Challenging Military's Dominance
By Asim Yasin: The News, June 15, 2007
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) legislator Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Thursday during his speech on the budget in the National Assembly alleged that he had received a letter from an official of one of the institutions of the Army about the misuse of powers by a senior official with the rank of major general.
He did not divulge the details of the letter, saying, “I will not read the contents of the letter but will send it to the defence secretary and the chief of the staff for their perusal.” He only quoted from the letter that “a serving major general was using 11 cars for his personal use and had 53 servants. There is name and telephone numbers of the person who wrote the letter to me.” He repeatedly said that he will not read the letter as the “elections days are coming closer” and mentioned the sentence to Makhdoom Javed Hashmi four years ago for reading a letter in the cafeteria of the National Assembly during a press conference.
Earlier, in his speech he came hard on defence spending. “The Army is being criticised for its political role and not as an institution,” he added. Khawaja Asif asked why the corporate economy of the military was not being discussed as they were running one of the biggest transport companies of the country in the shape of the NLC, the biggest cement industry, fertilizer industry and even real estate business.
“When any standing committee of the Parliament summons any one of the business companies of the Army, they say that they are private business, but when they face any financial problems, they come to the civilian government to bring them out of it,” he added.
He said misappropriations in the public development had started within two years of independence of the country, when it was decided that Pakistan would be made a national security state instead of a social security state.
He said it was also presumed that the Army was always loyal to their chief and it was the first time they were asked to give a statement that the service was with General Pervez Musharraf. He said Gen Pervez Musharraf was terming the Q-League as his party but he was forced to say that they had “left him in the lurch”.
He said the government claimed that the coalition was united but on the issue of Karachi carnage, some 12 to 13 persons of the party involved in that incident were defending their party while no one from the Q-League stood to defend them in the National Assembly. Khawaja Asif said the MQM had created difficulties for itself by supporting one individual.