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Dawn

Published Date: May 9, 2011

ARMY SHOULD RESTRICT TO DEFENDING COUNTRY

The Pakistan military`s constitutional role is to defend the country and not to develop enterprises, and that the military`s intervention in the economy has led to social injustice, inefficiency and unequal economic and political development.

This was stated by Dr Shahrukh Rafi Khan, Copeland Fellow at the Amherst College, US, while speaking at a seminar on: “The military and economic development in Pakistan organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday.

“Pakistans army is counted among the powerful and big armies of the world which consumes tremendous resources and avoids any accountability to the civilians,” he added and differed with the notion that military generals are better administrators and managers.

“The military has, over the years, engaged itself in enterprise development as it has developed big foundations and corporations,” he said adding that the only reason of survival of those corporations is huge hidden subsidies not the administrative and management capacity of the army.

He said that subsidy provided to those corporations in 2010 alone was equal to 50 per cent of the total Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of the country.

He lamented that the other big institutions such as Pakistan Cricket Board and Wapda were also headed by serving generals.

Dr Khan gave a detailed and comparative account of his research study which assesses the outcomes of economic development under military rules in Pakistan while using the deductive, inductive and descriptive research methods.

He also challenged the commonly-held perception that the country had experienced better economic growth and development during military regimes as compared to civilian governments.

His research analysis revealed that although macroeconomic growth increased in some respects under military regimes but human development conditions, social sector development, efficiency and equality of the economy and social justice decreased significantly during times.

“Development is a collective social action and only social justice keeps people in a collective project where the benefits are proportionate,” he added.

Dr Khan citing the cases of Bangladesh and Balochistan and South Punjab gave detailed background of military`s drift towards politics and internal affairs of the country mainly through four military coups.

Talking of foreign debt and loans, he said the beneficiaries of those heavy loans had been the ruling elite while the poor people would have to repay the loans.

He said the only sustainable solution of the problem was that the democratic process persists and the country was given chance to practice the democracy which would subsequently strengthen the civilian rule over military.

“Democratic process in the US and UK took a long time to be strong and representative of common people,” he said adding the corruption and political victimisation were rampant in these countries but have eventually succeeded in developing a strong democracy and democratic structure free of military interferences