Army: the next corporate power?

Imtiar Shamim

Imtiar Shamim

The news is very eye-catching and commensurate in terms of ‘positive Bangladesh’: recently the ministry of Industry has sent a proposal to the cabinet division for the decision to reopen three state-owned mills. The National Coordination Committee (NCC) to combat serious crimes has recommended positively on the proposal. But the outcome is not so simple, as we see that NCC recommended to handover North Bengal Paper Mills, one of these three mills to the Bangladesh army for proper maintenances and productivity!

The Daily Star, one of the critical corporate media of Bangladesh reports on 13 July, 2008[]:

According to an industry ministry proposal sent to cabinet division early this month, the NCC recommended: “In order to make the mill productive, it is necessary to hand over the mill to an organisation that is disciplined and neutral. Therefore, it will be rational to handover the mill to the Army for its revival.”

Nice Recommendation! But it is not clear why they did not make the same recommendation for the other two mills when the NCC feels that productivity comes from only ‘the disciplined and neutral organisation’ like ‘Bangladesh Army’.

In the same news the newspaper has a different tone than usual and includes comments in favour of NCC’s proposal by Zaid Bakht, research director of Bangladesh Institute of Development:

Its better that the mills are run directly by the army and not an organisation like the Sena Kalyan Sangstha (Armed forces welfare association), which he says, will not make the effort viable.

The process indicates an alternative way to accumulate the corporate power by controlling and administering the state-owned industry. After the 1/11 turnout of events we heard many things about the army’s role and their part in the public administration but not so much on their involvement in the corporate arena. The process of formulation of the National Security Council is still now in the pipeline which can take a more prominent role than NCC. This handover of the state-owned industry to the army might be the emergence of a pattern of the army’s intervention in the corporate power structure. Or it may be the starting point of conflict of civil corporate power with the emerging armed forces corporate. Because civil corporate thinks that privatisation is the only solution for the state-owned industrial crisis.

The international weekly magazine ‘Economist’ published an article on Bangladesh’s anti-graft efforts on November 08, 2007, in which they wrote:

For the regime, the anti-graft drive has had some useful side-effects. The intelligence services are systematically acquiring shares in private media companies, by offering the release from detention of their owners in return.

So it is clear that a part of the media industry of Bangladesh has been working in a conditional way, some visibly under self censorship. Now it can be deducted that the media industry works not only in favour of the civil corporate, but is also paving the armed forces foray in the corporate world.

It might be good time for Naomi Klein to start writing another book on corporate power, on their new characteristics especially in some Asian states.


3 Responses to “Army: the next corporate power?”

  1. Shahriar Mohammad

    It’s very sad to see a shameless Musharraf hanging on to power under a democratically elected government. I think he has no legitimacy to be in power since he was never appointed president by a democratic government. He should be tried for overthrowing an elected government.

    I think Pakistan does no require the parliament to approve his dismissal. It’s very humiliating to see a despotic dictator propped up by the ISI-CIA nexus still in power after installation of a popularly elected government.

    This ugly scenario is a product of the army’s interference in national politics through dreaded cunning institutions like the ISI. It has not only failed to counter terrorism in Pakistan but is actually fanning the flames of such acts within Pakistan.

    Musharraf’s rein as the chief player has turned the army into a business-minded military-industrial complex. The picture shot in Rawalpindi clearly reveals the rise of the army as a vested interest group in Pakistan’s sick politics.

    The same is happening in Bangladesh through the installation of the army-backed junta in Bangladesh. A ninety-day caretaker government is now gradually illegally and unconstitutionally increasing it’s hold on power to two years. The ISI`s counterpart DFI in Bangladesh is also conspiring along with some major powers to destroy democracy in Bangladesh so that the army can hang on to power like Musharraf with a former World Bank employee at the helm licking it`s boots. Most of the advisers of this illegitimate setup are former beneficiaries of international donor and UN agencies.

  2. Engr. Khondkar Abdus Saleque

    Armed forces of any country is is basically required to defend its territorial integrity against any aggression from across the border.During the time any national crisis arising out of natural crisis , epidemic it usually helps civil administration to overcome crisis. Navy can defend and protect maritime boundary and air force keeps the Air protected. But in Bangladesh army killed two popular and elected president.Army generals in the name of fight against corruption and anarchy turned politicians. Created political parties utilizing intelligence , bribing politicians. Army Generals turned politicians corrupted politics, bureaucracy’s , technocrats , destroyed all democratic institutions. Army personnel whether in service or after retirement straight away entered civil administrations , utility companies, foreign services. As if Bangladesh Army is the only competent service for delivering experts in every walks of life. The present very incompetent public sector is the consequence of militarization of administration.

    Why Army can not be kept out of politics and civil life as far as practicable. Is Indian Army interfere in any of the Government policy. Look at USA, UK, Australia, Canada and other developed nations .Army never indulge in politics. It is only in the third world countries where Army indulge its dirty nose everywhere and create trouble. Until Bangladeshi people takes the ownership of the country and keep every service confined within its jurisdiction Bangladesh can never think of coming out of vicious circle of anarchy., poverty and terrorism.

    A We need a very modern and well equipped people friendly better paid police, strong border securiy, strong coast guard , three dimensional Naval Force and off course modern professional skilled Army to safeguard our sovereignty.

  3. Saddam Hussain

    Have you noticed that Bangladesh and Afghanistan are the only countries in South Asia that have undemocratic, unconstitutional governments in power. Bangladesh’s one is well over it’s 90 day period mentioned in the amended constitution. It is basically a army-backed donor-blessed junta that is worse than the just ousted Musharraf and his cronies-assisted pseudodemocracy.

    Even and Nepal and Pakistan now have fully democratic governments that have demolished army’s stranglehold on democracy and overthrown West-imported monarchy in their respective countries.

    It’s sad to see the unconstitutional government in Bangladesh using terror and intimidating tactics through clandestine state apparatuses to scare politicians and businessmen to delay national parliamentary elections and thereby prolong their greed for power which they had no right to savour a day more than their 90 day period.

    I am confident it will be booted out of power soon to bring back looted democracy from the conspirators.

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