Siddiqa, Ayesha ‘Military Inc.’
There is a profound misunderstanding of the role and legacy of the Pakistani military, and its deeply entrenched economic interests in the country. This institution is consistently represented as a purely military arm of the State, when in fact it is mostly involved in running corporate interests, massive real-estate investments, industries, and of course as a resolt, has a powerful hold on the political picture in the country. Siddiqa’s work is an important contribution towards a more intelligent understanding of the priorities of the military, and its hold on the nation’s political future. A review of the book in the New York Times by Stephen Kotkin, pointed out:
And it also explains much about the current ‘dedication’ to the ‘War Against Terror’ – a commitment that emerged in the midst of yet another unconstitutional military overthrow of a civilian government. Just as in 1979, when Zia’s tottering regime was ‘saved’ by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Musharraf’s hideous attempts at legitimate power via illegitimate means, was ‘saved’ by the September 11th, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. In both instances, two unpopular, resisted regimes were entrenched by American aid, and political largess, to serve the greater purpose of American empire. But perhaps what the books help us see are the tentacles of the military into the economic structures of the country, and how these determine and define economic, social welfare, political and geo-strategic policies. Most importantly, how an institution that retains its deep colonial era ambivalence if not outright disdain for the civilian, continues to undermine the country’ economic and democratic possibilities.