Nepotism: An Eradicator Of Meritocracy

Nepotism: An Eradicator Of Meritocracy

It would not be wrong to say that nepotism has done its best in eradicating talent from our country. The theory of meritocracy has become obsolete since the theory of ‘might is right’ has touched its horizons and left competency far behind as a criterion for selection. Had it been ‘might of virtue’ rather than might of evil and corrupt powers, this nation would have achieved the prestige that its leader had yearned to attain on day of creation. Organisations that are true meritocracies are constituted by an equitable system where everyone has equal opportunity to grow and advance in their careers. Unfortunately, the path to career progress is not uniform. For some, this path is aerodynamic as they fly up the ranks, while for other equally talented individuals, the runway is littered with obstacles.

If nations follow this theory of meritocracy they will surely progress, but when obstacles like nepotism, favoritism, cronyism, mobbing and corruption come in between, nations will be doomed.

Generally speaking nepotism is a very simple and sweet crime: simple as in the doers of nepotism never realize or acknowledge what they are doing; benevolent as in the doers of nepotism are being very favorable to their acquaintances by giving them favors generously; and crime as in they are offending not a single individual rather the whole nation at the same time.

In Pakistan, nepotism is carried out not just by the highly authoritative persons but it is a widespread dilemma being imposed upon those who are somehow against it but have no other way left to reach the desired rank. Nepotism is one of those crimes which is being done by superior authorities and laypersons at the same time on different scales. That’s where we can quote the famous proverb:

“As is the leader so is the nation.”

Pakistan has become a morally failed society. The question is where did it go wrong? Extreme poverty has aggravated the situation and created status conscious classes within us. Today, our ambitions have hit such a height that we may deliberately harm our friends just to succeed. This is the answer to the question posed above. The answer is “nepotism”.[1]

As mentioned earlier, even people who openly oppose nepotism have taken the assistance of their referees and references to land their desired post. The reason is that corruption has become such a long story in Pakistan that instead of cutting its roots, Pakistanis find it easier to seek shortcuts to fulfill their purposes.

Nepotism has gained so much support by high authorities that a layperson cannot oppose or resist its spread. In trying to do so, the person opposing nepotism will herself or himself have to bear severe consequences. A recent example of this was seen when the principal of a well-known school was fired over resisting nepotism and refusing to give admission unfairly to offsprings of influential families. Aitchison College holds admission tests for grade-two every year. This year some interesting facts unfolded. The first one was that the admission test question paper was leaked a few days before the exam and hence the college administration had to create a new question paper just one day prior to the test. The second interesting fact was that the scions of some of the most influential families of the country were to appear in this test, namely, the grandsons of Speaker of the National Assembly, banking tycoon and ex-Prime Minster.

However, they were subsequently not granted admission because they failed to get enough marks. According to sources, after the failure of grandsons of influential individuals, the principal was pressured by the above-mentioned individuals to grant their grandsons admissions, irrespective of their score in the admission test. The principal refused to cave in to their pressures.

“Mr. Principal, whose contract was for 5 years initially, is being removed after serving for only one year in reward for his honesty and dedication to the institute.”[2]

In Pakistan, nepotism is influencing almost all institutions but the most affected of all is the judiciary. The judicial system of a country defines the peace and progress of that country. Now there are many factors attributable to the defects of the judicial system, but the most prominent ones are nepotism and cronyism. Just imagine the disasters caused by the meritless selection of judges who are not competent for the desired task, yet are allowed to resume the duties of their undeserved posts only because they are relatives or friends of those who are in the selection board. A judge who is selected by such a corrupt method of selection will not be able to deliver justice the same way as a competent judge would. He or she will cause delays in the dispensation of justice on the requests of litigators or parties at trial who have mala fide intentions, as they will be approaching him or her by nepotism.

Anti Nepotism Policy:

The cure for this chronic disease is very simple but time-consuming, just like a severe disease requires time to heal.

Firstly (moral way) nepotism can be controlled by simply awakening the conscience of a person and making him or her realise the far-reaching consequences of this crime. Education must be given to everyone from the very initial stages of their learning period so that they may follow general ethical considerations habitually. Implementation of general ethics is compulsory for all subjects of a nation in order to remain as a morally alive state rather than a morally dead society.

Secondly (formal and legal way) control can be exercised over nepotism by legislating anti-nepotism policies and working for its effective eradication. These policies should be legislated for all departments whether political or organisational. Some examples are reproduced below for reference:

  • No public official shall misuse his or her office and hire or appoint any assistant or other employee solely based on his or her relation or terms with him or her, rather he or she must keep the opportunity open for all and select on the basis of merit.
  • No public official shall appoint, transfer or promote his or her friends or family members for personal gains above the benefits or agenda of that organisation.
  • No public official shall terminate any employee in order to replace him or her with his or her own family member or friend unless that employee has committed serious faults necessary to become the cause of his or her termination.

Creation Of Enforcement Agencies: 

Critics may point out that similar policies already exist, thus what’s important is their enforcement. For a pure implementation of anti-nepotism policies, all institutes must create an infrastructure for effective implementation. All institutes should specify a department solely for keeping a check on the selection system of employees as well as their working. That department must strictly adhere to this and all others must abide by the rules created by such agencies or departments.



[1]‘Nepotism and Pakistan’, Usman Zafar May 18, 2010<> Accessed on 6th may, 2016.

[2]‘Resisting Nepotism: Principal of Aitchison College fired for being too honest Pakistan’, Web Desk, July 28, 2015 7:34 pm.<> Accessed at 8 may, 2016.


(Image taken from the internet)

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of or any organization with which she might be associated.

Nain Tara

Author: Nain Tara

The author is a law student at Punjab University Law College. She is also a member of Literary Society.


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