but there is an ugly side of this massive development i.e. increasing slums in these same neighborhoods.

Lahore, the economic hub of Punjab has a population of 11 million. Majority of the people are likely to find in slum settlements where they don’t have proper food, health, sanitation, living and education facilities. Majority of the people living in these areas are street hawkers and daytime laborer’s, they earn very little and are not able to afford medical care or hygiene food. Slums are a by-product of over-population, economic, social and political inequalities. Most importantly within these areas, social problems such as crime, drug addiction, alcohols, high rates of mental illness and suicide are seen.



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Current Social, Economic and Political Challenges for Pakistan: Impact of Feudalism. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from
“Current Social, Economic and Political Challenges for Pakistan: Impact of Feudalism.” Edubirdie, 14 Jul. 2022,
Current Social, Economic and Political Challenges for Pakistan: Impact of Feudalism. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 1 Feb. 2023].
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