12, 2004, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, a leading politician of the Muslim League-N,
was sentenced to 23 years in prison for inciting mutiny in the army, forgery,
In October, 2003, he had read a letter that he received in mail, signed
anonymously by some active military officers at Pakistan Army's Headquarter,
known as The Generals Headquarter (GHQ), calling for an investigation into the
corruption in the armed forces and criticizing the President and Chief of Army
Staff General Pervez Musharraf.
On August 3, 2007, a three-member bench of the
Supreme Court of Pakistan under Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry granted him
bail after serving approximately three and a half years in prison. Javed Hashmi
was released next day from the Central Jail Kotlakhpat in Lahore.
the pre-May 2, 2011 era when hardly anybody, like Hashmi, dared direct or
indirect criticism of the powerful army that is described by Dr Ayesha Siddiqa,
author of Military Inc: Inside Pakistan's Military Economy as the largest
political party. [P-68]
After the May 2 US operation in Abottabad, close to the capital Islamabad, the fortunes of the army have been changed. The US claims, without providing any proof, killing Osama bin Laden who was said to be hiding there for many years. Since then there has been open criticism of army in parliament as well as in press. Ansar Abbasi, commentator of The News, a leading Pakistani English daily asked: Why should we raise and sustain the world's seventh largest Army, costing more than Rs 600 billion per year, if it could not or does not counter such a foreign invasion?
Parliament, newspaper editorials and political talk shows are calling for an
explanation and challenging the all powerful army and intelligence
establishment which is also part of the army, the two institutions previously
immune to public criticism.
On June 9,
Pakistan Muslim League-N member, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, used what Prime Minister
Yousuf Raza Gilani called "abusive language" against the army that was expunged
from the National Assembly record of the proceedings. Rafiq called the Army Major General led Sindh
Rangers as "terrorists in uniform' for killing an unarmed youth in Karachi.
On June 13,
Awami National Party (ANP), an important ruling coalition party went a step
further when its Parliamentary Leader in Senate Haji Muhammad Adeel asked the
finance minister not only to provide details of the defense budget, but also
give details of income of the commercial institutions being run by armed
forces. He told the house that today the armed forces were involved in
construction of plazas, cement and pharmaceutical businesses and even running
petrol pumps, CNG stations and marriage halls. He argued that following in the
footsteps of the army, now police and other institutions had also started doing
Siddiqa's book Military Inc -- Inside Pakistan's Military Economy provides an
insight into the vast and expansive empire that the Pakistani Military has set
up in Pakistan
over the past six decades. Not surprisingly, the book, published in June 2007
is banned in Pakistan.
estimates the military's share of the economy at over 20 billion dollars, besides
owning 11.58 million acres.
happened in Pakistan
is that any sector which could be monopolized, has been attempted by the
military. The military is entrenched in the corporate sector. The list of
industries where military or ex-military were in charge included steel mills,
sugar factories, cement factories, fertilizer factories, cereal factories,
banks, logistics companies, construction companies, utilities, even
universities and other higher education institutions.
Milbus or military
uses the term Milbus or military business to describe the vast economic empire
of the army. Milbus is found in other countries as well. However, Pakistan's
Milbus signifies internal political and economic predation of the military, she
Today the Pakistan
military's internal economy is extensive, and has turned the armed forces into
one of the dominant economic players. The most noticeable and popular component
of Milbus relates to the business ventures of the four welfare foundations: the
Fauji Foundation (FF), Army Welfare Trust (AWT), Shaheen Foundation (SF) and
Bahria Foundation (BF). These foundations
are subsidiaries of the defense establishment. [P-18]
serving officers run secretive industrial conglomerates, manufacture everything
from cement to cornflakes, and own 12m acres [4.8m hectares] of public land,
says Dr Ayesha Siddiqa. Of the 96 businesses run by the four largest
foundations, only nine file public accounts. The generals spurn demands by
parliament to account for public monies they spend.
four foundations were established under the Charitable Endowment Act 1890 or
the Societies Registration Act 1860 as private entities, the accounts of these
foundations are not audited by the government's prime accounting agency the
Auditor- General of Pakistan.
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