Digital Desk, New Delhi. Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Friday came down heavily on the country’s military establishment for being involved in running commercial enterprises on defense land that was allotted to them only for defense purposes.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed questioned Defense Secretary Lt Gen (retd) Mian Mohammad Hilal Hussain during the hearing of a case on commercial use of defense land. According to the report of Pakistani daily Dawn, CJP asked Hussain, this land was given to you for strategic and defense purposes and still you have started commercial activities on it. Were the wedding halls, cinemas and housing societies built for defense purposes?
According to the report, the Pakistani Army has opened commercial establishments at many of its bases. CJP was not satisfied with the reply and ordered the Defense Secretary of Pakistan to go and tell all the chiefs of the armed forces that the land would not be used for commercial purposes for defense purposes. Go to all military cantonments and tell them the land will be used only for strategic purposes.
It is being seen as a challenge to the Pakistani military establishment, which is rare in a country that has been ruled by the Pakistani military for more than half of its seven decades. A few months ago when the DHS of Lahore tried to take over 50 acres of land owned by the Lahore High Court, the Chief Justice of the High Court expressed regret that he did not want to say anything wrong about the army but said that The army seems to have become the biggest among the land grabbers.
The army uniform is for service and not for ruling as a king. Is it only the army that sacrifices? Do other institutions like police, lawyers and judges not make sacrifices? This is not the first time that the Pakistani army has been accused of land grabbing. In 2010, an army battalion captured 3,500 acres of land in Karachi. Including a centuries-old cemetery.
Today the Pakistani Army Foundation owns more than 100 independent businesses, which are operated by subsidiaries of five Army Foundations. In Pakistan, where politicians are jailed for corruption, no one dares to question the military establishment.
It was in 1998 that Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the head of the Islamic party Jamaat Islami (JI), challenged the Pakistani Army and said that the General was not a Corps Commander but a Crore Commander. Today Pakistan is in debt and Imran Khan is begging for money from Saudi Arabia and China to create his new Pakistan but Pakistani military establishment is having fun.
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