I confess, I am a traitor

Published: July 17, 2010

Can someone be patriotic while also critical of the nation's armed forces?

My name is Syed Nadir El-Edroos and I am a traitor. For my actions, deeds and words I should receive an exemplary punishment so that no one ever dares repeat the treachery that I am responsible for.

I have received some emails in reference to my general comments on The Express Tribune and in particular to my article “Whose country is this anyways.” The authors of those emails have deemed me a traitor and an all round general sell-out or worse a Mossad-CIA plant, who has been inserted to “defame and malign Pakistan’s most disciplined institution.”

In short, the thrust of the accusations go something like this.

“How dare you question the benefits of Army officers? You no appreciation of the sacrifices they make, the love for Pakistan that they have in their hearts!”

One gentleman added that he would “starve his children so that the Pakistani Army can play its role to defend the nation.” How can anyone compete with such a strong sense of patriotism? Regardless of what I say and do, I will always come off as a traitor!

However, is this even patriotism? Is the relationship between the individual and the state limited to an outpouring of blind support for one institution? Or can someone be patriotic while also critical of the nations armed forces?

We like to present the “Army” as one monolithic institution. However, like any institution it is far from uniform. Present day actors have a monopoly over claiming the “Army” as their own, as it will continue to function long after they have passed on. The only individuals that can actually claim the Army as their own are the public at large, for it’s to protect their interests that the institution is funded and granted a monopoly in the use of arms.  Indeed the institution that they represent and the privileged position that society has granted high ranking military officers, should not be equated to the individual. The position of authority and the responsibility invested in the offices of the COAS or DG ISI should ideally be greater than the individual himself.

By extension, the institution is much larger than the individuals that inhabit it. Therefore, any criticism of the Army, is not necessarily a criticism of the institution, rather it’s a criticism of the policies implemented by the actors which happen to be in power at any given time. It seems to me that those in power are merely leveraging nationalism to justify their actions, equating property development and military land grabs with the security of Pakistan.

Likewise there is a big difference between criticising perks and privileges and equating such criticism with treachery.  Neither does such criticism take any thing away from supporting our troops who are fighting and dying for their country.

However, in an environment where fake degrees are being uncovered, the government of the day is busy politicking rather than governing, MNA’s and MPA’s are suffering from verbal diarrhea; the role of the military high command goes largely unquestioned.

Why are we hesitant to question or hold those who wield power and influence in the name of the country that we inhabit accountable? Is it because in our chaotic and somewhat dysfunctional state the military represents the only institution to be proud of? Is it because many people have relatives in the military and are hesitant to criticize them? Or is it because we are scared of the consequences of openly voicing criticism?

However, the most important question is why call for greater transparency and accountability of the military to begin with? After all, the plots, the benefits, the 10% quota in the civil service, the appointment as ambassadors and state position, the large military-industrial complex that helps retired officers to find plush jobs etc, is a small price to pay to individuals who lay their life on the line. But where do we draw the line? Where do we say enough is enough?

I was in Fairy Meadows, Nanga Parbat in 2005. On my final day, a military helicopter arrived with mess staff carrying main dishes, cutlery and tables. They promptly laid it out in the grounds of a privately owned hotel without the permission of the owner. Then a second helicopter landed, and this time a group of officers with their hunting rifles strode off to take there places amongst the pre-set feast. Ignoring the sign in the corner that stated hunting was not allowed in this region, the generals prepared themselves for the hunt. The local community was fuming with anger and resentment; however they had little choice but to facilitate their “guests”. Are the expenses incurred on public expense for a helicopter ride up to Fairy Meadows justified? Or what of the moral implication of hunting in an area declared a hunting free zone? Can we draw the line here or are such extravaganzas justified?

Then they are other examples, such as demolishing barracks in Lahore to construct a General’s colony, or the case of Chashma Goth (and here) where the military baton-charged the local community, or the case of Jangua Town or the case of DHA-Islamabad which has established a joint venture with Bharia Town, where both organizations have been accused of land grabbing. Or what of the conversion of land allocated for testing and camping into a housing scheme in Rawalpindi.  Or what off all the villagers who were the original inhabitants of DHA-Islamabad who have yet to receive compensation?

