PAKISTAN : Prime Minister Imran Khan has time and again vowed to work to make the poor better off as a result of the policies of his government; but what we have seen so far is the dispossession of the poor in the form of anti-encroachment drives and such other measures.

Among others, scholar and architect Arif Hassan has written in the press so compassionately about more than 1,400 shops being demolished in Empress market [Saddar area] of Karachi.

It means more than 4,000 hawkers have been evicted. Many of these hawkers and and shopkeepers were in Saddar area for the past five decades or so, often inheriting their micro-enterprise, from their fathers.

Hassan estimates that more than 10,000 families might have lost their livelihoods as the result of eviction carried out in a couple of days.

The problem is not restricted to urban areas only. We know of sprawling metropolises and posh housing schemes that displace the rural people from their homes and fields, in order to provide luxurious housing to the elite of this country.

Most of the development work translates into the  large-scale displacement of the poor against their will. Zubair Torwali has written in the press about fears of  mountainous people being displaced of their access to forests and customary law rights in Kumrat Valley, Upper Dir, Malakand division

The Captain  has announced to build a national park and it was apparently not done in consultation with local people.

Torwali has apparently cast this as a curse of development , being part of a mission to ''civilize'' the  ''savage'' and used Edward Said's ''orientalism'' lens to explain it.

We offer a different  theoretical framework to analyze the dispossession of the urban and rural poor in Pakistan and it is Karl Marx's ''primitive accumulation'' that sums it up.

Marx wrote eight short chapters in the last Part 8 of his Capital Volume 1 [ from chapter 26-33] and they are essential read for anyone studying development. Marx studies the ''enclosure of the commons'' in the historical development of capitalism in Britain.

Marx has mainly explained the two aspects of primitive accumulation as the accumulation of resources  through mainly noneconomic means, and primitive accumulation as the accumulation of surplus value through dispossession labour of its means of production.

The two aspects are intertwined .

Primitive accumulation is, according to Marx, ''a process that transforms, on the one hand, the social means of subsistence and of production into capital, on the other, the immediate producers into wage-labourers.''

The honor and serving of the latest thinking and operational research on Poverty, Poor and Development  continues. The World Students Society thanks author and researcher Foqia Sadiq Khan.


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