Manage Economy, asks the Chief of Pak Army. Some related Army giving lectures on the economy similar to your house’s armed guard telling you how to spend your money. You’d always tell him to mind his own business and ask him to focus more on protecting the house from theft. That is what Ahsan Iqbal has done But army worshippers don’t have the mental fortitude to even think something like that. If Army is really having sleepless nights regarding the economy, then maybe they can reduce the defence budget a little bit to help out the civvies.
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Actually we are confused ideologicaly
Personally, I don’t see a problem with the head of the armed forces showing concern on the horrible economic situation of the country. A possible solution would be stop curb the huge military budget. Stop all their extravagant activities, messes, protocols etc etc. to begin with. This affects the liberty with which the country can proceed to protect her security interests. And so the head of the armed forces, being a citizen of the country, and a very influential one at that, is right in showing concern on something along these lines.
He’s playing politics
Too late for him to wake up, only when his prime minister is ousted he wakes up. Yes, he’s right but this should apply at every level: even foreign policy. Historians repeat that aphorism because Pakistan’s military men have always enjoyed disproportionate political clout. The men in khaki have ruled directly for 33 of the country’s 67 years and have meddled heavily in politics the rest of the time, right up to the present day.
In 1973, she says, almost 90% of the federal budget went to military ends. By the late 1980s, around 80% of current spending either paid off debt or funded the army. Little has improved. Christine Fair, whose ‘Fighting to the End’ is similarly sharp, suggests that the $30 billion of direct and indirect aid which America has given Pakistan in the past 11 years has done little but enrich the military men. — Why Pakistan’s army wields so much power
90% of the defence budget, it must be. No?
How dare you question the boys? Don’t you know all these businesses are carried out to improve Pakistan’s economy. Sounds totally believable. Fresh after losing East Pakistan and receiving a humiliation at the hands of the arch-enemy, no one would dare question: why you spending such a massive amount on defence. Furthermore, losing such a large chunk of land must’ve also freed up resources that under normal circumstances would’ve gone to East Pakistan.
Here is a list of courtesy Dawn featuring 50 commercial entities being run by armed forces
The projects/units being run by the Army Welfare Trust are:
- Two stud farms in Pakpattan and Okara
- Army Welfare Sugar Mills, Badin
- Askari Project (shoe and woollen), Lahore
- Army Welfare Mess and Blue Lagoon Restaurant, Rawalpindi
- Real estate comprising three small housing schemes in Lahore, Badaber and Sangjani
- Askari General Insurance Co Ltd Rawalpindi
- Askari Aviation Services, Rawalpindi
- MAL Pakistan Ltd Karachi
- Askari Guards (Pvt) Ltd, head office (HO) in Rawalpindi
- Askari Fuels (CNG) with HO in Rawalpindi
- Askari Seeds, Okara
- Askari Enterprises, Rawalpindi
- Fauji Security Services (acquired from Fauji Foundation), HO in Rawalpindi
- Askari Apparel, Lahore
- Askari Lagoon, Faisalabad.
The projects/units under Fauji Foundation are:
- Fauji Cereals
- Foundation Gas
- Fauji Fertiliser Company Ltd
- Fauji Cement Co Ltd
- Fauji Oil Terminal and Distillery Co Ltd
- Fauji Kabirwala Power Company Ltd
- Foundation Power Co (Dharki) Ltd
- Askari Cement Ltd
- Askari Bank Ltd
- Foundation Wind Energy (I and II) Ltd
- Noon Pakistan Ltd Lahore
- Fauji Meat Ltd
- Fauji Fertiliser Bin Qasim Ltd
- Fauji Akbar Partia Marine Terminal Ltd, HO in Karachi.
A company under the name of Pakistan Maroc Phosphore SA was set up in Morocco by the Fauji Foundation in 2008.
Similarly, the projects, units and housing colonies under the administrative control of Shaheen Foundation, which is a trust of the Pakistan Air Force, are:
- Shaheen Airport Services
- Shaheen Aerotraders
- Shaheen Knitwear
- Shaheen Complex, Karachi
- Shaheen Complex, Lahore
- Shaheen Medical Services
- Hawk Advertising
- Fazaia Welfare Education School System
- SAPS Aviation College
- Air Eagle Aviation Academy
- Shaheen Welfare Housing Scheme, Peshawar.
I have changed my mind a little on this subject after going through certain paragraphs in the book “Pakistan—A Hard Country” by Anatol Lieven. Copying the relevant excerpts here:
- “One of the chief objections raised against Pakistani military is that they should not be involved in commercial business on principle. This seems to me just another case of insisting that Pakistan rather selectively follow Western models. Since the 1990s, the Chinese military has divested itself of its formerly huge direct commercial holdings, but it has done so by spinning these off into independent companies run by retired officers – similar to those of the Fauji Foundation. The Chinese economic model is emerging as a serious rival to that of the West in Asia, so there is no particular reason why the Pakistani military should be judged according to Western patterns in this matter.”
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- “One of the most serious objections to the industries owned by the military: that the Fauji and Army Welfare Fund industries’ link to the state gives them unfair commercial advantages. It is true that the Welfare Fund has benefited from subsidies, but at least they appear to have been ploughed back into its industries and not simply stolen, as has been the case with so many state loans to private business. Moreover, if the military businesses were deriving really massive competitive advantages from the state, it should be above all rival businessmen who complain, and in my experience this is not the case.”
- “It would also be quite unfair to see the role of ex-soldiers in society as chiefly the result of state patronage. As in some Western societies – but to a far greater extent – retired soldiers are also prized by private businesses and NGOs for the qualities of discipline, honesty, hard work and indeed higher education that they have acquired during their military service – qualities which alas are not so common in wider Pakistani society.”
- “As part of the effort to maintain strong morale, the Pakistani armed forces offer both high pay and excellent services – services that are good by world standards, not just the miserable ones of Pakistan in general. They offer these services not just to the soldiers and their immediate families, but to retired soldiers and the parents of soldiers. The effect has been to make military service very attractive indeed for many ordinary Pakistanis, and to ensure a high quality of recruits. … The family aspect of the Pakistan military was illustrated for me by a visit to the Combined Military Hospital in Peshawar in July 2009 … The hospital and its seventy doctors provide important additional services to the horribly underfunded and overloaded civilian medical services of Peshawar … It was not just the equipment, but also the cleanliness and general atmosphere of the hospital that were striking after some of the truly ghastly state medical institutions
I had visited in Pakistan. … As the hospital commander, Brigadier Khalid Mehmood, in an interview on the same day, told me, ‘All this is so that when the soldier is fighting at the front, he knows that his family are being looked after at home”.
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I’ve too realised we shouldn’t be levying sweeping criticisms and allegations against the institution as a whole. We need to soften our approach, in order not to close out on people with genuine hearts, within the military and those who greatly appreciate their work.