I have always been skeptical of those individual who demand respect rather than earn it. Whether generals, politicians or religious leaders. However, while questioning politicians is (rightly) considered socially acceptable, there seems to be some pact between the military and society that I seemed to have forgotten to sign up to, whereby regardless of the action, we patiently and obediently consider every decision that flows through the upper echelons of the military as correct, and our patriotic duty to support it.

How does not publishing the details of the military’s allocation of the budget serve Pakistan’s national security? One can be vague regarding sensitive programs, but the entire budget? Why does keeping the salary, perks and pension of the military high command a secret, make our country any safer? Why does the military get exemption from land taxes in cantonment areas? Is it not enough that the people of Pakistan, who pay their taxes and are indebted to the international community to the hilt, pay for their wages and perks, should also subsidize their local communities?

So why call for greater transparency and accountability? If the military in Pakistan considers itself as the nations most disciplined institution, then surely it must also accept that it must be held to a higher standards. By holding those in uniform accountable to a higher standard than other organs of the state, only then can it truly claim to be the nations “most disciplined institution”.  For those who serve their country, society owes them a debt of gratitude. However, we have to draw a line where those who extract benefit from the public’s purse appreciate the reality that surrounds them. I may be a traitor based on certain interpretations of patriotism, however, if the military wants respect,  then it should be seen to earn rather than demand it.

nadir.eledroos

Syed Nadir El Edroos

Nadir teaches Economics at Bellerbys College, London ans is interested in Pakistani politics and current affairs. He tweets @needroos (twitter.com/needroos)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Shahid

    You forgot that all land, the DHAs, the Askaris,Ancorages and the whole lot is obtained under eminent domain by the state and then handed out to them. How is handing out land to public servants in the “public interest”. Eminent domain is reserved for getting land for projects like rail roads, parking plazas and helping the public at large not helping a small segment of the society.

    Since the people whose lands are obtained under eminent domain are poor and weak, they have never been able to get a lawyer. The choose to side away for some vague compensation and those who resist are beaten up by thugs (in the case of DHA Rawat-so-called-Islamabad) and soldiers (in the case of grabbing a whole graveyard in Karachi).

    Moreover, the resistance of the peasants in Okara showed us what arrogance, a gun and an institutional narcissism does to people. Poor farmers were beaten, tortured, murdered extra judicially and in one case a farmer was made to sign his divorce papers forcibly in the process of forcing him to stop resisting the military machine’s brutal policies.

    Anybody that has resisted the military’s oligarchy, it’s autocracy and it’s totalitarianism is deemed a traitor, anti-Pakistan and what not and by extension mostly anti-Islam and CIA/RAW/MOSSAD agent (select you favourite one or combo).

    The military’s apologists succeed since the urban upper middle and elite classes are the most vocal and assertive classes in our society. They churn out the national ideology and public opinion. Since the new aristocracy is the military and military brats, they find apologists and sympathizers amongst the members of their core classes and create a national opinion and narrative that suits them.

    Criticizing the generals is in no way belittling the sacrifices of our soldiers, those who died protecting us. But when the generals get agricultural lands forcibly taken away from the peasants in South Punjab, the dying soldier has no colonies to serve him.

    The British selected the Rawalpindi Divison as their hiring ground for the docility of the locals. The martial race theory was aimed at sidelining the brave soldiers of other lands who revolted against the British. Therefore, they created a docile military that would be willing to fight against locals when asked so. The land perks awarded to soldiers and the Indian officers in the civil service of that day were given to them for “services to the crown” which translates to treachery against locals. On August 14, 1947 those who were saluting the Union Jack shifted to the Green and White. But flags don’t change ideologies and the military remains an elitist institution whose commanders have destroyed this country.

    The military did not face the frontline in 1948. Had it not been for the PAF and the frontline commanders, we would not have been able to save face in 1965. In 1971, after a 13 year military rule and the murder of nearly 200,000 Bengalis in a country that had greater than 40% inequality amongst its arms, the nation was split into two. The next one destroyed our penal codes and our socio-religious life and gave us the Taliban that haunt us today. Neo-liberalism in the last saviour’s time has exacerbated the plight of our working class.

    Every country loves their military but no country is a hostage of the ambitions, the adventures and the hegemonic designs its own soldiers have for their countrymen and the wider region.

