COAS Vision– Green Pakistan

Agriculture plays a strategic role in Pakistan economic development and food security. Nature has blessed Pakistan with fertile land, favourable climatic conditions for the production of crops and best irrigation system. In 1960s efforts were made by the then government of General Ayub to boost agricultural activity across Pakistan. This was done by introducing high yield seeds, building dams, construction of canals / infrastructure and modern agriculture practices. Despite being an agriculture based economy and 8th largest wheat producer, the country is facing food security issues. In the recent history the concept of corporate farming was planned but never implemented due to number of reasons. Pakistan faced severe economic crisis last year and was declared on the brink of default which could have resulted in shortage of food, fuel, medicines and forex needed for the purchase of essential goods. However, the immediate default was prevented on its international loan obligations. After taking over command of Pakistan Army General Asim focused on safeguarding territorial integrity and also help government to recover from economic crises.
The Green Pakistan Vision of Army Chief is to transform Pakistan into lush green land by reclaiming barren, waste and unused land across Pakistan. The Army Chief is genuinely concerned about the ailing economy and food security issues. Therefore, revival of economy is his top most priority. Based on his vision, Land Information and Management System (LIMS) was launched which was inaugurated on 7 Jul, 2023 to promote agriculture sector. The LIMS will provide real time information to farmers regarding water irrigation system, crop yield, weather forecasts, pest monitoring and fertilizers requirement. Green Pakistan Initiative has been launched across Pakistan including Azad Jummu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan. Strategic Project Division under the Adjutant General’s Branch is over all supervising the project. The Strategic Project Division has formed a private company with the name of Green Corporate Initiative (Private) Limited under Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).
The SIFC has been established to attract foreign investment particularly from the Gulf countries in information technology, minerals, energy, mining and agriculture sectors. The Gulf countries are interested in the project and likely to invest billions of dollars. The primary objectives of Green Pakistan Initiative are to reclaim unused / barren government land and the concept which is being followed is to attract investors (domestic and foreign). In a very short span of time the Green Corporate Initiative has made commendable progress in Cholistan area of South Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Sind. The provincial governments are making sincere contribution towards the national cause. A considerable land in Cholistan has been cultivated. The Army Chief while addressing a seminar on 10 Jul 2023 said “we assure all possible support for the economic development of Pakistan as an institution”.
While addressing the National Farmer Convention in Islamabad on December 29, 2023 the COAS emphasised on the importance of agriculture and army’s commitment to Green Pakistan Initiative. He clarified that army’s role in the Green Pakistan Initiative is serving public and farmers. Unfortunately, some anti Pakistan and anti-Army elements are involved in smear campaign against the institution by spreading fake news and propaganda about this game changing initiative especially in social media. In addition the private sector the Pakistan Army is also utilising its own resources to manage the project through retired army all ranks. Army is not taking over the lands which will remain the property of provinces. Pakistan Army will not reap any benefits from the income and the revenue will go to the provinces as well as research and development. The Pakistan army is playing a significant role in developing agriculture on modern lines which will increase productivity horizontally and vertically. To increase productivity modern agriculture means will be used, investment will be attracted which will also create job opportunity.`

The writer is a retired brigadier and freelance columnist. He tweets @MasudAKhan6.

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