The total annual revenue of the commercial projects run by Pakistan Army Generals is nearly $26.5 billion which is more than India's Ambani or Adani group

Askar Bank and Fauji Foundation, which are just two among the hundreds of these ventures generate more than $10 billion of wealth annually.

There is plenty of uproar about the difference between rich and poor, big business houses and a common man’s fight for prestige and fight for Atta in Pakistan. Especially, when our terrorist neighbor is presently undergoing severe financial crisis and is on the verge of sovereign default. Business conglomerates play a vital role in the economy of any country and when it comes to decode the biggest business conglomerate of Pakistan which employs nearly three million people on its payroll and is having an annual revenue of over $26.5 billion. It is none other than but Pakistan Army.

When in 1954, then Army Chief General Ayub Khan and Defence Secretary Major General Iskandar Mirza created Fauji Foundation, seldom they knew that the organisation they are creating will control Pakistan’s economy one day. Today, the total annual revenue of the commercial projects run by Pakistan Army Generals is nearly $26.5 billion which is more than India’s Ambani or Adani group. Askar Bank and Fauji Foundation, which are just two among the hundreds of these ventures generate more than $10 billion of wealth annually. Interestingly, this $26.5 billion translates to nearly 10% of Pakistan’s annual GDP owned by a single entity. By this ratio, Pakistan Army is the richest commercial entity in the entire world.

How does these ventures’ function? These businesses are run under the charitable banners like Asakari Foundation, Fauji Foundation (Pakistan Army), Shaheen Foundation (Pakistan Air Force), Baharia Foundation (Pakistan Navy), Army Welfare trust, Defence Housing Authorities (DHA) and so on. The very purpose of putting them under charitable organizations is to evade taxation. While the visible purpose of these organizations is the welfare of the service personal, but the entire profit gets transferred to its stakeholders who are none other than retired Army Generals. Post-retirement benefits for an Army General are huge in Pakistan.

Almost 50% of the Retired Corps Commanders and above officials of Pakistan Army/ Corresponding officials of Pakistan Navy and Air Force are directly absorbed in these charitable organizations while another 30% gets deputed as Ambassadors, foreign service or in bureaucracy. Do not worry, there are plans for a balance 20% too who gets plum positions in various government projects, public sector undertakings, advisors to governments and so on. Although these charitable (Commercial) organizations are independently run by a board of directors, but all their overall management is done by Pakistan Army’s General headquarters in Rawalpindi. You name a business and will find Pakistan Army deep into it.

They are the biggest real estate developers in Pakistan having over 50 different housing projects across the country which are not small. Each one of them is spread over several thousands of acres. DHA Islamabad is spread in over 16000 acres while DHA Karachi is over 12000 acres. These lands are allocated free of cost by the government of Pakistan which is then sold at a huge premium to common public. Pakistan Army manufactures steel, furniture, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, food products, cereals, processed meat and many other things.

Guess who is the biggest Fertilizer and cement manufacturer of Pakistan? Its Pakistan Army indeed. Askari Bank, which is among the top 5 banking institutions of the country is owned by them and they are the biggest player in the field of Wind and solar energy in Pakistan. Not only this, but they also own mines, several commercial healthcare facilities, and a large network of schools and colleges across the length and breadth of Pakistan.

Are you tired of this? Please wait. Pakistan military is the biggest giant in Petroleum and gas too with over two dozen entities involved in the import, distribution, and processing of petroleum products. When America started its so-called war against terror in Afghanistan, Pakistan Army got another lucrative opportunity. They started supplying necessary goods to the coalition forces as well as private security to all the foreign contractors working in Afghanistan, FATA & Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Although Pakistan’s space program has failed to kick off, yet Pakistan Army is the biggest contractor to Pakistan’s SUPARCO (Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission of Pakistan).

There is another field where Pakistan military is involved and that is the public sector undertakings. More than a dozen PSUs including Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), National Logistics Cell (NLC), the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) and the Special Communications Organization (SCO) are totally controlled by the Pakistan Army. If we add the revenue of these PSUs too in the $26.5 billion quoted above, then the figure will reach much higher.

Pakistan is a country where out of its 75 years of existence, there was direct military rule for over five decades and indirect military rule for the rest of the time. This is evident from the fact that none of the elected prime ministers of Pakistan could ever complete his/her tenure. Some were hanged by Pakistan Army; some were assassinated in public. Few were forced to leave the country overnight. This is the reason that whomsoever comes in power in Islamabad, is always reluctant to point a finger at these military commercial activities. Figures suggest that these organizations have been constantly growing at a rate of over 20-30% annually while the rest of the businesses of Pakistan are suffering losses. This is the highest growth of any business venture ever in Pakistan.

Unfortunately, Pakistan is the only country which does not run-on logic but on the harsh Anti-India sentiments which are pushed into the minds of its citizen. Whenever the public talks of food, electricity, water and other amenities, Pakistan Army, and its rulers gives them a rattle of Kashmir. Apparently, all the countries of the world own an Army, but Pakistan is the only country where the Army owns the entire country.