MTBC: Another East India Company in the offing? | By Maj M Mahmood Khan (R)


MTBC: Another East India Company in the offing?

THE land of Kashmir is blessed with fertile minds who remain updated/alert on national/international developments, especially with regard to the State-related matters.

Recently, a public opinion from different quarters developed on the existence of MTBC (Medical Transcription Billing Company), an American based company, operating in some parts of Azad Kashmir since 2009.

The opinions were mixed in nature.One school of thought is of the opinion that this foreign Company is poised to get hold of Azad Kashmir’s resources and it is quite likely that one day it will capture all the state resources/government structure, as was done by ‘East India Company’ which first appeared as business entity in the subcontinent, worked through the locals (natives) and later formed the British Raj.

The other school of thought opines that MTBC is not less than a ‘Messiah’ for the people of Azad Kashmir.

However, during the survey and follow-up discussion/feedback, yet another (3rd) school of thought has also surfaced, with bit sensitive opinion.

They perceives that American CIA also launches their guys, masquerading as welfare workers in ‘target areas’ and at some places “selected individuals” are hired for tasks, as in case of Shakeel Afridi (meaning no offence to the Pakistani working with MTBC) despite the fact he was citizen of Pakistan but still was lured in ,engulfed in greed, destroyed by lust and in turn, caused devastating embarrassment and damage to the State for abetting and facilitating CIA in Osama Bind Laden case.

The ground survey was also carried out to evaluate the opinions of different school of thoughts to ascertain the factual position.

Agreed, one similarity prevails of MTBC with East India Company that the latter came to India as a business entity but gradually took over the entire region with horrific follow ups and MTBC (also a foreign Company) has entered with business designs but have started unprecedented development projects here at a rapid pace, giving the general impression/perception that this company may have some designs and may also follow the footprints of East Indian Company in the time to come; capturing all State resources which are in abundance (minerals, forests, human resource etc).

However, what all is seen on ground for the last 12 years, MTBC is contributing for State welfare in social development sectors.

Moreover, there is glaring difference between East India Company and MTBC as the operatives of East India Company were the British while the profile of MTBC’s organogram is Indigenous.

MTBC although is an American Healthcare Information Technology Company which has a significant number of employees all over the world but its founder Mahmood ul Haq is an AJ&K national while Abdul Hadi Chaudhry (Chief Executive Officer) also hails from Islamabad-Pakistan and all the workers are also from Azad Kashmir.

The opinion of 2nd school of thought who considers MTBC as Messiah, seems to have come up with sound reasoning.

In District Bagh alone, there are around 2,000 local employees (men/women) have been given attractive salaries /perks and privileges.

At this critical time once there is dearth of job opportunities in this remote area, MTBC is seen as only a ray of hope for the educated youth.

MTBC has recently started setting up of a series of small industries projects in the area wherein a world class poultry industry in District Bagh and a large Fish Farm has been planned which is at the final stages, thus this underdeveloped area is going to become an industrial zone very soon, providing much better employment opportunities to the locals.

The landscape of Azad Kashmir at various places is worth seeing and have attractions for tourists but due to lack of facilities, the turnout of tourists to this piece of land was minimum.

The dilapidated guest houses owned by government sector, which had become unproductive, have been purchased by MTB which will be utilized for tourists who may flood in during the summers/winters.

Besides this, the education sector in the State is being developed in line with 21st Century requirements by establishing modern computer labs in educational institutions.

To promote tourism, a “Winter Festival” was organized just recently on the snow-capped mountain of” Ganga-peak ” at the height of 10,000 feet above the sea level — a place where even the local birds migrate to other locations due to heavy snowfall but a grand human activity was conducted here which has brought positive impact for the local business community.

In health sector, MTBC has also a significant contribution.Besides dispensaries, the Company management has set up a modern hospital at Abbaspur (Poonch) near the Line of Control (LoC), a great blessing for the local community.

As regards to the opinion of 3rd school of thought (security risk of a foreign company), there have been some NGOs working in Pakistan after the devastating earthquake of year 2005 in Azad Kashmir but later were packed up being “unsuitable” but MTBC, as a company is still functional.

However, our concerned institutions will certainly be monitoring the activities of foreign companies operating in the sensitive areas and they are the better judge.

—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Ghaziabad, Azad Kashmir.


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