    I want the poor children to get health services and education. 1 out of 14 children in Pakistan dies before his first birth and we have the audacity to flaunt a nuclear bomb and test missiles every so often. We are country for the elites and by the elites and the military is an elitist institution entrenched in feudalism (absentee feudalism in South Punjab) and corruption and perks at the expenses of the people who have no drinking water, health services, schools or social welfare.

    Brigadier Mohammad Bashir was allotted 400 kanals of land in District Bahawalpur and of those 400, 96 belonged to a peasant who had rightful legal claims over the land. Land was “allotted” without checking other claims. The peasant was beaten by the thugs of the brigadier to leave the land and to avoid the legal process.

    In a landmark decision in 2003, the honourable brigadier was told by the court that he should be “satisfied with what he had got” and Justice Javaid Iqbal quoted The Grapes of Wrath in his decision
    “And the great owners, who lose must their lands in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed. The great owners ignored three cries of history. The land fell in few hands, the number of dispossessed increased, and every effort of great owners was directed at repression. The money was spent for arms, for gas to protect the great holdings, and spies were sent to catch the murmuring revolt so that it might be stamped out. The changing economy was ignored, plans for the change ignored; only means to destroy revolt were considered while the causes of revolt went on.”

    “Never forget that you are the servants of the state. You do not make policy. It is we, the people’s representative, who decide how the country is to be run. Your job is to only obey the decisions of your civilian masters.” – Quaid e Azam M.A. JinnahRecommend

  • http://www.ibrahimsajidmalick.com Ibrahim Sajid Malick

    Hello my fello traitor! You may feel encouraged after reading comments here:

    http://ibrahimsajidmalick.com/forsaken-crimes-of-pakistan-army/550/

    You are not alone :-)Recommend

  • John

    liberals
    the reason you dare to even think like this is because the armed forces are at the borders protecting your left wing liberal backsides.Recommend

  • fahad

    @john

    Well, let’s admit it, they haven’t really been protecting us on the borders. 50% of Pakistan is already gone even after this wasteful spending on our army.Recommend

  • Asad Munir

    Nadir ,you are a brilliant young man with a thinking mind.I have always admired and enjoyed your comments.You are a better Pakistani than most of us.Keep Writing.God bless you. Recommend

  • R. Qureishi

    @ Shahid
    Why write such a big comment (especially when it has been SHAMELESSLY copied from Ayesha Siddiqa’s Delhi published book ‘Military Inc’)? Recommend

  • R. Qureishi

    I hope that the purpose behind these articles is not to claim asylum in the UK!!!Recommend

  • shobz

    just because someone writes the truth doesnt mean that he wants to get asylum. Someone with great credentials doesnt need to resort to cheap publicity to do that. The Army protects us but then they dont have the right to get away with with plundering our resources like that. Recommend

  • haroon rashid

    errr… Quresishi
    ‘His comments on various posts showed that he would rather be drinking in a London pub than a mosque in Pakistan’

    yes, i too would rather be drinking in a london pub rather than a pakistani mosque. it’s just that the crowd is better!!

    instead of making personal remarks, maybe you could point out anything incorrect that Nadir has said???Recommend

  • Milbus

    R Quraishi seems to be a usual suspect,(read a military stooge) Recommend

  • Ali Zeeshan Ijaz

    @R. Qureishi

    could you enlighten me as to how asking for accountability equates to Mr. Nadir selling his soul to the west, to get an asylum in UK and the rest, coz i’m a bit confused on how these things are even remotely related.

    Similar to what Mr. Haroon commented, if you believe he is wrong then please prove that with sound arguments. Doing personal attacks only weakens your stance. Recommend

  • Malik Rashid

    Pakistan army has the unique privilege to hire militants and band them as fighting units on their behalf. The un-enviable job of fighting and sacrifice is outsourced to the ‘strategic assets’. Not many army generals in the world enjoy such luxury of lavish living and omnipotent rule. After the great fight they had to endure because of international pressure in FATA and Northern areas, the Taliban have returned with their signature bombings and fines for shortness of beard. Grabbing prime real estate for General’s colony, forcefully occupying agricultural property and hiring commoners to fight on their behalf, Pakistan army has reached new heights in the history of power and luxury.Recommend

  • http://tribune.com.pk Jahanzaib Haque

    R Qureshi’s comment was deemed a personal attack. It has been deleted. Best regards,

    (Web Editor)

