The Counterproductive Role of The Army in Pakistan

This story is a version of a letter i wrote to a dear friend – Colonel Tariq Khan. I adore this man at a personal level and admire his wit, and I am indebted to him for the care he took of me when I was in Pakistan.

As he is a friend, we can tell each other things that we might not otherwise, and the truth must prevail. He has told me many times how the Army served Pakistan and how they “played their innings.”

What I’m writing today is my answer for every single Pakistani and those abroad who wonder why we are still such a failed state. We wonder why Pakistan is not more civilized, why it doesn’t seem to care about its people, why we see so much corruption, poor leadership and little forward movement.

What we mainly see when we look at our country is a despicable, failed and complaining state that still lives in dreams of grandeur as a “nuclear power, Islamic state.” Not one jot of that power play actually matters. What really matters is that we have a failed state, and that makes it hard to love our country.

So some Pakistanis joined the army, played their “innings,” and now want to bask in their glory, but do little to nothing to advance the country for the people they were supposedly serving. Or was the army only serving the elites?

“Played your INNINGS!” How dignified of you to label the perks you and your friends got from the state, along with salutes and respect. Honestly, God knows for what? An “innings?”

An Innings is what I have been playing for 17 years with ZERO benefit. No DHA plots. No salutes. No gymkhana dinners. No business ventures with Malik Riyaz types etc as is the norm in “your community,” sir.

And to top it all off, Army types expect to be entitled to “respect” from every Pakistani?

As the “forces” that did not fire a single bullet in Kashmir – nay didn’t even allow ordinary people to go and fight?

The do-little army actually selected every single bastard who ruled Pakistan from Bhutto by Ayub, Nawaz/Altaf by Zia, Chaudhry’s + NRO by Musharaf and now the selected IK by Bajwa and sons.

Come on Sir! You should all be ashamed of yourselves, if such a word exists in your dictionaries (which I doubt). You have zero intent to own Pakistan’s problems, after soaking up 50% of our budget and all of our salutes.

That, Sir, appears to be the whole aim of Pakistan’s Army, soaking up the budget and the accolades for doing it. And collectively, you have achieved that aim.

But worry not, sooner or later, despite the 24/7 propaganda, the people will wake up. That is the time that you will either have to play a real innings or be ready for a lot of accountability for the 50 years that has gone down the drain so far.

So, sir, I love you as a person and ex-army guy, but truth be told, you have not done your due share for Pakistan. Instead, you looted Pakistan with both hands. You did it just like your political and bureaucrat brethren, the judges, police and industrialists / landlords / property developers. All of these have worked hand-in-hand with you.

Think about it Sir! Pakistan earns $20 billion a year, $11 billion of that goes to the army, roughly $5 billion in interest and debt servicing of loans taken by your beloved chosen Nawaz, Bhutto/Zardaris and now Imran Khan – Tariq Khan.

So think – $11 billion serves only 800,000 people of which 80% are sepoys and 10% are lower-ranking officers (Cap-Col). All of you, together with the politicians, bureaucrats, media, landlords, judges, police and foreign “friends” seal our fate with idiotic self-serving decisions that have left 95% of Pakistanis hopeless.

The 95% are not on Facebook sir, who will b*tch about me. The 95% are, right now, working as daily laborers with zero hope in life. The 95% earn $1 to $3 a day ($5 if they are lucky).

Do you and your army mates really know how much that is, to support a family? No, of course not, because you guys have a batman or two, you have security, you have respect, hefty pensions, salutes, and budgets. Why would you even care about the 95%?

Perhaps we should be grateful that you only take $11 billion of our money, because the Indian Army takes $77 billion dollars!

Have you ever really wondered why the Kashmir issue has never been and likely never will be resolved? It is because both armies of these extremely poor countries are collectively bagging $88 billion dollars spewing hate against each other and using the ordinary people and Kashmir as pawns. And the army and the politicians continue to do this, with the aid of their unethical paid-off media!

The 95% are the same people who were slaves of the British for 90 years between 1857-1947. And before that for 1,000 years they were the slaves of the corrupt and self-serving womanizing Moghuls. And even before that, Rajas treated the 95% in exactly the same way.

The truth is that post-1947, the two armies should have worked as one to undo the damage of centuries caused by the Moghuls and Brits. The Brits actually did a lot more good for the people, to be honest.

The day the army accepts its gaffes and decides to own Pakistan’s problems lock stock and barrel is the day that I will have some respect for them.

As of right now, I am sorry you have had an awesome life at our expense. At very least I think it would be most courageous and magnanimous of you all to accept that truth, then stop the constant whining. I would love it if you would all think about actually doing some real good for the country that supported you so well.

After Donald Trump is elected for a second term, it would be a wonderful time for Jared Kushner and Ambassador Richard Grenell to look at helping India and Pakistan to allow Kashmir to be free.

And maybe, just maybe, we could find a real corruption-fighter to change the course of Pakistan, to bring it into the 21st century and give the 95% the opportunity to live a valuable life.

Imran Owais Kazmi

Imran Owais Kazmi is a an expat Pakistani vocal on change locally and globally through good governance and tolerance.