JUST IN !!! A wonderful refute to Ayesha Siddiqa's lies & distortion of facts!
Ayesha Siddiqas MILITARY INC: A Deflective and Derogatory Book
Written By: Afreen Baig
Ayesha Siddiqa?s MILITARY INC: A Deflective and Derogatory Book Our leader - Musharraf
Dr Ayesha Siddiqas The Military Inc. is a book deflective of reality, highly derogatory and against the very notion of sovereignty.
Dr Ayesha Siddiqa launches the book by giving the impression that her intention is to cover the entrepreneurial activities of military worldwide. However, in depth reading reaffirms suspicions that her book massively targets the Pakistan Military and the top echelons of the Armed Forces, most of which are based upon self serving assumptions and intentional hoodwinking. A labyrinth of financial figures is presented to further obscure the ordinary readers intelligence.
The book sets forward four arguments. First, that MILBUS (Military Business) is military capital that perpetuates the militarys political predatory style; and is kept concealed and includes questionable transfer of resources from public sector to individuals connected with armed Forces. Second, the militarys economic greed increases in totalitarian systems. Third, Military convinces the citizens to bear additional costs for security on basis of conceived threats to the State. Fourth, the book considers the Pakistan Military the cause of all ills, social disparity and democratic fiasco.
Lets start by setting the record straight. MILBUS in Pakistan - is the result of honest intentions and visionary policies - to raise independent resources, to self-finance the on-going national technological development, to modernize strategic assets, and most importantly, the determination to rely less on Foreign Aid. While at the same time, build facilities for retired military personnel and their families; and slowly withdrawing from National Defense budget allocation as a percentage of GDP.
MILBUS also exists in well developed countries like the USA, UK, France, China, Israel or even Turkey. The Milbus or the PMEs (Private Military Enterprises) are generally known as the Private Military Industry. Famous US PMEs include Halliburton, Black-water worldwide, Defensecurity, Titan Corporations, Kellogg Brown & Root, Air Scan, DynCorps, CACI International, etc. Famous UK PMEs include Black-Ops and Aegis Defense Services. Most of these are active beneficiaries of the Iraq War. The worldwide PME industry is now worth over $100 billion a year. Thus, this is not just a Pakistan specific industry.
MILBUS in Pakistan is being criticized unnecessarily, with the sole intention to malign the Armed Forces. The Pakistan military has never intended to deliberately conceal their economic activities and they do not cause injustice by weighing heavily on civilian corporate sector or individual leaders.
The book Military Inc is based upon a series of presumptions and false accusations. Throughout her book, the author obstinately insists that the growth of Military economy is the case of self interest and predatory acquisition by senior officers, in which it allow the Generals to seek benefit for themselves and their clients.
The author fails to provide, any concrete evidence that could confirm her allegations, that questionable transfer of wealth is made to individuals connected with armed forces. All she could give in example were the 500 sq yard official plots given to the Generals at the end of their service, as part of their benefits, and hence her assumption that a retired general is worth from Rs.150 million to Rs.400 million.
Rarely do critics mention, that nominal deduction from the pay of all military officers are made during their service, in return for a small apartment or a small housing, which is handed over at the time of their retirement. However, this facility is still not available to all retiring servicemen.
Next, the book alleges that the militarys economic greed increases in totalitarian systems, where the general public, private businessmen, civilian corporate sector and national business units are all oppressed to encourage and endorse military business units. Her book focuses largely on the four welfare projects managed by the Pakistan Military i.e. The Fauji Foundation (FF), the Army Welfare Trust (AWT), Shaheen Foundation (SF) and Bahria Foundation (BF), and in some places the Frontier Works Organization (FWO).
The author believes that the profit earned by military is directly proportional to power and gives the armed forces a sense of being independent of the incompetent civilians - which can only be considered as an extremely reckless comment.
There was great wisdom behind establishing these welfare projects. The visionary minds knew that the profit earned by the military will be directly proportional to Sovereignty of the Country and the Institution.
The Military established its first welfare foundation in 1954, with funds received from the British as part of Pakistans share of the Post War Services Reconstruction Fund. In India, those funds were distributed immediately amongst those who fought the Second World War. Unlike India, Pakistans wise military opted to use those funds to establish projects that would ensure the overall well-being, availability of jobs, and a decent pension for their armed forces.
The initial purpose of these welfare projects was to create employment opportunities for the honorable retired or disabled military personnel. Servicemen - whose only obligation is defending the borders of Pakistan.
This one wise decision, not only raised the morals of the serving military men, but also gave the ordinary citizens a reason to join the Armed Forces of Pakistan and serve their country. Assured that their future is protected, the servicemen live their lives in testing times on borders, remote locations and a life away from family.
The Fauji Foundation, Shaheen Foundation and Bahria Foundation were all established under the Charitable Endowments Act 1890. The Army Welfare Trust was established under the Societies Registration Act 1860.
Then all these entities are registered Tax-paying Companies. The Army Welfare Trust and the Fauji Foundation pays tax at 20% of their profits. Shaheen Foundation and Bahria Foundation pay Taxes at 30% of their profits. Fair enough!
