Steering the Pakistani Wheel: A History of the
Pakistani Automobile Landscape

Pragmatic Pathways

By Amna Mirza | September 2023

“Steering the Pakistani Wheel: A History of the Pakistani Automobile Industry,” authored by Murtaza Y. Mandviwalla, is a remarkable and comprehensive book that delves into the captivating journey of Pakistan’s automobile sector. From its nascent beginnings at the time of the country’s independence in 1947 to its present state, the author meticulously chronicles the evolution, challenges, and triumphs of an industry that has shaped transportation in this country and influenced the socioeconomic fabric of the nation as well.

In his debut work, the book’s author is an adept historian, skillfully weaving together a decadal timeline of pivotal milestones that have marked the industry’s growth.

This well-researched narrative transcends the traditional scope of a mere historical account, situating Pakistan’s automotive history within the intricate global interplay of technology, trade, competition, and innovation. The book provides readers with a profound understanding of how internal dynamics and external influences have shaped the industry’s trajectory.

The book’s heart lies in presenting how the automobile sector has weathered crises, economic hurdles, and fluctuating policies. Laying bare the challenges facing the automobile sector, the author also offers insightful perspectives on navigating these challenges by addressing the roadblocks head-on. His comprehensive analysis highlights the industry’s resilience in the face of adversity. Through tumultuous times with low growth rates, hyperinflation, political upheavals, and global events like 9/11, the industry managed to maintain promising production rates and consistent growth.

What sets the book apart is its meticulous attention to detail. The author’s ability to seamlessly intertwine personal anecdotes, referenced accounts, and economic data makes for a compelling read. The intricacies of crucial milestones, individuals, and policies are presented in a manner that educates and captivates, breaking down complex cause-and-effect scenarios for the reader’s comprehension. The book’s clear and concise structure ensures that readers can engage with and appreciate the narrative regardless of their familiarity with the subject.

The author’s exploration of the automobile industry’s intersection with Pakistan’s political and economic landscapes is particularly intriguing. The evolution from cars as symbols of social prestige to essential modes of transportation for all citizens is a testament to the societal transformation the sector has catalyzed. The book’s writer skillfully navigates the impact of successive governments and their policies, demonstrating how the industry has reflected and participated in Pakistan’s developmental journey.

The book’s eight well-structured parts offer a holistic automobile industry view. From its historical origins to the intricate web of stakeholders, automotive ecosystem, and safety considerations, the author leaves no stone unturned, engaging interviews with industry experts and historical imagery to enrich the reading experience and adding depth and authenticity to the narrative.

Notably, the book’s exploration of potential future measures is a call to action for policymakers, industry leaders, and citizens alike. The author’s insights into how Pakistan can harness its untapped potential in the automotive sector for exponential progress are invaluable. Backed by his extensive professional experience, his recommendations offer pragmatic pathways to invigorate the industry and drive economic growth. Moreover, the book serves as an educational resource for students seeking to understand the nation’s industrial evolution, and a source of inspiration for industry professionals eager to contribute to Pakistan’s development.

A monumental achievement, the book fills a crucial gap in academia and industry expertise as a comprehensive study of Pakistan’s automotive industry. By illuminating the industry’s past, present, and potential future, the book is an essential resource for charting a path towards a more prosperous and innovative automobile industry.