LIMS and role of Pakistan Army

The federal government and the Pakistan army have developed the Land Information and Management System (LIMS) to modernize Pakistan’s agriculture sector by reclaiming uncultivated and barren land across the country. A Major General will head LIMS as Director General Strategic Projects (DGSP) to coordinate activities nationwide. The overall objective is to revive the country’s economy by reclaiming uncultivated wasteland to boost socio-economic development in Pakistan.
Agriculture plays a vital role in Pakistan’s economy, with 70 percent of the country’s population involved in agriculture-related activities directly and indirectly. Agriculture contributes 23 percent to the GDP and employs 38 percent of the labor force. Armies around the world are now directly contributing to nation-building, similar to the PLA of China, Israeli Defense Forces, and South American armies. For instance, China established the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in 1954, aiming to safeguard the frontier region by developing agriculture, industry, mining, railway tracks, highways, education, health services, and civic facilities. The corps comprises 14 divisions with 85 regiments in the Xinjiang region.
Similarly, since its independence, the Pakistan army has been actively contributing to the development of remote areas such as erstwhile FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan, Chitral, Balochistan, interior Sindh, and South Punjab. They have been involved in constructing roads, providing assistance in education and healthcare through CMHs and medical camps, and implementing water supply schemes. Notable mega projects for nation-building include Pakistan Ordinance Factories (POF), Frontier Works Organization (FWO), Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT), and Fauji Foundation.
The Pakistan army possesses a disciplined and responsive reservoir of manpower with organizational ability. They are regularly involved in desilting and maintaining the cleanliness of canals. Additionally, they undertake rescue and relief operations during natural disasters like earthquakes and floods. Moreover, they perform duties of national importance such as census, combating power theft, and addressing ghost schools. The army also plays a significant role in planned large-scale afforestation, cultivating vast acreage of wasteland and plantation of saplings. They are also involved in the agriculture and animal husbandry sectors, maintaining animal dairies, agriculture farms, and breeding milk-producing animals.
Despite being an agriculture-based economy and the 8th largest wheat-producing country, Pakistan faces food insecurity and wheat shortages. The country imports food items like wheat, sugar, tea, and palm oil due to contributing factors such as drought, heavy rainfall, floods, extreme heat, melting glaciers, and smuggling. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), 36.9 percent of Pakistanis are food insecure, with 18.3 percent facing severe food crises.
Through the establishment of the new concept LIMS, new canals will be built to reclaim an additional 9 million hectares of uncultivated wasteland. The newly established system (LIMS) will provide real-time information and guidance to farmers regarding water irrigation systems, crop yields, weather forecasts, fertilizers, and modern technologies. Media reports suggest that Pakistan is expecting foreign investments of up to 3 billion dollars from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain.
In a recent seminar on the green revolution, COAS General Asim Munir assured the nation that all initiatives under the ambit of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), including the Green Pakistan initiatives, will receive full support. The Pakistan army’s involvement in various sectors since independence has contributed significantly to nation-building, and now their involvement in LIMS will likely guarantee its success. The Pakistan army will remain a major source of stability, security, defense, and national pride.

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

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt