Islamabad, (Samajweekly) It is often said that Pakistan or Toxicistan’s destiny has been shaped by the three As – Allah, (Pak) Army and America – and this is as valid today as it was 60 or 70 years ago. On Tuesday, Pakistan continued in its errant ways, resorting to heavy shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district, prompting strong retaliation by the Indian Army. Even as it keeps India busy on the borders, it goes about its daily business of running its business with great elan.
One would think that the Pakistan Armed Forces’s tradecraft was limited to securing its borders and creating military strategies to undermine India, but the Fauj is arguably the biggest industrial and business behemoth, also called Pakistani MilBus with over 100 independent businesses operated by subsidiaries of five Foundations of the military, viz. Fauji Foundation (run by the Ministry of Defence), Army Welfare Trust (run by Pakistan Army), Shaheen Foundation (run by Pakistan Air Force), Bahria Foundation (run by Pakistan Navy), and Pakistan Ordnance Factory Board Foundation (run under the Ministry of Defence).
The matrix of this gargantuan enterprise is all pervasive in Pakistan, from cement to cereals, general insurance to gas, fertilisers to fish farms, seeds to stud farms, apparel to aviation, meat to medical equipment, name what you like – the Milbus in Pakistan markets a variety of products with little or no connection to its core duties of defending the borders.
Ayesha Siddiqa in her book “Military Inc – Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy”, describes Fauj Inc succinctly – “military capital that is used for the personal benefit of the military fraternity, especially the officer cadre, but is neither recorded nor part of the defence budget”. She put the cost of this Milbus to at least $20 billion...