This limited industrial base that evolved over years added to the militarys credibility and resolves to contribute towards the Nations socio-economic development and Pakistans Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Like any ordinary successful businessmen or multi-national corporations (MNCs), the Pakistan Military utilized their available structure, nominal budget and dedicated their human resources for the welfare of the uniformed men and civilians working in those companies. While also pioneering technology, developing expertise and establishing quality control.
The book Military Inc accuses the Pakistan Armed forces of running business (MILBUS) that are diverse in nature, ranging from small scale to large scale corporate enterprises. As examples, it quotes Schools, Banks, Insurance Company, Radio and TV, a Fertilizer company, Hospitals and Clinics, Cement plant, Universities and institutes, etc.
Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa left no opportunity to magnify and exaggerate the limited and partial presence of MILBUS competing in Pakistans broad based expanding economy.
Lets analyze the limited magnitude and negligible worth of these Military run ventures, compared to similar mega business entities currently present in Pakistan.
According to State Bank of Pakistan, there are total 73 Banks in Pakistan. From which, there are 24 Limited banks, 11 Foreign Banks, 8 Financial Banks, 4 Specialized Banks, 13 Investment Banks, 7 Micro-finance Banks and 6 Islamic banks. Out of these total 73 banks - Dr Ayesha Siddiqa tends to be intolerable towards ONE Askari Bank run by Military? In 2007, Askari Bank paid a Tax of Rs. 743 million.
According to Federal Bureau of Statistics, there are 24 Cement plants in Pakistan, and only ONE owned by Fauji Cement Company Ltd. A Tax-paying company listed on the Stock Exchange.
According to State Bank of Pakistan, there are total 59 Insurance companies in Pakistan. There are 4 in the Public sector, 50 companies in the private sector and 5 are incorporated abroad. Why should anyone be narrow-minded towards ONE owned by military - Askari General Insurance Ltd, which is listed on the Stock Exchange and pays Tax?
According to the Health Division and the P.M.D.C, there are around 924 Hospitals, 12,726 Medical Institutions, 560 Rural Health Centers and 4712 Dispensaries all over Pakistan. Out of these, if 10 Hospitals and 20 Medical Centers are being run by Fauji Foundation, whats the hue & cry about? These Medical services are offered to the military and civilians alike. Even the prestigious Aga Khan Health Services (AGHS) own 7 Hospitals and 164 Medical Centers.
According to State Bank Pakistan, there are above 10 Fertilizer Plants in Pakistan from which 6 are State owned and the rest are private. Out of these, only ONE is military owned, the Fauji Fertilizer Company Ltd, which is listed on the Stock Exchange and audited by KPMG Taseer Hadi & Co, and pays Tax annually.
According to Higher Education Commission, there are 122 Universities in Pakistan. Out of which, 65 are in the Public sector and 57 in the private sector. Foundation University and Bahria University are the only two affiliated with Armed Forces providing quality education to all citizens alike.
Foundation Schools have 90 branches all over Pakistan; compared to the City School which has more than 150 branches and the Beacon-house School which has around 130 branches. We as a Nation should triumph the quality education being promoted by the Foundation schools and the model paradigm implemented.
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has 50,125 companies registered with it. From these only 9 are MILBUS projects. Why cant Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa accept these 9 MILBUS projects out of the 50,125 projects broadmindedly?
The author also alleges that Militarys Internal Economy is hampering the growth of Pakistans free market economy - which of course is not true. For her information, under this same system and era, and under the leadership of General Musharraf, Pakistans free market economy boomed from $75 billion in 1999 to become $160 billion in 2007.
In the last 6 years, the free market economy of Pakistan expanded by $85 billion. The expansion and growth the Civilian Corporate sector, National Business Units and Multi-National Corporations witnessed in these last 6 years remain unprecedented in Pakistans Economic History. Hence proven, that Militarys Internal Economy did not hamper Pakistans free market economy!
According to Dr Ayesha Siddiqas book, the worth of Fauji Foundation is $169m, the worth of Army Welfare trust is $862m, the worth of Shaheen Foundation is $34.4m and the worth of Bahria Foundation is $69m. Total worth of MILBUS entities in Pakistan arise to ONLY $1.135 billion.
Hence, the presence of MILBUS companies, in Pakistans free economy of $160 billion, amongst these other sectors and enterprises arises to a negligible maximum 0.8%.
The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) Market Capitalization in January 2008 stood at $75 billion. MILBUS worth as compared to KSE again arises to only 1.5%.
Its amusing to note that Dr Ayesha Siddiqa wrote a whole book, to malign a system (MILBUS) whose worth does not exceed 0.8% of Pakistans free market economy
READ FULL ARTICLE - A wonderful refute to the lies & distortion presented by Dr Ayesha Siddiqa - BELOW!!
READ FULL ARTICLE: Our leader - Musharraf
Ayesha Siddiqa?s MILITARY INC: A Deflective and Derogatory Book Our leader - Musharraf
Your comments & views will be welcome!