:Politics in Pakistan

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by muhandis89, Sep 19, 2010.

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  1. Do you think that Politics in Pakistan is:

    The epitome of Democracy-We could learn from them.

    Rich politicians who take from the poor-Robin Hood could learn from them.

    A country where legal process against politicians is mostly flawed.

    Not cricket.
  2. Something like 50 families own and run everything. They also play cricket.

  3. Agreed bakerlite. Those same families' wealth is based on money laundering, tax evasion and smuggling. In addition nobody pays income tax, choosing instead to bribe their revenue officer. As a result Pakistan's only significant sources of income are remittances from Pakistanis working overseas along with overseas aid. As a result the country is not viable. This has been the case since 1947 so they are having quite a good run.
  4. Tiny highly corrupt feudal elite from which is drawn a hard right officer corp, dreaming fondly of winnable nuclear war and a righteous Jihad against the Hindu Zionist-Crusader nexus. Traditionally the folks we coddle, shower with aid and seek to maintain in power.

    Under this shower of disgraces a highly volatile ethno-sectarian patchwork that is barely cohesive. It's surprising that despite their betters best efforts the country possesses a rather promising civil society and civilian institutions. This contrast we do our best to ignore as its somewhat embarrassing.
  5. fixed that for you
  6. Rayc

    Rayc RIP

    Pakistan Army (Fauji Foundation or FF) plays a major part in Pakistan's industrial and economic infrastructure.
    FF is a proactive organization. FF's corporate strategy is diversified portfolio. Pursuant to this strategy FF has interests in different industrial sectors such as Fertilizer, Gas exploration, Cement, Food, Oil & Gas Distribution and Power sector. Investment Division of FF is assigned the role of looking at new investments besides ensuring optimality in the existing investments.


    The FF also is in real estate.

    The first Army in the world to enter corporate ventures!!
  7. Rayc

    Rayc RIP

    One has to realise how and why the Pakistan Army plays an important part in Pakistan economy and infrastructure.


    Soldiers of Fortune

    Business in Jackboots

    The Pakistan military .... financial empire has an approximate financial size of 200 billion rupees with military-controlled welfare foundations operating in areas ranging from banking, insurance, leasing and real estate to private security, education, airlines, cargo services, knitwear, and major agri-based industries.

    These businesses denote an additional cost for the government because of the use of state assets. .... use state resources without reimbursing the government. However, the military's top management continues to claim that these are purely private sector ventures that do not fall under the scope of government accountability procedures....

    According to the former governor, State Bank of Pakistan, Ishrat Hussain, the military's stakes in the private sector are about 3.6 per cent. However, the former governor's estimates do not take into account the military business complex's real estate investments. Moreover, his estimates are based on the data collected from the Karachi Stock Exchange, which does not include a number of the military's business ventures. The military's corporate empire comprises 100 projects controlled directly or indirectly by the four welfare foundations, most of which are not even listed with the stock exchange. ....the entire armed forces, the fact is that the officer corps, especially the top echelons, are the key beneficiaries of the military's economy. .....

    A political army's interests in remaining well-entrenched in politics become significant when it has equally significant financial stakes in staying on top of things.

    The armed forces' direct or indirect involvement in the economy and its parallel control of power politics allows it access to privileged information which, in Pakistan's case, has allowed ...., the AWT and the Fauji Foundation, to become two of the largest business conglomerates in the country. Besides access to strategic economic information, these business groups have been given tax breaks as well. .......

    Although all of these aforementioned cases are problematic, it is the military's direct and indirect involvement that is of major concern, especially for economies trying to survive. This is because in this situation money could be created or there could be an injudicious use of resources even in the corporate sector..........

    the Fauji Foundation and the Army Welfare Trust - representing two of the largest conglomerates in the country. This quantification does not, however, include the extent of the military's intricate network that forms its economic/commercial empire.

    To even have an idea of how deep the network is, one needs to look at three distinct levels: (a) small and medium enterprises run independently by units and divisions. These businesses range from bakeries to more intensive ventures; (b) public sector large enterprises - this refers to organisations like the NLC and FWO that are run under a formal public sector set-up; and (c) large-scale private sector ventures where some or all of the capital has been drawn from the public sector. The control, definitely, is in the hands of the armed forces. For instance, the management of the foundations is connected with the service headquarters. To get an idea of the size of the private ventures, the Fauji Foundation has 21 projects, the AWT 41, Bahria Foundation 23 and the Shaheen Foundation has 11. These range from bakeries, petrol pumps and international airlines to real estate, financial services and banks.

    Referring to the military's small and medium enterprises, ,,,,, recent venture started by the corps command/cantonment board Bahawalpur......The cantonment board erected a toll plaza on the main GT road and started to collect money, an action that is in contravention of the cantonment board/local bodies law. As per the rules, none of these organisations can impose a tax on a highway. Of course, the High Court rejected the plea against the decision, and one does not have to wonder why. Such ventures are carried out to make money that is then put in the regimental fund in the name of welfare, but with no accountability. There is absolutely no method to quantify the extent of such activities and the money generated through it. Unfortunately, the lack of transparency breeds corruption.......

    The businesses run by Fauji generate sufficient profit for the ventures to expand. However, efficient operations are not a common feature through the spectrum of the Fauji Foundation business. There are areas where the Foundation has, in the past, sought government intervention and financial help to remain afloat. ... example ... Fauji-Jordan Cement. The operation had to be salvaged through help from Islamabad. In fact, a glance at the financial statements shows that the amount of the interest payable is so high that such establishments could be conveniently liquidated.....

    What is interesting about most of the business and industrial ventures is that the operations are in areas with high government protection or relate to high consumption items. ...the military's major industrial ventures are confined to sugar, fertiliser, cereal, and cement production. The idea is to restrict operations to areas that are financially less risky and bring higher dividends. This is a pattern that one finds in other areas of operations as well. Major concentration in the trade and service industry is in areas where the foundations could either benefit from business provided by the parent services or where there is a greater surety of returns. The two examples..... i the knitwear project of the AW and the real estate businesses of AWT, Bahria and Shaheen. The additional benefit is that land is often acquired on concessional rates due to the military's image and then sold at higher market prices. The profits are definitely visible even in cases where a service has not invested a major share of resources in a project.......

    The construction of the Bahria town in Rawalpindi and other cities is replete with stories of kickbacks to individuals.... . ....However, the court decided in the businessman's favour .........

    Contrary to the practice followed by foundations that procure land against a certain price, service headquarters do not pay any price for the land acquired to establish welfare housing schemes. It is only the construction price for the house or flat that is borne by the officer who has been given the property. Hence, it is not surprising to see state land previously dedicated for military purposes being consumed by such housing schemes. In Lahore cantonment alone, about 600 acres of land allocated for army exercises and other uses was arbitrarily taken and converted into housing schemes or given to officials for the paltry sum of 17 million rupees. Intriguingly, no one seems to have questioned the decision.

    Today, military's economic activities can be observed in all three key segments of the economy: agriculture, manufacturing and service industries...... Some of the military's concerns have huge operating/management costs. As for the AWT, it had to ask the government for a 5.4 billion rupee bailout in 2002..... the Nawaz Sharif government bailed out the trust through helping it with one of its foreign loans. This is highly scandalous, and certainly as scandalous as the Sharifs getting unfair concessions for the Ittefaq group. ........

    Nawaz Sharif is not the only one who supported the military's business. A number of projects by the welfare foundations were sanctioned under Benazir Bhutto's government as well, with rumors of close linkages between Asif Zardari's close friends and Shaheen Foundation's management regarding the setting up of the Shaheen pay-TV and radio projects.....

    ..... In Pakistan's elitist-authoritarian political system, which is backed by a top-down authoritarian economic model of progress and development, the political class seek the military's partnership for their personal gains. Since the military is a permanent actor in politics, which also keeps returning to power, other players seek to build a partnership with the GHQ or not disturb its interests to seek economic gains. ......

    The negative impacts are multi-dimensional and it is not just on the economy, but also on the profession of the military as well. .....

    According to a senior retired army officer, Zia used these foundations to reward people he liked, or punish those he didn't by kicking them out of the mainstream GHQ positions into the foundations. But for the majority, it is a perk that requires major compromises during their military career......, especially at the top...... the number of soldiers involved in such ventures at the unit/division/corps level, and even looking at the post-retirement benefits, a lot would view these as an extension of their power and influence......an attitude of grabbing financial opportunities that tends to ruin the organisational ethos. Hence, there are problems even with this, otherwise, benign model.......

    Ayesha Siddiqa is the author of the upcoming book, Military Inc, Inside Pakistan's Military Economy (to be released in April 2007)

  8. In my youth there was a lot of talk about the evils of the Capitalist 'Military Industrial Complex.'
    The hippies should take a look at the real 'Military Industrial complex', as designed by the Chinese PLA, and copied by those other beacons of democracy, Zimbabwe, Iran, Burma, and Pakistan.

    When the military take over the 'commanding heights' of the economy, then all kinds of nasty, unaccountable things happen. In Pakistan's case, this has happened with the connivance of the biggest collection of feudal crooks since the Wars of the Roses who claim to run the civil government.

    Forty years ago I would have said that Pakistan was ripe for a Maoist insurgency. That boat has sailed, but I don't think that there's a real alternative in place yet. Militant Islam couldn't organise and run even a mediocre Third World state, as proved by such towering successes as Iran, Somalia and Afghanistan. So, if democracy and feudalism are disgraced, Communism dead in the water, and only some beardy-weirdie religious nutters claiming that 'Allah is the solution' are the only other options on offer, I foresee Pakistan slowly disintegrating into tribal groupings and becoming a 'Failed State'.

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    Deleted to sort quotation

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    Rayc - with respect to your historical scholarship, but I think you'll find the SS beat them to it.
  11. Turkey was also once a fine example of military led corruption. I'd not be so sure about the beardy-weirdie tendency being doomed to fail in government, the AKP are basically beards in suits and the secular Turks I know distrust them but say they've improved the place immensely. There's not really anything ideologically about a lot of Islamists that makes them less likely to succeed than German Christian Democrats or Emperor Worshiping Shinto folk. Though I agree entirely that Pakistans knuckle dragging religious parties would be hopeless, Pakistanis realize this as well and very few have ever voted for them, it's Pindi that keeps the far right buggers going.

    Incidentally speaking of the Military Industrial Complex Ike so disapproved of. I've just been reading Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963. Sixties California was one big government led defense pork rush and what's not to like? Gave us the internet and lots of ludicrously useless weapon systems that often have never killed anyone. A slow moving blue collar guy on the defense production lines could run a house with a pool and couple of cars without even running up debt and retire with a decent pension. Pretty much a workers paradise, all vanished now of course, bear state's well buggered.
  12. Rayc

    Rayc RIP

    Giving aid for national calamities is a noble act.

    However, it is also essential that it is used for the purpose donated.

    Pakistan's record is not too clean in this regard.