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WHAT ARE PRESSURE GROUPS? Pressure group is an interest group that endeavors to influence public policy and governmental legislation, through the use of lobbying techniques and propaganda. The pressure group includes churches and charities, businesses and trade associations, trade unions and professional associations, think tanks of various complexions, and so forth Pressure groups are collections of individuals who hold a similar set of values and beliefs based on ethnicity, religion, political philosophy, or a common goal. Based on these beliefs, they take action to promote change and further their goals. A pressure group can be described as an organized group that does not put up candidates for election, but provide a means of popular participation in national politics between elections and seeks to influence government policy or legislation. They are sometimes able to gather sufficient support to force government to amend or even scrap legislation. They can also be described as interest groups, lobby groups or protest groups. Pressure group is an organized or unorganized body that actively seeks to promote its particular interests within a society by exerting pressure on public officials and agencies. Pressure groups direct their efforts toward influencing legislative, executive branches of government, political parties, and sometimes general public opinion. Pressure groups can use a variety of different methods to influence law. Firstly, it can merely inform legislators of its members preferences. Second it may well give money or time to help with an election campaign. Third, its members may threaten, as a group, to vote as a bloc. By doing this they promise to help a cooperative legislator, and threaten to harm a non-cooperative legislator. Fourth, a pressure group may speed up legislation by writing bills and helping legislators make progressive agreements. Finally, a pressure group my attempt to influence members of the executive, who have some law making input and who can partly decide the strength and effectiveness of law enforcement. The aim of all pressure groups is to influence the people who actually have the power to make decisions. Pressure groups do not look for the power of political office for themselves, but do seek to influence the decisions made by those who do hold this political power. Pressure groups often represent viewpoints of people who are dissatisfied with the current conditions in society, and they often represent alternative viewpoints that are not well represented in the mainstream population. By forming a pressure group, people seek to express their shared beliefs and values and influence change within communities and sociopolitical structures, such as governments and corporations

Pressure groups strengthen the democratic process by giving a voice to a variety of people. Pressure groups also offer alternatives to the political process by providing opportunities for expressing opinions and a desire for change. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRESSURE GROUPS AND POLITICAL PARTIES: PRESSURE GROUPS: Seek to exert inuence. Narrow issue focus. Shared interests/common causes. POLITICAL PARTIES: Seek to win power. Broad issue focus. Shared preferences.


PRIMARY PRESSURE GROUPS: Primary pressure groups are organizations which involve themselves in political activities designed to influence public policy. Examples of primary pressure groups include organizations such as the Electoral Reform Society. SECONDARY PRESSURE GROUPS: Secondary pressure groups are those groups which dont involve themselves in actual political processes; mainly they engage themselves in non-political activities. Example of secondary pressure groups includes churches and many charities. INTEREST GROUPS: An interest group is a type of pressure group that exists to advance or protect the interests of its members. Interest groups (sometimes called sectional, protective or functional groups) are groups that represent a particular section of society: workers, employers, consumers, an ethnic or religious group, and so on. Interest groups have the following features: They are concerned to protect or advance the interests of their members. Membership is limited to people in a particular occupation, career or economic position Members are motivated by material self-interest Trade unions, business corporations, trade associations and professional bodies are the prime examples of this type of group. They are called interest groups because they represent a particular section of the population.

CAUSE GROUP: A cause group is another type of pressure group that exists to advance particular values, ideals and principles. Cause groups (sometimes called promotional, attitude or issue groups) are groups that are based on shared attitudes or values, rather than the common interests of its members. The causes they seek to advance are many and various. They range from charity activities, poverty reduction, education and the environment, to human rights, international development and peace. Cause groups have the following features: They seek to advance particular ideals or principles Membership is open to all Members are motivated by moral or altruistic concerns (the betterment of others) Specific examples of cause groups include the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), Shelter, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Electoral Reform Society. When involved in international politics, these groups are often called non-governmental organizations, or NGOs. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN INTEREST AND CAUSE GROUPS:

Defend interests Closed membership Material concerns a group of Benet members only

Promote a cause Open membership Moral concerns a group for Benet others or wider society.

INSIDER GROUPS: Insider pressure groups are those groups that are consulted on a regular basis by government. They operate inside the decision-making process, not outside. Their degree, regularity and level of consultation varies, of course. Ultra-insider groups are regularly consulted at ministerial or senior official level within the executive. They may also sit on government policy committees and agencies and have links to parliamentary select committees. Examples of insider groups include the CBI, National Farmers Union (NFU), BMA, MENCAP and the Howard League for Penal Reform.

