Milbus is the portion of the economy that consists of the undocumented and unexplained transfer of financial and other material resources from private and public sector to the military. This economic excess has resulted in military’s dominance as an independent class with its own elite and sub-classes in the country. This phenomenon isn’t limited to Pakistan only; it exists in other politically underdeveloped countries and pre-capitalist societies such as Myanmar, Indonesia and Latin America. During the 1857 War of Independence, the whole of North India, led by Rajputs and Brahmins, rose in revolt against the colonial powers, but Punjab remained loyal to the British Empire. With the help of Punjab, the colonial powers managed to overcome the revolt rewarded Punjab’s elite loyalty with land ownership and political positions in Punjab, which now constitutes half of the present day Pakistan. This gave birth to Punjab’s landed gentry. A huge number of Muslim migrants who were compelled to abandon their properties in India were asked to file claims of their properties in order to compensate them for their loss. However, many fake claims were filed and were entertained by Urdu speaking bureaucracy which gave rise to another elite consisting of Urdu speaking migrants from Northern India. After Independence, neo-elites of this country — one Punjabi landed elite with roots in colonial times and the other Muhajir Urdu speaking elite — used their financial resources to boost, and at times, capture high echelons of political power and vice versa. As a consequence of which masses suffered over the years and military which provided sort of swift inter-class mobility intervened and rose to power in response to the demeanour of Pakistan’s neo-elite. During the 1857 War of Independence, all of North India, led by Rajputs and Brahmins, rose in revolt against the colonial powers, but Punjab remained loyal to the British Empire. With the help of Punjab, the colonial powers managed to overcome the revolt and rewarded Punjab’s elite’s loyalty with land ownership and political positions. This gave birth to Punjab’s landed gentry But in the subsequent years, Pakistan saw the emergence and evolution of military as an independent class with its own elite plundering the country in the same manner as Punjabi landed gentry or the Urdu Speaking Muhajir elite was. But their institution was rather more organised which led to grave exploitation of resources and other institutions. Over the years various echelons of forces pursued policies to grasp financial and lifestyle opportunities to bring their officer cadre at par with the civilian elite of the country-the Punjabi gentry and the Muhajir elite. Stephen Cohen gave a succinct analysis that defines Army’s role in Pakistan: There are army’s that guard their nation’s borders, there are those that are concerned with protecting their own position in a society and there are those that defend a cause or an idea. The Pakistan Army does all three. The emergence of social class was followed by social stratification within and without the services. For instance, Ayesha Siddiqa in her book refers to a conversation with a Pakistan Navy Psychologist who told her that most of the problems referred to her very relating social pressure exerted by social stratification within the forces. A social bifurcation also exists and is promoted by the officer cadre of all armed services which discourages free mixing of children and families of high ranking, mid-ranking and junior officers. But some claim that certain level of social intermixing is allowed to retain a distinctive culture and perspective than the civilian class. There is this sense of elitism too where children of high ranking officers get better educational and consequently better employment opportunities. For instance, children of junior officers study in army public schools or Fazaia schools etc, children of mid-ranking officers study with civilian upper middle class in private institutes such as LGS and Beacon house etc where children of top-ranking officers tend to study either in Elite Institutes such as Aitchison College, LUMS etc or abroad. The land a retired high ranking official other than residential plots in DHA’s which in case of three-star army general is 45 acres and army chief is 90 acres, usually covers for their children’s expenditures including studies in abroad. Since the mid-50s, recruitment pattern in Military changed from upper middle to lower middle class but this never really translated for the betterment of lower classes. Once desired interclass mobility is achieved high ranking officials tend to serve and protect the interests of either Military elite or Elite as a whole. This social stratification isn’t an intra-services phenomenon but has another inter-services dimension to it as well. The army is the largest service with 550,000 serving personnel followed by 45,000 in PAF and 25,000 in Pakistan Navy. Owing to its numbers and resources Army has greater influence as compared to Pakistan Air force and Pakistan Navy. And their role Strategic Planning and National Security are defined by the way the greater service sees its ability to contribute. Over the years we have seen that Chiefs of smaller services were kept out of the loop by Army in matters concerning National Security and dealings with foreign powers. An organisation called Joint Chief of Staff Committee was established in 1976-1977 for joint planning control of armed forces. The idea behind was to curtail the influence the service chiefs with army chief at the top. It was supposed that Joint Chief would have greater influence over the services chiefs consequently reducing the effectiveness of Army Chief. But Military Organisational restructuring never really gave operational control of personnel of three forces to Joint Chief’s Headquarters so power rests in services chiefs prior to 1976 reforms. Now it’s more of a forum for discussion and serves as a post office between armed services where the post of Joint Chief is nothing but a ceremonial one. According to the reforms of 1976-1977 suggested by Hamood-ur-Rehman, Joint Chief was to be selected from the three services on rotational basis but out of 16 turns only one time was it drawn from Air force and only twice was from Pakistan Navy. Since 9th November 1997, all Joint Chiefs have been appointed from Pakistan Army. This gives us an insight into the inter-service influence of Pakistan Army, overall political control and mindset of higher echelons of greater service that they aren’t ready to vacate a rather ceremonial position. The writer is a Political Activist and a Research Analyst based in Lahore. He tweets at @BeingKamil Published in Daily Times, March 21st 2018.