    Recommend

  • Aitezaz

    Sadly, i agree to every bit of what you put down in your article. The huge sums of taxes that we pay dont for some reason make themselves visible when you get out of those heavily gaurded, air-conditioned offices.

    i dont understand why does someone has to poison his three daughters, and then commit suicide in a country where he supposedly is a 1st class citizen. Our Leaders are feasting and of all, doing nothing else but quarrelling over their own qualifications of being even present in the house of parliament,where they were supposed to Legislate for a poor economy.

    i too cant sleep when i get to know that in the country where i live, 298 ppl committed suicide kuz of poverty. Just for an eye-opener, 60% of pakistan’s population earns approx rs. 150 a day, supporting a household of 8 or more. Can some1 who might be hunting in fairy meadows explain how would that household even manage to have a meal?

    our politicans and rulers spend millions of tax money on commute n protocol, where proud pakistanis, who are ready to offer their lives and each penny of their hard earned money on the country… And the army for that matter… We deserve a better life than this.
    long live pakistan!Recommend

  • Aitezaz

    @ mr. Qureshi: i think we need to grow out of the syndrome of personal attacks. This, sadly, is becoming a trait… Pointing fingers, i suppose, is easier than realising what we fail to do… Lets look at the bigger picture, acknowledging where v went wrong would be difficult though nobler.Recommend

  • http://theterrorland.blogspot.com Rehman

    Hay, hay, look, guys! Freedom of thought and expression is what that will make Pakistan stronger in this cyber age. If we can’t speak about the errors in our system then others will do damaging things as there is no more any secret in the cyber age. The news reaches the world in some way no matter how stronger the “news cartel” is in this country!

    Let’s be realistic and point out the flaws in every institution including the military, secret agencies and journalism. The traditional tyrant ways should now be history. Do you understand at the helm of affairs?

    Look, what the traditional mindset has done to our intellectual bankruptcy. A live example is the story of Habib R. Sulemani and his family! After leaking his novel, The Terrorland, to secret agencies, he has reportedly been declared a ‘traitor’ for writing fiction! This is the traditional tyrant mentality of our traditional establishment.

    It’s time for the clergymen to stop calling fellow citizens ‘infidels’ and the ‘wise’ establishment should take creative people easy—don’t declare them ‘unpatriotic’. Let Pakistan intellectually grow now! This is the first and foremost defense-line!

    Men! Wake up! It is 21st century! Recommend

  • rehan

    Traitor or no traitor,but Nasir’s comments/views in this newspaper were always pessimistic,and he seemed(past tense because his comments seem to have stopped coming through)to see no light at the end of the tunnel for this country.Though he admits to targeting only the military hierarchy,it wouldn’t have cost him a penny if he had ever expressed appreciation for the poor soldiers giving away their lives for their motherland(and the celebration of Shuhadas Day on 30 April,was one such occasion.But even then he preferred bashing the army). Recommend

  • Tayyab

    @ Mr. fahad

    your comment is as ridiculous as it gets…!!!

    @ this Article
    And Army isn’t responsible for what the country is facing right now. Why allow them to take over at the first place. ???
    And the benefits they get, aren’t suppressing anyone’s basic rights. Your Army chief is the most important person in Pakistan. Why not talk about the millions being spent on the RENTAL power houses. The dirty politics on KALA BAGH. Depriving the whole nation from getting cheap electricity. Army is good enough and transparent enough.
    Peace !!Recommend

  • Rabia Brown

    I have also been very skeptical of those individual who demand respect rather than earn it. Whether generals, politicians or religious leaders. Same thing happens in Turkey…the people trust the military / army more than they trust any government…but perhaps after the THIRD COUP in 1980-something…they dont trust anyone but themselves anymore..

