Batkhela (Malakand) Bazar: A Catalyst for Socio-Economic and Political Change by Dr. Muhammad Ayub Jan, University of Peshawar
Interim Project ReportBatkhela (Malakand) Bazaar: A Catalyst forSocio-Economic and Political Change M. Ayub Jan University of Peshawar Pakistan Strategy Support Programme IFPRI USAID
Project Overview• The project is about the growth, transformation and socio-economic and political contributions of Batkhela Bazaar.• The study aims to investigate the ways in which Bazaar (Marketplace) has changed the lives of the people in disadvantageous and conflict ridden regions of Pakistan.• There are very limited studies on the role of Bazaars (Marketplaces) in urban areas of Pakistan in general and North West Frontier in particular. The Project aims at adding to such literature.
Batkhela, Malakand• Batkhela is market town of the Malakand District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Malakand itself represents an interesting case of administrative transformation from FATA to PATA and finally to hybrid of PATA and settled area District.• Batkhela identity is closely associated with the Bazaar which is central to its life in a number of ways.
The Bazaar• Batkhela Bazaar is stretched on both sides of the Nowshera- Mardan- Chitral Road for almost 2 kilometers.• It has transformed over the years into one of the region’s most thriving bazaars.• The range of businesses in this market is very diverse. It includes retail, wholesale businesses of various goods.• It also provides services in health, education, tourism, Telecommunication, financial and technical services.• Most of the government offices include courts, district administration, etc. are situated in the proximity of Batkhela Bazaar.• It is central to the urban life in Batkhela.
The Bazaar• The Bazaar has been primarily responsible for expansion in economic activities, greater employment opportunities and gradual but large scale migration to the town.• The Bazaar also hosted a political movement (Awami-Khel Movement) in late 60s which pressurized the government to bring reform in the political and administrative status of Malakand.• The Bazaar has played its part in the social change. It created opportunities for lower ranked status categories (immigrants/businessmen/ occupational groups) and reduced their dependency on the higher ranked land owners/lords (Khanan).
Tasks Completed• Conceptual Framework developed.• Related literature identified.• Research questions are refined.• Methodology elaborated.• Field Work Completed.• Preliminary Data Analyses.
Conceptual Framework• The study primarily take insights from the discipline of Economic Sociology or New Economic Sociology.• This will help us explain the embeddedness of the bazaar into social and political dispensation.• The agency of Entrepreneur is central to our analysis. That is the reason we use the entrepreneurship theory (within Economic Sociology) to understand the historical processes of business successes, market’s growth and transformation.• In order to understand the reconfiguring social hierarchies and statuses we use the ethnic entrepreneurship literature that focuses on how choices are made by entrepreneurs in socially and economically restricted space.
Conceptual Framework• The embeddedness of the bazaar in social setup makes the ‘network theory’ more relevant. Which elaborates that social networks are related to the business activities in the bazaar and how solidarity networks (ethnic) play their part.• The conceptual framework also relies on ‘Informal economy’ theory in order to understand the informal business activity in the bazaar.• Studies on small scale enterprises also reveal how smaller businesses can contribute to economic uplift.• Finally the concept of good governance is employed to see how bazaar through its association has influenced local politics and how the local politics has influenced bazaar leadership.
Broader Research Questions• How Batkhela (Malakand) bazaar contribute to alleviation of poverty and economic growth in the region?• Has Batkhela bazaar (in an urbanized environment) been instrumental in ensuring good governance and social change?• Does the provision of security, electricity, improvement in communication links, financial incentives and community developments will facilitate economic development in Batkhela?• Does Batkhela bazaar represent a model of economic growth for other Tribal Areas of Pakistan?
Methodology• Ethnographic study• Primarily relied on qualitative methods such as Semi- structured Interviews (20) and observations.• Questionnaires (60) to provide additional supportive data for descriptive analysis.• Interviews questions ranged from open ended questions about life experiences and business/market dynamics to structured questions about business modes and methods, transformation and social networks.
Methodology• Categories of interview Questions Initiation of businesses, social stratification, business success, life experiences Business procedures, change in procedures, change in scale and range of businesses, social networks. Issues of governance, bazaar leadership, their efficiency, political affiliations, relation between the bazaar and government/non government organizations/institutions.
Interesting initial findings• Bazaar is central to life changing experiences of various businessmen.• Social categorization is reconfigured.• Innovation and dynamism in the character of businessmen.• Income generation through IT (internet) by young educated entrepreneurs.• Resilience to crisis created by conflict related losses in businesses.• Social categories, kinship networks, friendship circles play part in businesses.• Emerging ties between the bazaar leadership and state officials (civil and military), party based association elections and enlarging scope of association activities.
Next Steps• Analyze Data collected from the field.• Revisit the literature studied earlier to relate with the findings.• Write a final report.