OUTSIDER GROUP: Outsider pressure groups are those groups which are not consulted by government and not consulted at ministerial or senior official level within the executive. Outsider groups, by contrast, have no special links to government. They are kept, or choose to remain, at arms length from government. They therefore try to exert inuence indirectly via the mass media or through public opinion campaigns. Examples of outsider groups include the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INSIDER AND OUTSIDER PRESSURE GROUPS:

Access to policy-makers (Often) low prole Mainstream goals Strong leadership

No & limited access to policy-makers. High prole Radical goals Strong grass-roots

RELIGIOUS PRESSURE GROUPS: Religious pressure groups generally attempt to protect the interest of a particular religion. In the USA, the National Council of Churches is a religious pressure group. The other religious pressure groups are the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, etc In the Indian context, the caste and communal associations can be categorized as religious pressure groups. In Indian politics, caste associations are increasingly getting prominence and becoming very influential. BUSINESS GROUPS: Businessmen are generally well-organized and their concern would be to get reasonable restrictions imposed on the production and distribution of goods, import and export of commodities, determination of price of commodities, etc. There are business groups like the National Association of Manufacturers in the USA, the Federation of British Industries, the National Council of French Employers, the Federation of German Industry, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), etc.These business groups keep in touch with political parties and contribute to party funds and some candidates in elections are financed by the businessmen.

LABOUR ORGANIZATIONS: There are labor organizations like the communist dominated Confederation of Christian Trade Unions in France, German Confederation of Trade Unions, Transport and General Workers' Union in England, Indian National Trade Union Congress, etc. The labor organizations are concerned with payment of adequate wages, reasonable working hours and conditions of service, compensation in case of some accident, etc. The Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh have links with political parties like the Congress (I), Communist parties, the Socialist Party, the BJP etc'. All these trade unions are regarded as major Indian Labor Organizations concerned more with domestic policy issues and origin policy matters. PROFESSIONAL ORGANISATIONS: Association, medical association, bar association, etc. are regarded as pressure groups based on their professions. The American Association of University Teachers, All-Iridia Federation of University and College Teachers' Organizations; the American Bar Association, the Indian Political Science Association, the British Medical Association are some of the examples of professional pressure groups.


Promote education. Pressure Groups stimulate debate and discussion, helping to create a better informed and more educated electorate. In particular, they provide citizens with alternative sources of information. In providing government with technical expertise and practical advice, they also improve the quality of public policy. Check & balance on government: Groups check government power and, in the process, defend rights and freedom. They do this because they are autonomous and independent from government. Groups thus ensure that the state is balanced against a vigorous and healthy civil society. Influence government: Pressure groups provide a means of inuencing government between elections, especially giving a political voice to minority groups that are ignored by political parties.

Maintain political stability: Pressure groups provide a channel of communication between citizens and government; they help to uphold political stability by ensuring that government responds to popular demands and concerns. Pressure groups therefore function as a kind of safety valve in the political system. Publicity & raised awareness: Publicity and raised awareness are important to a pressure group because it allows people more information regarding a particular cause or issue that they may not have been aware of beforehand. It also encourages people to join in and voice their opinions on issues that they care about. Opportunities for political participation: Pressure groups generally promote opportunities for political participation for citizens, without the need to join a political party. Moreover, they allow for the democratic rights of freedom of speech, assembly and association to be upheld. Make governments more responsive : Pressure groups are a vital link between the government and the governed. They keep governments more responsive to the wishes of the community, especially in between elections. Express the views of minority groups: Pressure groups are able to express the views of minority groups in the community who might not otherwise receive a hearing. Provide information & advice to government: Pressure groups are able to use their expertise to provide the government with important information and offer an alternative source of advice to the government, separate from that coming from the Public Service.


Effectiveness of groups in stimulating political education: Pressure groups are every bit as biased and subjective as political parties, and there are few checks or constraints on what a pressure group spokesperson may say. Role of groups in formulating policy: Only a small body of pressure groups mainly insider groups, are involved in policy formulation. Most of the pressure groups should not inuence the policy process because they are not elected and are not publicly accountable.

