Mr. President Get Your Facts Straight!
Ayesha Siddiqa: October 8, 2007
In an interview on Business Plus General Parvez Musharraf stated that:
He perceives my book, “Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy” as a mala fide assault on the forces and Pakistan not based on facts.
He also stated that he has never met me and the book is sponsored by India and was written during my brief stay in India.
The General also speculates that the book is a reaction to a supposed harsh treatment meted out to me when I was a public servant.
Such comments made by the president make it necessary that I bring my perspective on record. I personally take a sympathetic view of the way the General feels about my book. I fully appreciate the fact that at the position that the General is occupying, he would not have had the time to go through my book and is therefore relying on the briefing given to him by some of his advisors who have not read the book.
I would like to put the record straight by reminding the General that I have actually met him when he was Director General Military Operations, as a part of my academic research and have interviewed him for my first book on military decision-making.
I would also like to assert that I had nothing but the interest of the Armed Forces of Pakistan at heart while writing the book. I have presented objective facts and figures to conclude that the involvement of military in private business is actually undermining the capacity, efficiency, professionalism and image of this prestigious institution.
I would also like to emphasize that my book is based on facts and figures of the government, military, the foundations and the higher courts so if there is any error it is not mine.
I would like to categorically state that the Indian or any other government has nothing to do with the research or publication of my book. The research was funded by the Fellowship Fund for Pakistan using resources of the country’s corporate sector.
I would also like to clarify that my research interests are rooted in academic rigour and not in any perceived maltreatment on the part of any government department where I have served in the past.
I vigorously disagree with any person who would like to impose his or her own definition of patriotism or “supreme national interest” upon the people of Pakistan and assert my right to define the interest of the prestigious armed forces of Pakistan in my capacity as a widely published academic on the topic.
I also challenge the President on questioning my loyalty towards my country and its institutions.
I firmly believe that Pakistan needs to protect the organizational integrity of its armed forces which can only be ensured through confining it strictly to the role assigned in the constitution.