    And nobody seems to love their nation anymore…they all want to BLEED for the nation…and thats it. Just bleed…Recommend

  • http://www.bizomer.com Saqib Omer Saeed

    If speaking truth makes us a traitor for a time being so it is not a big deal. Yes if anyone think that Mr. Nadir thinks wrong so he/she has a right to post but no personal attacking. I think what Mr. Nadir have posted has to be responded logically and with counter facts. I am really optimistic that being a nation we are learning it. As fast we shall learn the faster we can grow. Best regards to Mr. Nadir for all his writings.Recommend

  • Zohaib

    what is Pak army to you guys?just few generals and commanders? Have you ever thought about the Jawan who fights on ground who doesn’t sleep in air conditioned barracks. who serves his country and these generals and at the end he receives few thousand as his retirement fund. he doesn’t have his share in DHA and you know guys! he is the power of Pakistan he is the one who fights in front rows. what he gets in the end, spending his old age being a security guard of some elite. For God sake wake up and open your eyes try to respect human being then his ranks. plzzzzz its an humble request dont fight with each other just to prove yourself more intelligent than other. you all are very intelligent and patriotic. i respect all of you. please save this Pak land… Recommend

  • Naeem Akhtar

    The reality is sad and its harsh. But we should never forget that the nations become leaders with optimism not pessimism. I agree to the contents of this article and I think probably the writer has hidden so many hard hitting facts which anyone with eyes can see in any cantonment attached City. However I would like to suggest Mr. Nadir, that he should take all this criticism and the tag of being Traitor happily and proudly after all we have some very famous traitors starting from Sir Syed Ahmed Khan till Jinnah & Iqbal. So brother just bring some optimism to your views and you are on the right track :)

    Coming back to the content of the article I think in flow of hitting the Commissioned Officers the writer forgot the plight of Junior Commissioned Officers which is terrible and needs all the appreciation. Moreover sometimes people consider that Army is not needed which is entirely wrong since we must keep a show piece army always which keeps a impression and fear on other countries otherwise all the economic development and progress can go in vain. So Yes Accountability is needed and appreciation to normal soldiers is more than neededRecommend

  • Nauman

    What an article Nadir! Its about time more and more people join the likes of yourself and Kamran Shafi in revealing the shamelessness with which our dear “army” is playing God in Pakistan. The Generals have brought us nothing but shame, tortune and intimidation. Enough of VIP culture in th ecivilian and military sectors. THEY are public SERVANTS, the publis shouldn’t be THEIR servants…

    Keep up the good work! Recommend

  • Deathcase

    ok my point of view is that what an the army is for? to win wars right when they happen. we lost 1971, we lost east pakistan, we lost kargil. So why pay these crooks who are just there to interfere in the political system but not do what they are being to paid to do. this whole thing of pakistan being a security state has given them much of a free-hand with their guns of course. this needs to end and i am glad that their are other fellow traitors joining the clubRecommend

  • Umair

    @ Zohaib: Its the typical attitude we’ve become accustomed to.. that the generals are the bad guys, they’ve plots in DHAs, perks and all, but the jawans, oh they’re brave, they fight in the frontline, they end up being security guards..
    1. Army as an institution is taking up more than 80% of the budget of this so-called Pak land. this includes them all… the jawans might not have plots in DHAs but they pass a very very secure (read: economically secured) life. They dont have to worry about providing for their family’s next meal (unlike the billion of peasants and wage labourers who ACTUALLY make up this country)..

    2.The Army’s the biggest champion of anti-Indianism and Pakistan’s ISLAMIC IDENTITY and it has found support for this fractured ideology in our urbanised middle classes who cannot help but think of India as our ARCH ENEMY, when actually its just a tussle between INDIAN state and Pakistani state…. the hostility so far has only benefitted both states, societies on both sides of the border have suffered due to these hostilities…khair, that is another debate and instead of going on a tangent… Army in Pakistan embodies a superiority complex (from jawans right upto the generals) and they CANNOT CANNOT CANNOT tolerate dissent,moderate opinion, talk to a jawan and try convincing him that India is not our enemy and you’ll realise its like banging ur head to a wall (They are fed on Anti-India, Anti-Israel etc etc), so this kind of an organisation should be kept under people’s control and here it has been the other way round…

    IT WOULD BE PAK LAND ONLY ONLY ONLY WHEN THE OLD MAN SITTING DRAGGING A PUSHCART LOADED WITH TONS OF GOODS WILL GET TO LIVE A COMFORTABLE LIVING, HE, AND THE ARMY’S JAWANS ONLY, WILL HAVE A MESS TO GO AND HAVE FREE LUNCH AT… HE, AND NOT THE JAWANS ONLY, WILL NOT HAVE TO WORRY IF HIS CHILDREN WILL GET THE NEXT MEAL….
    Pakistan is 170 million people, with different religious,m ethnic, linguistic ideologies and its only chance is to accomodat all of them and their ways of thinking in a secular, democratic and liberal framework…Recommend