Capacity of groups to carry out representation: Groups have a low level of internal democracy, creating the possibility that they express the views of their leaders and not their members. The inuence of groups on government does not always reect their membership size or their popular support. Role of groups in implementing policy: Policy implementation gives pressure groups unfair political leverage in inuencing policy decisions. Narrow self-interest: Groups are socially and politically divisive, in that they are concerned with the particular, not the general. In defending minority views or interests, pressure groups may make it more difficult for governments to act in the interest of the larger society. Unaccountable & Non-legitimate power: Critics have questioned whether pressure groups exercise rightful or legitimate power in any circumstances. Unlike conventional politicians, Pressure groups usually lack internal democracy, pressure-group leaders have not been elected and Pressure groups are therefore not publicly accountable, meaning that the influence they exert is not democratically legitimate. This problem is compounded by the fact that very few pressure groups operate on the basis of internal democracy. Leaders are very rarely elected by their members and so are unaccountable to their members. The use of direct action by pressure groups (e.g. strikes by unions, demonstrations, blockades, pickets) can cause hardship to the community in general. Some pressure groups are not democratic in themselves. They have unrepresentative leaders who do not reflect the opinions of their organizations members. Some pressure groups exert influence because of their financial position, membership or organization. This influence may be out of proportion to their position in society. Some pressure groups use elections as a tactical weapon. Any group that puts candidates up for election is technically a party, not a pressure group.


In Pakistan Political pressure groups and leaders are: Other: military (most important political force); ulema (clergy); landowners; industrialists; small merchants Political parties in Pakistan cannot provide adequate representation for the full range of diverse interests and opinions in a modern democracy because their key function is to aggregate interests into a coherent political entity capable of governing the country. However, pressure groups enable particular interests and causes to be heard and to exert influence in public decision and decision-making. In Pakistan, pressure groups have greatly improved the quality of government. Consultation with affected groups is the rational way to make decisions in a free society. It makes government more efficient by enhancing the quality of the decision making process - the information and advice provided by groups helps to improve the quality of government policy and legislation. Pressure groups use many tactics to pressurize the Pakistani government. For example, they assist the surveillance of the government by exposing information it would rather keep secret, thereby reinforcing and complementing work of opposition through political parties. Pressure groups thereby improve the accountability of decision makers. Large-scale demonstrations mounted by any group sometimes leads to unpleasant clashes with the police, sometimes involving water-cannons, canes and other violent means being used to disrupt protests and demonstrations. When this happens, different levels of civil disobedience are undertaken and the government has but no choice to take a look at the demands. Pressure groups affect the governmental affairs in many ways. They enable new concerns and issues to reach the political agenda, thereby facilitating social progress and preventing social stagnation. For example: the new provinces and non-American intervention movements. The government can then integrate these into its current regime to improve it further. In Pakistan, as in other countries, the business community also has organizations or committees that perform the role of pressure groups to project, promote, and protect the interests of members. These organizations may cater to the combined interests of the business community, such as Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, or they may look after the interest of, for example, the automotive industry, the textile spinning mills, or the rice exporters. SITE Association of Industry, with the late Ejaz Shaffi at the helm, took up the challenge. For nine consecutive days, hundreds of industries stopped production and a huge crowd of 500600 industrialists would be present in the offices of SITE Association of Industry. Today, if such an occasion rises, hardly a few dozen would come to register their protests. The notorious decision was withdrawn due to the pragmatic thinking of Premier Junejo who

came to Karachi and accepted the contention of the industrialists. SITE Association of Industry became known as a powerful pressure group and earned the title of Voice of Industry. Another worthwhile example of the success of a pressure group has been the joint effort of SITE Association of Industry, All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association, Pakistan Yarn Merchants Association, and Pakistan Silk and Rayon Mills Association. The intensified campaign conducted by the leaders of these Associations through lobbying at every forum, through writing to policy makers or in the newspapers, through speeches and presentations, and through various forms of persuasion resulted in the formation of the Committee for the Rationalization of Tariff on Textiles and Raw Materials for the Polyester Industry under the leadership of Zubair Motiwala by the CBR Chairman. The recommendations of the Committee were accepted in Toto and thus import duties were slashed, sales tax on textiles became a thing of the past, and CBR spurred into action to curb under-invoicing, misdeclaration, and smuggling. This is a vivid example of the effectiveness of a serious and genuine pressure group. The denial of Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to India is also the success of pressure groups. The anti-Indian lobby opposed to granting this status because they consider MFN to mean that the enemy is the best friend. This nomenclature devised by someone sitting in the hallowed halls of a government building in Washington, has connotations that this lobby considers as anathema. The other lobby is that vested interest that deals or facilitates undocumented trade between the two neighbors. The power of these two pressure groups has had such a forceful effect on the government that inspite of ratifying SAFTA, the MFN status has been denied to India.