Prime Land, Facilities & Armed Forces

And this post is not only about Islamabad’s prime land only but the prime parts of other cities too, be it Rawalpindi, Lahore, or any other smaller city.

Who is in-charge of all the prime land – the armed forces – who else??

The most beautiful part of Islamabad is most certainly the one near Margallas … and what do you see there?? Yes you are right PAF complex, Naval Complex and coming soon the GHQ.

Unlike any other country, Army’s get quite some attitude in Pakistan. As they rank goes up – so does the number of plots that they get. With unlimited number of other “special advantages” they take. And NO, not only the men or women who are serving in army BUT their families are, by default, included in the package.

If you want a decent membership of any gym or pool, you have to give 3-4 K for that and in PAF and Naval, the “children can enjoy the family memberships in mere Rs 50-100. Is it JUST?? OK I won’t be mentioning the attitude problem with them and the “You Poor Civilian” attitude every child in Army grows up with, somehow.

And the story does not end here … You can see numerous Arrow head number-plated cars roaming around universities, schools, shopping malls in Islamabad – Yes that’s because the begum sahiba or the bibii jii or sahab’s pick and drop is a heavy duty on poor army’s shoulders.

And the LIST just goes on and on and on …!

Maybe only these poor chaps will fight ...!
I wonder if these people, who are so accustomed to luxuries now, can really FIGHT if (god forbid) some war comes up … ?

In our neighboring country or as most of the people say on PTV Parsoi Mulk shows quite a different face. Their generals are not considered OOhs and AAhs as in Pakistan and till they reach this rank they do not usually own one prime land in almost every city of the country. Then why this Armed Forces Hype in Pakistan and it’s since always … it’s not NEW …!

You get retired and Government (65% of which is already army) is waiting for you with Golden Opportunities.

Interestingly in Pakistan Constitution – role of army is defined BUT are they following??

QUIZ TIME: Name Any 5 Organizations (governmental) with NO ARMY PERSONNEL as head of it?

20 Comments so far

  1. SELF (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 6:33 am

    Great post at 5.30 in the morning….

    But do you want to be picked up by ISI? :P

    Not much can be done about army as you already know….many have tried.

    I know all about the special privileges that you mentioned….I used to be ‘family’ of an officer. No door is closed for army, period. Corruption (this word is a joke now) is rife. Even within army they laugh about each other’s corruption behind their backs but each takes away whatever they can with both hands and both feet.


    On a separate note here is what happens to you if you don’t get sleep; No sleep means no new brain cells:

    Not that I am implying anything. :P

  2. 1967 (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 10:14 am

    Ha, do you think these guys can fight a war? The result of last three wars is infront of you…I would recommend reading Stephen Cohen’s book “The Idea of Pakistan” who was a former US ambassador to Pakistan. Looks like he knows more about Pakistan than an average Pakistani does (once again). In short, this country does not have an army, it’s the army who have a country. Atleast the democratic government could do a nuclear blast despite the warning by international community. Our Paki army couldn’t resist a few threats by a foriegn oppressor. The only existing institution in Pakistan has been continously destabalizing other insituitions, and causing impediments in their functioning.

    Due to unlimited powers, absence of accountability and plunder of national wealth, being part of an army family has now become a “status symbol”

  3. mansoor (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 11:10 am

    asma: i take offence to this post :p considering i am one of the “naval children” you talk about.

    To put the facilities of ‘armed forces’ in perspective, let me tell you something.

    My father has served this country for almost 30 years. His total takehome pay (after deductions and everything) is just a little more than mine!

    His friends, who opted for private careers are earning (in some cases) 10 times as much, AND getting corporate benefits left, right and center.

    The reason we get facilities at a reduced rate is just because of the reason that our fathers dont get paid that well.

    Now, i’m sure you must be thinking, ‘Yea right! every fricking person who wears a uniform takes a bribe, cut back, mithai, and therefore, even sepoi’s in the forces are millionaires ten times over’

    It doesn’t work that way.. cutbacks do occur i admit, but only in ‘certain positions’, if you ever knew how rigorous the process of internal vigilance is, you would appreciate this fact.

