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Riches to riches: Pak economic crisis will not hit its Army generals

WorldRiches to riches: Pak economic crisis will not hit its Army generals

‘These Army officers are bankrolled by domestic industry players who need the Army’s support to get government contracts’.

New Delhi: When the former Pakistan army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa was still a two star general (of the rank of Major General) from 2009-2013, a chartered aircraft from Islamabad would ferry one of his two son’s to London, where he was studying Bachelor of Engineering at one of the well-known and costliest universities of the world.Also studying with him was another son of a Pakistan army officer, who was not posted in the field, but was handling a “desk job”.
However, what made them different from the other Asian students, who had mostly taken student loans to study in the UK, was the wealth attached to them that would invariably become visible from their living standards.This was the time when Pakistan, like other country, was reeling from the global economic crisis of 2007-09 and its GDP had fallen from 6.8% in 2007 to 1.9% in 2009 and the inflation rose from 7.8% to 20.8% which led to millions of the less privileged population of the country not even having enough to eat.
People who follow these developments say that the number of children of serving and retired Pakistan military officers who studied or are studying in the UK comprise one of the biggest chunk of overseas Asians.
The average fees of pursuing an engineering degree from a good UK-based university during the 2010s for an overseas student was about 25,000-28,000 pound per annum which translates to 3,500,000 Pakistani rupees at the conversion rate of PKR 140 which was the rate at that time. The average salary of a two-star general in Pakistan at that time was not even Rs 1.5 lakh.
According to officials, the economic dire straits which Pakistan finds itself in today—which has brought global attention and pleas for help—has never impacted the army generals in the past and is unlikely to do so in the present or the future as these army officers do not depend on the Pakistani economy to sustain themselves.
The top ranking army officers, London-based officials say, are bankrolled by domestic industry players who need the support of the army to get government contracts. These same domestic players, in most of the cases, return the favour to the men in uniform by arranging for the present and future well-being of them and their family members in UK and Canada.
This includes getting the admission of their children in UK universities, taking care of their stay and arranging for their jobs in companies based in Dubai and London once they graduate.And these favours, that also includes purchase of movable and immovable properties, arranging for shares in hotels and travel related business, are not missed by either the British Intelligence or the US intelligence officials who, in some cases, have known to facilitate these favours for the Pakistan army generals with the idea to use them at an “appropriate time”. Even the Chinese entities, which are among the biggest investors in Pakistan, and are known as among the most liberal players when it comes to loosening their purse in lieu of taking favours, have bought assets for the Pakistani armed officers in the UK. Almost all of these transactions have been done in the name of limited liability companies (LLCs)whose real owner is hidden under a long series of legal documents which are not publicly available.

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