Pakistan has almost zero representation in the science of developmental studies internationally due to the lack of diversity and representation in the selection of the editorial board members and authors in the field of development studies. Publication of development studies research is largely dominated by a small group of developed countries, while academics from developing countries are marginalized in knowledge production as both editorial board members and authors. The UK and USA have dominance over both the editorial boards and the number of published authors. The only difference is that the UK is more dominant in terms of editorial board members as compared to the USA, and the USA has a slightly greater share of the authors’ presence in their country. India, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Kenya have only a minor presence among published authors on the science of development studies in their respective countries (Hoebink, 2016).
These trends reflect that there is a stark lack of diversity and equality of representation in the selection of the editorial board members. Hence, the science is largely dominated by the developed Western states. So, the work to be published is gauged through a euro-centric lens, and there is a clear lack of representation from the local development scientists (Hoebink, 2016). The “Western/European” domination over the whole science projects the “westernization” as “development/modernization.” In other words, European or Western experiences get reflected in the policies of developing states like Pakistan, which ultimately fail because of the completely different development needs and dimensions of non-Western societies (Hoebink, 2016). These power dynamics over academia are actively reinforced by developed nations in the developing world through academic imperialism.
Lack of diversity and representation in the editorial boards and authors of the developmental studies field means that Pakistan has very little representation in the science of developmental studies internationally.
Non-Western or anti-Western narratives are always unwelcome in Western academia, and they largely prevent developing-country authors from presenting their local narratives or problems. Therefore, the local problems or ground realities of the development problems in developing states never get identified, and their development solutions are based on false assumptions. The process of double-blind review and appropriate methodology criteria are introduced to remove biases, but instead, these criteria reject non-Western methodologies and narratives by calling them subaltern and inward-looking (Noda, 2021). For instance, Seyed Mohammad Marandi shares the experience of publishing an article, “Axis of Evil: Iranian Memoirs in the Land of the Free,” which explained the false interpretation of Iranian culture and society in the published memoirs of the Iranians living in the Western States. The article was rejected despite its credibility and objectivity, as it opposed the Western narrative (Marandi). Gatekeeping practices are now used both implicitly and explicitly to maintain hegemonic control over problem identification and policy formulation. In other words, unequal structural features, the regulatory role of “evaluation measures,” and the power of neo-liberal narrative have become international and leave no room for indigenous methodologies and narrative to take place.
Pakistan’s academia is largely based on Western developmental theories, which completely ignore local issues and fail development policies. When separated from its birthplace and culture, western literature has a very myopic dimension that focuses on the material aspects of life or the neoliberal economic order. For instance, theories like the “security-development nexus” have the narrative that ‘war leads to underdevelopment, and underdevelopment leads to war’ (SCHIEVELS, 2019). However, this has been the reality of most of Europe in the context of the French Civil War and has no correlation with the circumstances of third world countries. These western theories are taught in Pakistani universities and form the basis of the development studies literature in Pakistan’s academia. This is partly due to the colonial history of the country and partly to an inheritance from the West (Mantz, 219). This form of western hegemony is not only maintained through academia but also through international financial institutions.
Local problems or ground realities of the development problems in developing countries are often ignored, and their development solutions are based on false assumptions due to power dynamics over academia and gatekeeping practices.
International Financial Institutions, IMF and World Bank, have the overarching control over the making of Pakistan’s developmental and economic policies that surpasses the local problems and aims at implementing the neoliberal economic order. The World Bank and IMF extend loans to the developing countries for development and stabilizing the economy respectively. Both claim the extended loans have ‘country ownership’ while in practice countries come directly under the controls of the few developed states. IMF quarterly reviews the economic policies of the lender countries and issues a list of the economic policy amendments to them. These economic policy interventions are binding and reinforces the neo-liberal economic order over developing states (Philip Abbotta, 2010) . The IMF imposed economic policies on Pakistan include the tightening of monetary and fiscal policy, market-based exchange rate, and raising utility prices. These all-policy measures are neo-liberal economic practices which instead of fixing the underdevelopment issues further deteriorates the economic conditions of the poor countries and deepens the divide between rich and poor (Wade, 2011). Now the economic policy, which would have led to the development of the lending country, comes under the direct control of the IMF. This gives the IMF or a few developed donor countries, particularly the USA (17,44% shareholder in IMF), complete control over the developing country’s economic policies like Pakistan. These suggestions are also presented to the IMF donor countries, but they aren’t binding over them (Drazen, 2010). As a result, entire economic policy of Pakistan is under the control of the IMF and WB; both have the same neoliberal economic cause but in a slightly different manner.
Similarly, the World Bank sees development as a process of capital accumulation rather than a process of social, institutional, or organizational change. The World Bank provides cheap loans for developmental projects and acts as the “knowledge bank” to offer the best developmental practices. However, the provision of loans and regulatory mechanisms is only meant to justify international intervention in the Third World and to promote the West’s neo-liberal economic order. The loans are provided with “conditionality,” a buzzword that mainly aims to bring about market reforms and control inflation (Wade, 2011). This conditionality is binding for donor countries, and they must now pursue policies on the World Bank’s clear-cut parameters, regardless of local problems and ground realities (Wade, 2011). In doing so, the country becomes solely the implementer of the World Bank’s policies, and there is no room left for pursuing local development issues in the social, institutional, or organizational realm (Bonna, 2021). Hence, Pakistan’s development policy is largely in the hands of international financial institutions, and Pakistan has merely become an implementer of those policies.