Military INC. Inside Pakistan Military Economy 1st Edition by Ayesha Siddiqa

Ayesha Siddiqa Books

Military INC. By Ayesha Siddiqa in the English Language.

Military INC. Pdf Book | Inside Pakistan Military Economy 1st Edition by Ayesha Siddiqa

Dr. Ayesha is one of my favorite authors. And she writes with conviction and detail. It is impossible not to laud this book. Pakistan Army, one of the largest employers in Pakistan is also the most powerful. To write something about this huge reality is surely about risking one’s life. And Dr. Ayesha has done so with great empirical evidence as well.

This book provides a detailed analysis of the various profit-making business ventures of the Pakistan Army. She argues that Army should be a fighting unit and not someone into all kinds of businesses, from cornflakes to agro urea products. And she is right. She often asks this question: How can a business-minded Army fend off attacks? A question that Army generals have failed to answer.

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This book Military Inc provides a good history of how the military controls Pakistani politics, but more importantly, how it controls the economy. Full of facts and data.

The background for the book is the theory, originating among US academics, that the military is the most modern institution in developing societies, and that a politically strong military will therefore develop a country. This view is associated with Morris Janowitz and Samuel Huntington. Being Pakistani, Ayesha Siddiqa has noticed that their theory has not worked. She explains why in this book.

The book covers the theoretical concept of Milbus, which she introduces; the Pakistani military; the political history of Pakistani; the four foundations that run the major investments of the Pakistani military; diversion of state land to private purposes in the interest of senior military officers; the cost of Milbus; and some speculations about its likely impact on the future of Pakistan. These appear sound to a non-expert on the Pakistan army.

If asked to state her general thesis, I would use a metaphor that she does not, and say that the suggestion that the military can develop a developing country in effect casts it in the role of a Marxist vanguard party. It has some advantages in this role, notably including greater administrative competence than a Marxist vanguard party usually has. But it lacks a concept of the revolutionary transformation of society, and it has an entirely different mission from social development, which is national defense. It is subject to the same tendency to corruption as a Marxist vanguard party. So the military can develop society to a certain extent but does so in the interest of military officers, who become a class in the Marxist sense themselves. Corruption, diversion of public resources to private purposes, etc, which are big issues with Marxist vanguard parties in power, are also serious problems with military-led development. The author claims, and makes a fairly good case to support her claim, that the economic interests of the military both increase its political power, and give it an incentive to expand its political power rather than “returning to barracks”.

It is not clear how large a portion of Pakistan’s economy the military controls, but a few figures she offers near the end suggest that it is anywhere from 3-10%.

This book is an academic sociological work, not a call to action. It adheres to the conventions of academic work, meaning that it has a lot of jargon and is fairly difficult to read. It also addresses a specific problem, not just the military but military involvement in the business. Pakistan has enough other problems that this should not be used as an introduction to the sociology of Pakistan.

It has a very detailed explanation of how the army and the politicians have always been working together to achieve their individual goals. The research is top notch and the claims are backed by facts.

However, I do have a problem with the ‘evil’ tag that this book is attaching to the army. What Ayesha has failed to look at (and I guess since this book is ONLY about the hard facts she cannot be held responsible for it) is the human side of things. Survival is everyone’s desire and survival in a lavish style is more so. According to proof in this book, the army officials have used the money for projects to renovate their own lifestyles (and that has to be condemned) but there will always be bad fish in every pond. Let’s not color everyone with the same brush.

I refuse to accept the fact that a soldier is only a soldier because he can dip into the FF or SF to make his house better. These people have a belief that they want to protect Pakistan at all costs and they in their ‘own warped’ (as per Ayesha) manner have done that time and time again.

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