  • Jahanzeb

    The thing about the argument that followed this article is that some people here do not realize that the author is not trying to bring down the army as an institution, but to point out the flaws that are going unnoticed. I don’t think there is anybody here who does not appreciate the soldiers of this country (except for when they point the gun at you, just to make room for a security convoy). The army still remains (despite all the major errs Nadir mentioned above) an institute the whole country is proud of. But we need to realize, that if we keep on ignoring everything mentioned above, there would be nothing in the army left, for us to be proud of. There are plenty of things (almost everything) in this country that need fixing. We are going through a dangerous metamorphosis, nearing the edge of revolution, day by day. In a time like this, once we hit rock bottom, we can only lift ourselves back up. It would, however, be better for us if we do it in a more thorough manner, solving problems that come back to bite us later on, one of which is the political interference and lack of regard for the country’s constitution, of the Army’s Top Brass.

    The point to be taken from this article, is not the lack of optimism, but the need to understand and remove these drawbacks within us, and I say within, because even these Military Leaders have emerged from amongst us. The crisis we are facing today, is not a failing of this soil, nor attributable to this country’s enemies. It is in fact our failure to put this country before ourselves, and focusing on what we could do to benefit it instead of focusing on improving our own Standards of living. Not pointing anyone out, but this is the general trend within this country. Countries are built for Nations and Nations are born out of sacrifices. The biggest mistake we, as people make is to immerse ourselves in our feeling of achievement and not finish the job. It has been the case since day one. After migrating all the way over to this land, and giving the so many sacrifices, our people though they had done enough to secure for themselves better lives, but laid back and failed to build on it. Today, we are a group of fairly intelligent people, who can view all these problems, but fail to reach a consensus as to how to deal with them. All these arguments are great for making us realized what to do, but we need to make use of them and understand the problems of each other. We need to understand WHY the people who are for/against the army/politicians, have set their stance as such (no need to understand them having done so for personal gains) and respect it !

    If you read the title of this article a bit carefully, you would understand that it summarizes Nadir’s frustration on the matter. The fact is that he has been termed as something he is not, just for voicing an opinion. And so may have all of you, at a certain point or phase. The thing to learn from this is that when someone voices an opinion that you do not necessarily agree to, you must first FULLY understand it before giving your own opinion on the matter. Terming someone a traitor is a serious accusation, one not easy to be taken likely. When a person voices an opinion for the good of the people around him, with no ill intention and gets a hostile response in addition to being interpreted as something he himself hates, he is most likely to come out saying “I’m a traitor”. If a part of us thinks that the Army Top Brass did nothing wrong, than they need not worry about something a guy writes against them, as it is primarily, his opinion and he is entitled to it. No matter what the facts of the matter turn out to be, you can not judge a person for his opinions, as it came from experiences he had on his own and in his own life, something you would not be able to see for yourself.

    Typing this post for this long, I have immense respect for all of you pouring your minds into the matter. And of course, the author of this article, who did a tremendous job.Recommend

  • Hassan

    Well all i want to say is that our institutions be it Army or anyother are still plagued with the British Raaj mindset.. People on the TOP like generals, ministers etc spoil everything. We need to change this. Else no doubt the majority in theses institutions are patriots and good human beings.Recommend

  • http://publicmb.wordpress.com MB

    I am reading this blog and its terrifying
    http://theterrorland.blogspot.com
    By the way dont worry NADIR. Our nation is happy with plunderers and murderers but cant digest anything against ARMY. So let it sleep as the time bomb is ticking for self destruction.Recommend

  • Salman

    I think the tax payers are not simply paying the price of the current defence expenses & the special status the military enjoy.
    They are paying the price of military’s readiness & willingness to be the first one to fight, and give their lives, if that is what it would take.
    However, It is a gamble.
    A military officer or solider may get by without having to fight or sacrifice his life even once in his entire career, but it is a fact that many have given their lives in past.
    I think we should appreciate the military for the pledge that have given to defend their country in case of a attack and give their lives to protect the people of Pakistan,

