Top Pakistan military officers are unlikely to be affected by the economic crisis that the volatile country is going through and has sought a financial bailout package of $7 billion from International Monetary Fund (IMF)—the first in five years and the 13th overall in Pakistan’s history.

The Pakistan army is comfortably sitting on assets and companies whose worth, according to Pakistan based experts, is more than $20 billion. This has never been allowed to be impacted by any economic recession. The extent of financial control that the Pakistan military exercises is phenomenal.

The details of the assets owned by the Pakistan army were officially shared by the Pakistan Defence Ministry in July 2016 with members of the Pakistan Senate. These include 50 housing projects that are run through several foundations, oil and gas drilling projects, stud farms, an aviation company and a diesel producing company, which has tied up with the world’s largest US-based oil and gas company, Exxonmobil.

All these and many more such companies, whose capital is generated by the top generals of the armed forces of Pakistan over the years, are managed by the “Army Welfare Trust” (AWT), a conglomerate that came up in 1971 and is entirely managed by top officials of the Pakistan army.

Those tracking the developments in Pakistan state that most of these companies—which are controlled by the military indirectly through funds—have at least 120 entities that are virtually into every aspect of life, from phosphorus, aviation, sugar and apparels to academic institutions and even security guards.

“Many of these companies are used as shell companies and as a front for taking bribes from arms dealers. They are protected by any ‘external interference’ from the civil departments. Prime areas of the country are under the control of the Defence Housing Authorities (DHAs) in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi-Islamabad, Multan, Gujranwala, Bahawalpur, Peshawar and Quetta. These are the fronts used by serving and retired generals to acquire properties across the country,” an official said.

In a book released in May 2007, Pakistan-based military scientist, Ayesha Siddiqa, who also served at the position of director in the Pakistan navy, wrote that the worth of the capital controlled by the Pakistan military officers at the time was $20 billion.

The launch function of the book, which was supposed to be held at an elite club in Islamabad, had to be restricted to a third-floor room after the organisers of the club cancelled it and not one of the hotels in the capital city agreed to host it citing phone calls from the Pakistani army.

And this was more than 11 years ago. Since then, as per Pakistan defence ministry’s own admission, the AWT has added at least 11 new businesses and projects that include a bank as well as cement manufacturing companies in its arsenal.

PROJECTS AND BUSINESSES RUN BY AWT

  • Two stud farms in Pakpattan and Okara
  • Army Welfare Sugar Mills, Badin
  • Askari Project (shoe and woollen), Lahore
  • Army Welfare Mess and Blue Lagoon Restaurant, Rawalpindi
  • Real estate comprising three small housing schemes in Lahore, Badaber and Sangjani
  • Askari General Insurance Co Ltd, Rawalpindi
  • Askari Aviation Services, Rawalpindi
  • MAL Pakistan Ltd. Karachi
  • Askari Guards Pvt Ltd, head office (HO) in Rawalpindi
  • Askari Fuels (CNG), HO in Rawalpindi
  • Askari Seeds, Okara
  • Askari Enterprises, Rawalpindi
  • Fauji Security Services (acquired from Fauji Foundation), HO in Rawalpindi
  • Askari Apparel, Lahore
  • Askari Lagoon, Faisalabad

BUSINESSES MANAGED BY FAUJI FOUNDATION, WHICH, IN TURN, IS MANAGED BY TOP ARMY OFFICIALS

  • Fauji Cereals
  • Foundation Gas
  • Fauji Fertiliser Company Ltd based in Morocco
  • Fauji Cement Co Ltd
  • Fauji Oil Terminal and Distillery Co Ltd
  • Fauji Kabirwala Power Company Ltd
  • Foundation Power Co (Dharki) Ltd
  • Askari Cement Ltd
  • Askari Bank Ltd
  • Foundation Wind Energy (I and II) Ltd
  • Noon Pakistan Ltd Lahore
  • Fauji Meat Ltd
  • Fauji Fertiliser Bin Qasim Ltd
  • Fauji Akbar Partia Marine Terminal Ltd, HO in Karachi

BUSINESSES UNDER THE ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL OF SHAHEEN FOUNDATION, A PAKISTAN AIR FORCE TRUST

  • Shaheen Airport Services
  • Shaheen Aerotraders
  • Shaheen Knitwear
  • Shaheen Complex, Karachi
  • Shaheen Complex, Lahore
  • Shaheen Medical Services
  • Hawk Advertising
  • Fazaia Welfare Education School System
  • SAPS Aviation College
  • Air Eagle Aviation Academy
  • Shaheen Welfare Housing Scheme, Peshawar
  • The Bahria Foundation, run by top Pakistan navy officers, is into real estate, oil and gas distribution, marine trade, security, shipyard terminal management, pharmacy and civil aviation.