August 21, 2007Foreign Affairs

Musharraf’s third hat

President, General and…village tax-collector

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

And you thought Gen Musharraf held only two official positions? Well, in addition to being president of Pakistan and chief of its army, it turns out that he is also numberdar of the village of Chak 13 BC near Bahawalpur in Punjab province. He owns real estate out there in rural Punjab, allocated to him in the proper tradition of the Pakistan army.

Numberdars are rural bigwigs appointed by the state to collect water taxes and land revenue. The numberdar is not paid by the government, but the office wields tremendous political clout in the village. So what if you are the dictator of Pakistan? Political clout in Chak 13 BC is important too. In any case, he’s in good company—Gen Mohd Aziz Khan, Brig Ejaz Shah, Lt Gen Moinuddeen Haider and Lt Gen Shahid Pervez, farmers since retiring from the army—are numberdars in nearby villages.

(Source: Military Inc, by Ayesha Siddiqa, pp 200-201, quoting Nadeem Saeed, Wardi Walley Numberdar’ report on 20 Jun 2005. Thanks to Pluto Press for sending us a review copy)

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