    People should understand the reason to be tolerant and not complain about their special their previliges, like defence plots, life time health care, life time pension, life time status, life time other previliges.
    But at the same time, public has the right to know exactly the military general was able to possess several hundred thousand dollars, millions of dollars or more by the time he retired.
    Because, their income may have included kick backs from corporations like Boeing & other who compete to sell hardware to the military or PIA.
    If it is found a military general or others were inolved in corruption, then they should be held accountable & charged in the courts, not simply militrary courts, because money does not grow on trees, somebody has to pay, and it would the tax payer who would have to pay through inflation.
    Also, there previliges should be limited and all sources of income made transparent, without sacrificing national defence.
    By the same token, a politician should be barred for running for the public office if he or she is not able to disclose his or his immediately ‘s income, accounts, source of income, and it should be required to have no property, account or stake outside the country, to avoid conflict of interest, & consistency of principle.Recommend

  • Salman

    When a senior military officer retires, his worth runs in millions of dollars, and we know that. This is something that should not be allowed, and the civil governemnt should have the right to know all sources of their income. And, if they find it is not from kick backs, and they have become rich because their previliges during their service had been exceedingly higher than they should be, then they can put a upper bar on previliges they can earn as a military officer. A senior military officer ends up making way more than any other profession in Pakistan.
    But, it does not mean they are not entitled to special prevliges as military officers. It is just a matter of curtailing it, knowing where it ends.Recommend

  • Amadeus

    THe defense budget is greater than the budget for development expenditure. So yea, this institution is really killing us all.Recommend

  • Zubair

    Pack-up & Leave!Recommend

  • Shahaid

    Long Live Pakistan ArmyRecommend

  • Anoop

    Traitor! lol..Recommend

  • Timurov

    @Nadir:

    Hey Nadir, I am assuming you are the grandson of the famous Brigadier El-Idroos of 1971 fame?

    Isn’t your father (also a retired Brigadier) working for DHA? Have you ever had this conversation about Pakistan as the quintessential patronage based economy. Isn’t he also living on these perks of jobs given to former army officers and the patronage that ensues (which I believe is an aspect deeply embedded in all Pakistanis, no matter which department).Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/2534/whose-country-is-this-anyway-not-the-tax-payers/ Syed Nadir El-Edroos

    @Timurov: Nope he’s my uncle. My father is just a bloody civilian I am afraid. Though my family is primarily a military family, and I grew up with everyone whose parents were in the Army – its just first hand experience. People who are brought up in such environments should question from where and at whose expense they are living the high life.

    Its very easy to blame all the feudal lords and their land holdings and not paying taxes. Army officers are now entitled to agricultural land. How much taxes do they pay on that? Its totally disgusting that both serving and retired officers live in cantonments and are not required to pay any taxes, while at the same time they have priviliged access to resources.

    The fact that this all continues in the name of national defence and patriotism is an utter shame. Recommend

  • Mubasher

    AOA Syed Nadir

    I have read your article with my best efforts to not to biased about what you have written. And, if you wish to believe, I am successful in that.

    I have few questions to ask from you if you would like to answer.

    Do you think, strategically it would be a viable decision to NOT HAVE an army at all in Pakistan?
    If we do need an army, then to what extent we can compare that army to other armies in the world. Here I do not want to compare it with the Indian army delbrately or just for the sake of it but rather on a strategic and rationale basis.
    I agree with most of your points mentioned in your article. But, to be fair with you, instead of merely telling about the problems in the army or, in your own words, criticising the army is not a solution to the problems you mentioned. What strategic options can you hint on so that a simple Pakistani can think that his or her money is going to the right place.

    Its not personal but please be rational. You answered to Timurov that you are primarily from a military family except your father, who in your own words, My father is just a bloody civilian I am afraid. Here the word bloody is not giving a good gesture. Do you have any bad experiences?
    Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/2534/whose-country-is-this-anyway-not-the-tax-payers/ Syed Nadir El-Edroos

    @Mubashar: There is absolutely nothing that I have written in the article that questions the need for having an army. I am all for having a very strong army, well trained and well equipped. But please, the actions of officers at the top cannot hold the entire organization hostage. Questioning their perks and privledges has nothing to do with being “anti-Army”. Being patriotic doesn’t have to mean giving a blank cheque to certain individuals to do as they please. Recommend

  • Asfand

    Spot on dude…

    Its high time that our corrupt army is exposed. Alot of ppl will disagree with u bcoz of their myopic vision and understanding of the pakistani political environment.

