A plane carrying military dependents on a pleasure trip to Karachi broke down one day last week at the airfield in Peshaware. Instead of waiting for the plane to be fixed, the military simply commandeered an airliner.
Those passengers had to wait, not the Army wives and children.
Pakistan is firmly under the control of the military after 2 1/2 years, and according to diplomatic observers and Pakistanis, the soldiers have been tainted by power.
"The Army has been corrupted by its years in office," said a diplomat with contacts among Pakistanis at every level. "There are lots of abuses in the Sind and Punjab, where colonels and brigadiers have thrown their weight around. It's terribly resented by the people."
President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, the general who heads the martial-law government, saw this problem when he first took control. He siad then that the Army could not run things too long or it would become as corrupt as the politicians. Now, however, he insists that the military has avoided corruption and is necessary for efficient rule.
Many residents disagree, especially with the Army appearing to take an ever stronger role. Military police often make routine traffic checks on highways and soldiers are looking over the shoulders of civilian administrators at the village level.
"The Army has got to get back to the barracks," said a Pakistani here. "They are losing their ability to defend the nation. they should be training all the time instead of performing petty political chores in the villages."
Zia was reported to have wanted his four provincial governors, who are also the key corps commanders of the Army, to give up their military jobs. But according to sources here, they refused -- insisting on keeping their power base in the Army as well as their civilian jobs.