    A friend’s father got court-marshalled (which in civilian term means discharged from the service with disgrace) for not accounting for a sum of Rs. 2000!

    So please, before pointing your fingers at everyone who wears a uniform, understand what its like to be in one. Above all, understand the kind of person it takes to accept danger to life above all else and to accept a bullet if need be.

    Civilians rarely understand how a military mind works because they have 1)never seen the training they go through, 2)hear about only the bad fish on the news and assume everyone is a sucker and 3)generally dont give a rats ass about following rules themselves and therefore cannot accept that someone else might actually be doing so.

    I end my tirade here… Peace

  4. mansoor (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 11:23 am

    im sorry… but i’ll have to shred this post piece by piece

    “Parsoi Mulk shows quite a different face” im sorry… but i’ll have to shred this post piece by piece

    “Parsoi Mulk shows quite a different face”

  5. Manzoor (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 11:43 am

    Now each day is fair and balmy,
    Everywhere you look, the army.
    Ustad Daman (1959)

  6. ej (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 12:18 pm

    The most amusing thing, if any at all, in such discussions that arise for me is the conviction and certainty with which the person blames Pakistani Army is so uniquely corrupt and power hungry etc. I would also secretly desire to have sources (if at all someone is EVER serious about these issues) to cite whether or not an army officer gets a new plot every time he gets promoted. Oh, does any civilian know the difference between becoming a Major from Captain to becoming a Brig. from Col.? That’d be some mighty perspective.
    P.S. I despise the role of army in governance even though I so dearly maintain the idea that our civil government is nothing but cheap illiterate nawabs and ruthlessly incompetent SOBs.

  7. iabhopal (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 2:19 pm

    Interesting comments by Mansoor.
    Firslty, he didn’t follow that the talk was about Military bureaucracy, that is, people who have red tape on their collar (Colonel and above). Fighting army is Lt. Col and below they are there to die and sweep the filth spread by the red tape.
    Again, the talk is not of those who retired 15 to 20 years back. Up to 1973, equivalent civil and military officers had nearly the same salary. First boost was given by ZAB to civilian and military bureaucrates. Then the process continued. Presently, civilian officer gets half than what an equivalent military officer gets. In the days of Gen Zia ul Haq doling plots to Military red tapes picked up high speed.

    Thirty years back, generals used to travel in jeeps (worse than wagon of today) and NOT in luxury jeeps. Now nearly every general officer has one luxury car with military number plate, 2 luxury cars with civilian number plate and one jeep or pickup for his servants who are also militarymen authorised or unauthorised.

    If any body likes to find the difference between generals of the past and present, he should visit Gulistan Colony, Rawalpindi that houses Colonel to Generals of the past and then go and see how the present day Colonels to Generals are living.

  8. Ejaz Asi (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 3:45 pm

    Iftikhar uncle, let me understand something here. What you said is mostly true and I agree to it. However, I don’t think the author made that distinction. Here’re original words:
    Unlike any other country, Army’s get quite some attitude in Pakistan. As they rank goes up – so does the number of plots that they get. With unlimited number of other “special advantages” they take. And NO, not only the men or women who are serving in army BUT their families are, by default, included in the package.
    Now, I don’t know which words to pick to defend and fight against. I would like to see an aviation or infantry major or even a Lt. Col getting any Unlimited advantages as the author’s put forward. Now, the author does seem to be completely ignorant about compensation and benefits practices ALL OVER THE WORLD among small and big corporations. Otherwise she’d know the idea of family or spouse getting similar benefits is NOT novel.

    The topic is very important to be discussed and debated. My only reason of anguish and disappointment here is that the author must have put some serious considerations and thoughts before writing this down. Or may be there wasn’t any bomb blast or rain pour happening to fill the day’s quota of a post.
    Consider this:
    I wonder if these people, who are so accustomed to luxuries now, can really FIGHT if (god forbid) some war comes up … ?
    What does “these people” mean anyway for goodness sake? Has the author ever lived in Army barracks or known any? Ever known that the helmet of a soldier is often the only POT to drink and eat his meal/water in during the time of exercises and other horrid places? Does the author even know how many “these people” actually have their own transport and how many of “these people” can freely use the army vehicles without CO’s knowledge and/or approval etc..??? Even with the current pile of Army officers, the average pay of a Captain is equivalent to a BCS grad of an average university in an average tech firm in Pakistan whose job of the day is to manage certain no. of websites or debug a software and so on.

