WHY & HOW MILITARY BUSINESS SURVIVED IN PAKISTAN

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Since Pakistan came into existence in 1947, around 72 military officers above the rank of Major have been suspended on accounts of corruption charges. The Pakistan army is the one which owns everything in the nation, from factories and bakeries to farmland and golf courses, controls the economy of Pakistan with ruthless monopoly. Many of Pakistan’s largest corporations are also controlled by the military, thanks largely to an opaque network of powerful ‘foundations’ originally set up to look after the pension needs of army personnel. Pakistan Army engages in business activities under the four names – Army Welfare Trust, Military Foundation, Shaheen Foundation and Bahria Foundation. All these businesses are done under the ambit of Ministry of Defence. According to official documents presented in the Parliament, the Pakistan Army runs a business of more than Rs 1.5 lakh crores.

Even as Pakistan has slowly descended into an economic crisis, military officers have been given taxpayer-funded land allocations worth millions of dollars. Together with networks of military-owned conglomerates that produce cement, breed horses and milk, and run educational institutions, the military rests on a gargantuan system of patronage.

The Pakistani forces have looted their own nation. As per reports, the Auditor General of Pakistan has detected grave irregularities in the financial affairs of the armed forces. It has been speculated that a scam of Rs 2500 crores has been committed at the hands of Pakistan army. In the report, the involvement of high rank officers has been revealed. According to the audit report on Defence Services Accounts for the audit year 2021-22, the Pakistani Army has committed Rs 21 billion, Air forces Rs 1.6 billion and the Pakistani navy of 1.6 billion. The audit report has pointed to embezzlement of Rs 66 million in the Inter-Services Organisation and Rs 203 million by the Military Accountant General.

The Pakistan Army has a command over Defence Housing Authority (DHA) in 8 cities across the country. These cities include Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Gujranwala, Bahawalpur, Peshawar and Quetta. Along with cantt area, in posh areas of the prominent cities, Pakistan Army allots lands. The army has more than Rs 2 lakh crore worth property

The report further stated that there are irregularities of Rs 2 billion in Pakistan’s military lands and cantonments. In the purchase related to Pakistan Army canteen a scam of 18 billion rupees was highlighted and sudden cancellation of issued tenders without complying with the procurement norms have incurred a loss of Rs 2 billion. In Pakistan, the defence officials are as corrupt as the administration and are only working for the sake of salary.

On the other hand, the caretaker government of Pakistan’s Punjab province has handed over at least 45,267 acres of land to the army in three districts of the state, Bhakkar, Khushab and Sahiwal. Pakistan Army is now going to do ‘Corporate Agriculture Farming’ on this land. The Pakistan Army had demanded a total of 45,267 acres of land from the state.

According to Credit Suisse report of October 2021, at least 25 retired officers of the Pakistan Army have Swiss Bank accounts. There is around Rs 80,000 crore undeclared assets deposited in these accounts.

Pakistan Wheat Crisis: Heavy shortage of flour in Pakistan, why did such situation come? The management of this entire project will be done by the retired army officers and the Pakistan Army. Pakistan Army sources claim that the growth of the agriculture sector is continuously falling. The reason for this is the flaws in reforms and ineffective agricultural policies. Whatever Pakistan Army may claim, but the reality is that it is making huge money by running more than 100 industries. Pakistan Army is selling everything from oil to fertilizers in the country. Apart from this, the army runs cement, electricity, education, sugar mills and hospitals. The Pakistan Army has a business of more than $ 100 billion inside and outside the country. At the same time, the annual GDP of Pakistan is only around 12 billion dollars. In this way, the business of Pakistan Army is more than 8 times of the total GDP of Pakistan.

The business wing of the Pakistan military is expanding day by day. The country that got freedom from its colonial masters has now become hostage to its own military. The path to true independence and progress lies through peaceful economic development, not though a perpetual wartime economy.

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