Contrary to popular belief, entrenchment of the military as a class in the national economy and politics is not a natural consequence of its organizational abilities or the void left by the weak political elite and institutions. In truth, tacit support from United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) over the years, who were drawn towards Pakistan owing to their strategic interests in the region (while India turned towards the Soviet Union) in a bipolar world translated into increased organisational capacity in comparison to civilian institutions, and consequently increased political influence. The military is hierarchically structured. The maximum power lies in service chiefs with Army Chief at the top of pyramid, not the Joint Chief of Staff’s Committee (JCSC).General Jahangir Karamat, Former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) commented on his organization’s culture: “The organization does not like or permit subcultures. It frowns at outspokenness and lack of discipline. You have to accept it when you join. It rewards you if you stay in line”. However this sense of power has permeated from the officer cadre to the level of Jawan, all the way from the Army to the Airforce and Navy. Even soldier’s families are aware of their political impregnability, or in Marxian terms they have become class conscious. In colonial times, British employed a rather unusual strategy in which they raised regiments (headed by Europeans) based on locals. The irony was that the same home grown regiments were to be used to coerce locals and extract taxes, which in turn helped sustain the military. Consequently, they achieved the desired Imperial Order. But the main concern was that an army based on locals could revolt against the ‘British Raj’ and after the mutiny of the Bengal Army in 1857, their concerns became real. To deal with this, the British established cantonments, especially in Punjab. The main purpose behind establishing cantonments was to politically insulate soldiers from the masses which they were supposed to coerce. But this political insulation could not have been sustained if the soldiers shared the same social problems as the masses. Hence, soldiers and their families were placed in cantonments and were socially uplifted to curtail chances of mutiny. The main purpose behind establishing cantonments was to politically insulate soldiers from the masses which they were supposed to coerce Cantonments and gated communities such as DHAs, Askaris and Fazaia housing societies tend to have their own subculture within a city or a locality, with its excessive security measures disrupting the homogeneity of the urban community. The middle and upper urban middle class tend to develop parity with the sub-society that the military forms, but the working class gets the worst of it( I am not implying that condition are any better in other parts of urban centres). But here it’s not the working class that becomes class conscious, but the military as a whole, with social stratification becomes aware of their social, political and economic class relative to others and their rank within a society and instead of workers, the military as an independent class seeks to obtain the means of production. But how does a class manages to keep different groups in it and their respective positions in the hierarchy of society? According to Karl Marx, “Societies maintain their social order by imbuing their members with a particular set of ideas and values, which when taken as a whole, can be taken as a mechanism which allows the dominant class to continue its domination.” So basically a state of mind or a certain self-identity is imposed on individuals at the lower rungs of the military or working class as a whole, which prevents them from recognizing the injustice of their present social situation. For instance, better employment, educational and recreational opportunities go to the children and families of the higher cadre. The military has its own subculture, which impacts the individual’s sense of self and impairs judgment, giving rise to false consciousness. Their political and economic outlook becomes by and large, a function of where they are and those who branch out or grow out of false consciousness are tagged as traitors, but only a small percentage of members manage to grow out of it. Let’s just try to decipher why members of the military as a class voluntarily stay in the positions they are placed in. Members at higher echelons, or the elite officer cadre obviously don’t need much persuasion because of the perks and privileges they enjoy. Meanwhile, mid-ranking officers are lured in by the opportunity of inter-class mobility. But the reason why the Jawan or working class civilian have the motivation to participate not disrupt the system which serves him the worst deal is the state of mind which I earlier explained, false consciousness. According to Marx, “This isn’t some inherent part of human nature, but a driving mechanism in the force of history.” The writer is a Political Activist and a Research Analyst based in Lahore, he can be contacted at BeingKamil@yahoo.com, twetter @BeingKamil Published in Daily Times, March 26th 2018.