    I don’t understand where does this gross generalization comes from? Bad practices exist in almost every sphere of life these days. Not that this makes it more acceptable and more moral. But there’s a certain way of reporting bad practices about armed forces be it any country’s. I’d hate to think that all US Army and all of Israeli forces hate muslims or Pakistanis as much we have been made to believe. If you understand this, you’d be given a greater enlightenment and truth that’s even more painful than those “attitude problems” of army spouses and kids.

    My question to the author, however, is did she recently bumped into a bad-tempered spoiled army kid on the road or what?

  9. JayJay (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

    @Mansoor: You are muddying the water by comparing apples with oranges. Don’t compare your father’s lack of monetary rewards ( I am not mentioning other freebies which military persons and their families are entitled to) from military service with a person in the private section but compare him to someone in the civil bureaucracy. There is simply no comparison. For instance, an armed forces’ general is below a Secretary in bureaucratic hierarchy but the general enjoys a far higher financial status, not to mention the personal clout by the virtue of his professional background.

    Please check out below article to learn the spread of the business empire of military.

    Dr Ayesha Siddiqa’s forthcoming book, “Military Inc: the politics of the military economy in Pakistan” is expected to cover military’s burgeoning interest from real estate to banking to insurance to construction to sugar mills to cement manufacturing to bakeries to dairy forms – you name it.

    Simply put the Military has become an octopus dominating and strangling every aspect of life in Pakistan.

  10. JayJay (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 3:57 pm

    I struggle to name five major civilian organizations which have not been invaded by the military. I also wonder what expertise and resultant improvements, if any, have been brought by the soldiers in civilian institutions.

    I am not even going into the virtual ‘terrorism’ the army are created in the country through its 15, yes 15, intelligence agencies, including notorious ISI, MI, and so on. They are all focused on covering the activities of hapless civilians than focusing on external factors. They have virtually made the civilians hostage. Below is one example of daily happenings.

  11. JayJay (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 3:58 pm
  12. Rehan (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 5:03 pm

    The country’s most feeble minds have become the smartest since they have the guns and tanks turned onto the same nation who hired them to protect her.

    I did my grade 10 in 1978 in Pakistan. I distinctly remember everyone who got first division or above went for pre-engineering and pre-medical F.Sc. The rest i.e those performing below par went to test for military careers. Then after F.Sc. those who got the grades entered medical and engineering schools and the rest went for army careers or otherwise. That was 30 years ago and the recruits of my generation are now the generals and bigadiers of army. You can imagine the mental capabilities of these folks.

    And where else in the world have armed forces turned their guns on their own citizens?

    Not to say that this present military regime has shaken the foundations of this country which was made, obtained based on an ideology and over flowing of rivers of blood.

    Give us a break!

  13. Manzoor (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 5:54 pm

    Here is an excellent article by Tariq Ali on the subject:

  14. Waqas (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 9:32 pm

    RIght….but the basic thing is the army ppl. are getting more and more from the National exchequer…their asses never get ease…
    Pakistan is spending 70% of defence budget on army from which the cantonments are decorated, new cars for sahibs are bought, millions of ruppees are spent on each location and other WWW activities of the Sahibs.

    If Ayub was corrupt who cares, If yahya was corrupt who cares, if zia was corrupt who cares and if musharraf is corrupt who cares…but if nawaz sharif or benazir bhutto does, they should not b allowed to contest election…

    Army chief rules and dies with no accountability to the public but politician is accountable.

    that’s y politicians are better then bloody generals…

    and if you talk about the blunder of all Pakistani Army, that is they accept the orders of gandu generals without thinking at all….

