Career Orientation of Bank Managers in Pakistan a Private Public Sector Comparison Term Paper

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¶ … benchmark regarding bank manager careers in Pakistan. Islamic banking is a growing feature of banking in the region, and Pakistan as a nation has expressed interest in being the banker of that region. That being so, it is instructive to note that the managers who worked under the old regime are significantly less optimistic than the newer, younger managers working in the growth industry of Islamic banking. They also seem, if not satisfied with their career paths, at least resigned to their fate and accepting that maintaining their jobs and what vestiges of ethical behaviour they could was sufficient. On the other hand, bank managers who had experience banking in nations in which banking had less tumultuous history, as well as those who had attended Pakistani business programmes, seemed to be much more optimistic about their own careers. Moreover, they were optimistic that they could effect societal changes through their banking practices; virtually all of those had mentally/emotionally aligned with Pakistan's (relatively) new banking minister.

Introduction

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Marietta (1996) has produced a relatively complete, if abbreviated, picture of Pakistan's banking industry from the late 1940s to the present. Understanding the industry, its pressures and the financial and cultural expectations it would bring to bear on current managers in both public and private banking sectors in the country is essential. Indeed, the historical background is essential because few other nations host both public and private banking enterprises at the same time. The peculiarities of Pakistan's political history thus have an effect on its financial industry. The progress of that industry within the larger socio-political culture that spawned it cannot help but have an effect on managers; indeed, it may even lead to a manager's choice of venue, public or private sector.

Political and financial history intertwined

Term Paper on Career Orientation of Bank Managers in Pakistan a Private Public Sector Comparison Assignment

On August 14, 1947, the sovereign state of Pakistan was formed as an independent state for the Muslims of British India. The Muslims of "British India" would, in this state, be permitted to live their lives "according to their political, social, and religious culture" (Burki, 1999, p. 1), which was regarded as separate from the Hindu culture of British India.

While he notes that the idea of a partitioned state was not novel in modern political events, Burki (1999) contends that the partition of British India into India (predominantly Hindu) and Pakistan (predominantly Muslim) was unique and signified a much deeper rift than the partition of Ireland into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, a partition that was, by the time of the India partition, already two decades old. Burki noted that:

Each was a permanent hereditary group, exhibiting no intermarriage (except at the highest and lowest social levels, and then only very rarely) or internal absorption. It is therefore not only for the sake of completing the historical record that the story of modern-day Pakistan should begin long before independence day on August 14, 1947 (1999, pp. 1-2).

Arguably, the intensity of this Hindu-Muslim split continues to this day, in the social and political levels noted by Burki, as well as the economic level; therein, in fact, lies some of the proof of its continuance, in the form of belatedly adopting a more congenial attitude towards Islamic banking.

Understanding the facts contributing to the partition may also aid in understanding today's banking attitudes and processes, especially those that are expressed in the careers of bank managers.

Before partition, in the 1940s, more than one-fourth of the total population of British India was Muslim, approximately 100 million people. IN addition, the Muslims of the Punjab and those of Bengal were also disparate. In general, the northwest (Punjab, Sindh, Northwest Frontier, Bahawalpur, Kalat, Kashmir, and Khairpur and the northeast (Bengal and Assam) claimed Muslim majority, by about 60 and 55%, respectively. Only in the north central provinces were Muslims a minority, constituting no more than 20% in Bihar, Orissa, Delhi and numerous princely states. However, that minority was better educated, prosperous and urbanized than the Muslim populations in the other two regions.

Burki contends that the Muslim populations of the largest two Muslim-dominated regions benefited from the British Raj (rule): Among other things, there was the "threat of economic competition from the non-Muslims once the British lifted the protection they had provided, but this threat constituted only a minor worry" (Burki, 1999, p. 2). In the Northwest, Muslims were relatively powerful and had been accommodated in the more desirable professions, creating a positive socio-economic presence. The Muslims in the Northeast however provided the peasantry (Burki, 1999, p. 2).

The Northwestern population, descendants of the Mughulraj, had served their people for hundreds of years. When the British conquered India, this elite group had suffered the most deprived of both traditional jobs and cultural position. In 1857 this group had waged a short and unsuccessful war against the British. Thereafter, the British changed their form of governance, from letting the British East India Company run India, to taking on direct control under British governmental rule. British viceroys ruled from 1857 to 1947, and they ruled with the greatest royal mandate, reporting to the crown along. Not surprisingly, an elitist civil service developed, and this, Burki contends, would have a more profound "impact on Pakistan's political and economic development than on that of Pakistan's sister country, India" (Burki, 1999, p. 3). The effect was so great and deep that a model of governance based on the British vice regal model remained in force in Pakistan "for more than four decades following independence" (Burki, 1999, p. 3).

The Muslims were not as adaptable as the Hindus were, nor as amenable to giving up their languages (Urdu and Persian) in favour of English. It was thus not long before the Muslims, who had controlled a great deal of wealth before direct British rule, found themselves economically disenfranchised. Without speaking the major, common tongue, albeit an imported and imposed one, they could not hope to get any but the most menial jobs and virtually no positions in the civil service were open to them. One British administrator said "There is no Government office in which a Muslim could hope for any post above the rank of porter, messenger, filler of inkpots, and a mender of pens" (Burki, 1999, p. 4).

This is the diminished society that Ayub Khan had to deal with after coming to power in 1959; his tenure ended in 1969. Although the initial response to freedom from British rule had been overwhelmingly militaristic:

Khan and his military colleagues were quick learners; within a few months they had recognized that the economy could not be run by decrees, that the private sector should not be harassed into accepting policies that would seriously jeopardize its ability to make a profit, and that the government had an economic role to play but more in the area of providing direction to the private sector than in direct participation in economic management (Burki, 1999, p. 4).

In short, Pakistan rapidly reverted to the sorts of industrial/economic policies imprinted upon it by the British, emphasizing the development of a consumer goods industry, imports rather than exports. The consumer sector led the industrial sector. However, Khan did change some essential facets of Pakistani industry; arguably these changes had an effect on how banking developed. This in turn would influence the career possibilities and choices of bank managers directly, just as the cultural and social milieu in which it all took place influences them indirectly.

One of Khan's first changes was to discourage concentration of industry and capital in one city, Karachi, because having such a concentration was not good military strategy, and Karachi, being a port city, was also vulnerable to direct attack by India by sea. The development of dispersed industrial bases has also helped shape banking, and thereby the expectations of bank managers as well. Khan, before relinquishing control of Pakistan, had begun building up two additional industrial bases: "one in and around Lahore, the other north of Rawalpindi. During the Ayub period, Lahore emerged as a major industrial base of Pakistan, second only to Karachi, while Taxila and Wah, two small towns north of Rawalpindi, developed into centres of heavy industry" (Burki, 1999, p. 127).

Khan also encouraged new entrepreneurs to enter industry, and he encouraged the landed aristocracy to "move their savings into industry," one way and another a significant factor in banking in Pakistan, arguably both then and now.

Moreover:

... By encouraging the rapid development of the financial sector, Ayub Khan made it possible for the newcomers to take part in industrialization. Pakistan's industrialization began with a number of private trading houses putting their savings into industry. There was little financial intermediation. During the Ayub period a number of private banks, including the Habib Bank, the United Bank, and the Muslim Commercial Bank, expanded their business aggressively, mobilized savings from the public, and made this money available to private entrepreneurs for investment. The government also developed the capital market; the number of companies listed on the Karachi stock… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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