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Published Date: May 9, 2011


Pakistan military’s constitutional role is defense not the enterprise development. Military’s deep intervention in country’s economy has led to social injustice, inefficiency and unequal economic and political development, said Dr. Shahrukh Rafi Khan, Copeland Fellow at the Amherst College, USA while speaking at a special seminar entitled “The Military and economic development in Pakistan” organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday.

Dr. Abid Q. Suleri, Executive Director of the Institute chaired the proceedings and stressed upon the need for social justice, efficiency and equality of economy and its relevance with peoples empowerment and well-being.

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. Dr. Khan challenged the commonly-held perception that the country has experienced better economic growth and development during military regimes as compared to civilian governments. His research analysis revealed that although macro economic growth increased in some respects under military regimes but human development conditions, social sector development, efficiency and equality of the economy and social justice significantly decreased amid upward increase in military and other non-development expenditures. Comparing country’s per capita GDP (PCGDP) income with Korea’s from 1950s to mid-90s, he claimed that country’s PCGDP have even decreased from 9 to 8.3 percent whereas Korea rose from 7.6 to 42.4 percent which has extreme significance with the development of people and economy.

 “Development is a collective social action and only social justice keeps people in a collective project where the benefits are proportionate” he added while citing the cases of Bangladesh and now Balochistan and South Punjab. He gave detailed background of military’s drift towards politics and internal affairs of the country mainly through four military coups. “Pakistan’s 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. Talking of various countries of the world including China, he said that a strong economy needs good administrative and management skills and military always gave the false impression to the people and justified their rules for claiming best management and administrative skills.

He differed to 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 informed that subsidy provided to those corporations in year 2010 alone was equal to 50 percent 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 led by serving generals.

Talking of foreign debt and loans, he said the beneficiaries of those heavy loans have been country’s ruling elite while the poor people will have to repay those loans. He said that the only sustainable solution of the problem is that the democratic process persists and the country is given chance to practice the democracy which will subsequently strengthen the civilian rule over military. He clarified that even the democratic process in United States of America and United Kingdom took a long time to become strong and representative of common people adding that the corruption and political victimization were rampant in these countries but have eventually succeeded in developing a strong democracy and democratic structure free of military inferences like of Pakistan.