    Rule karo Rule karo, Tum hari bund bajaein gay..
    Tum toba toba karo gay aur hum marte chale jaein gay…

  15. 1967 (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 10:29 pm

    @Ejaz, well if as you said that “even with the current pile of Army officers, the average pay of a Captain is equivalent to a BCS grad of an average university in an average tech firm in Pakistan whose job of the day is to manage certain no. of websites or debug a software and so on”,

    Looks like you have a typical army wala mindset unfortunately, well here is a reality check for you. Atleast the BCS grad is bringing some foriegn exchange to the country, yes the same foriegn exchange that he uses to pay taxes, the taxes that are the life line of black luxury cars running on unlimited supply of petrol (not even CNG) And then one fine day, their chief is brought into power, just because the institution thinks removing him from office was an insult by then demoraticaly elected prime minister of the country? Why can’t civilians interfere then in appointment of corps commanders? People who get facilities in the army navy or the airforce should thank their institutions for giving them much more leverage than they are worth. Let them try comming in the free market with open competition (without the army boot in the background) and see if they are even worth what they are getting from the armed forces. Civilians have to work much harder in stiff competition with no cushion to protect them as in the case of army boot.

    Jajay correctly pointed out, in current setup, the chief secratary is under corps commander when it comes to powers and authority, and rights of “abuse”. Right now we are nation of 16 million being rulled by 16 generals unfortunately, and that has been more than half the history of Pakistan.

    I also agree with Rehan, back when we were kids, armed forces were considered a very respectable institution. People viewed them as men of honor and dignity. I am sorry that’s not the case now, unless we continue to live in a fools paradise and believe otherwise.

  16. ali (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 11:54 pm

    without the army there wouldnt be any dont even know what you are fussing about .

  17. SELF (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 12:36 am

    “you dont even know what you are fussing about.”

    Please enlighten us.

  18. Ashar (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 3:08 am

    It is beyond doubt that country has been brought to its knees by the corrupt military establishment with its interventionist policies, corruption and the perpetuation of status-quo.

    The name of Pakistan is so notorious abroad that people just laugh at us and cite our neighbor India on every occasion. India is not a heaven but with constant democracy (whether it is in ideal form or not doesn’t make the difference) it is very well respected country and an emerging giant in every respect. Just note its positive mention in any foreign news channel on a typical day.

    In Pakistan, the worst thing is the constant military rule. If military rule was a good thing, believe me all countries of the world would have embraced this idea with open arms.

    But the civilized world knows that a half baked military mind is only for obeying orders and not for ruling. Otherwise, it will be destructive future for a country as Pakistan’s case shows. The military person sitting in a civilian department is just like an illiterate farmer asked to oversee command of a military unit. Since Pakistan’s inception military has been intervening in every affair and it never gave the chance to civilian rulers to work. The result was obvious. They failed and military again put the blame on them.

    The people who are favoring military, they just need to open their minds and analyze things objectively, that lacks in this country very much. An example of ‘objectivity’ means that if India killed Muslims during partition, Muslims also killed a lot of Hindus and Sikhs immigrating to India at that time. There are so many stories. Just open your mind and follow it. The situation will become very clear.

    Every one knows how corrupt the Pakistani military has become and it is not a secret anymore. The thing that really concerns me is the result of this thing. I am really afraid of its culmination. History teaches us that in these situations a time comes when the people rise against the corrupt establishments like our military and start slaughtering them in the streets. At that time, no military propaganda, or even gunfire works. People are the power and they kill these corrupt military persons like butchers. Then everything the military is amassing, either land or money, will lie here and they will see it dying. No use ultimately.

  19. A for [pine]apple (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

    Lil bit of Clarificaion here

    Thanks ya all, I dont know should I reply here or in another post!

    BUT, from replies here and on email, I gathered that I’ve missed out few vital things … or maybe by the term armed forces – everyone thinks that I’ve included the good ones too …!

    If i’m talking bad then its not because I’m talking about every single army man or woman … my fire was intended towards the black sheep only …. !

  20. Bulla (unregistered) on February 15th, 2007 @ 2:49 pm

    ^ and unfortunately, we’re more than ‘khud-kafeel’ in “armed” black sheeps! ;)

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