    For those who want to learn more about the true picture of ‘the great and pious’ pakistan army i recommend the reading of MILITARY INC by Ayesha Siddiqa

    Keep it up Nadir. Recommend

  • Uzair Javaid

    So damn critical, do you even have solid facts and ground knowledge of how institutions like Askari, DHA, Fauji earn from? how and why were they instituted?

    Had your BELOVED political or democratic system been so efficient and steadfast, the military would never had stepped into the mainstream administration. M.A Jinnah (R.A) in many of his addresses to the military personnels said, the masters of the military are their political leaders. Had he been alive to see the system progressing, he would have asked the military himself to look after the leader as well as the borders.

    Please consider the exuberant perks enjoyed by the President, PrimeMinister, Chief ministers, governors, Senators, MNAs, MPAs etc!! was President allowed by the consitution to take along hundreds of uninvited guests along to US on a State visit??? was Qamar Zaman Kaira asked by this nation to enjoy Limo rides, private dances. Prime minister’s sister spreads around personal printed letterheads with actions that she would want be taken for any specific beneficiary. Why do you tend to ignore in your so FLUENT critique, the perks that people enjoy even just being associated to anyone in power??

    I would rather enjoy General Kayani or Pasha enjoying the perks that they deserve enjoying. What are the perks anyway?? A man gave his youth and live to the country, the man Kayani could be dead taking a bullet in head in a trench 10years back. He served the country well without having any SSG commandos guarding his moves. They had been through the normal stages of a regular army officer, living in identical military style banglows. Now that they are heading their respective institutions, they deserve to get privileges after giving atleast 30years of service. I am well aware of the fact that those 30 years are not spent without being into at least a single time when they could die.

    A country like Pakistan which is so effin important in the region, would it be wise in any manner that General kayani be driving his own car to office?? or would you like that he be handed bills for the army house to pay? Its the emblem of power and stature that is why they are to be upheld.

    I wouldn’t be surprised reading another comment from you claiming that we stole the technology to make nukes and we should disarm now.

    Someone above said correctly, you might be making grounds for an asylum in the UK, you could make a good career there bro!Recommend

  • Uzair Javaid

    Blockquote

    Blockquote> Its very easy to blame all the feudal lords and their land holdings and not paying taxes. Army officers are now entitled to agricultural land. How much taxes do they pay on that? Its totally disgusting that both serving and retired officers live in cantonments and are not required to pay any taxes, while at the same time they have priviliged access to resources.
    The fact that this all continues in the name of national defence and patriotism is an utter shame.
    Blockquote

    Blockquote

    Army officers are not NOW entitled to agricultural lands, and for the addition to your critique its not that every officer would retire ending up being owner of a non-taxable land. Agricultural lands are AWARDED to a very few people on a work that is praised and worth awarding a land. It was started by the British and the land is usually ex farm-forests to produce or work on different studies. I have a person in family who was awarded a land which was a government farm to study on trees. The project was finished and so the land was awarded. The person had to personally on his OWN expenses get the tree remains excavated from the soil for it be used for any farming. The land had to be claimed submitting a draft of more than Rs:135K and the taxes he pay every year so far leaves him with no profits to buy expensive cars.

    please try to be a bit on the middling line. I wonder what atrocities have you been facing that makes you write so bitter about the only institution that saves us from being harmed by scavengers.

    For more addition to your inadequate information on taxes. Please visit any MES office in any cantonment across Pakistan and ask about the taxes. The land on which military makes its buildings are not liable to taxes and are leased to the military by provincial governments. MES controls everything. Electricity bills are paid, military or government building is exempted from withholding taxes, income taxes etc.

    I live in Rawalpindi Cantt. I am a regular tax payer to the Cantonment board of holding my property in its territory. you write they have priviliged access to resources. What privileges are you talking about?? are their groceries sponsored by the Pakistan Army? or their dogs are fed with state ration? they pay electricity bills, they pay gas bills, telephone is free to use and that too because army operates its own telephony network to maintain a minimum level of privacy from civilian access.

    Its either that you have seen more than usual in your family that you are finding hard to accept to be earned normally, or have been so left out by the army that makes you write all against it.Recommend

  • Very Cool

    You are not traitor Nadir. In fact I salute you for your article. Its them who become blood suckers of our beloved country.

    Now they have become mercenaries of USA and killing their own people.Recommend