Amid all the civil-military tensions, the Government of Pakistan has proposed a budget of Rs. 1.1 trillion for the defence forces. An increase in Rs. 180 billion is being seen as Pakistan's effort to modernise its existing system to fight terrorism on its soil and also counter India in the region.
Pakistan Finance Minister Miftah Ismail presented the budget for the last fiscal year of PML-N government and has allocated a whopping Rs. 1.1 trillion for defence expenditure. Reports suggested that this year’s allocation for defence budget shows an increase of 19.6 per cent, as compared to last year’s budget spending on defence. The defence budget of Pakistan comes in the wake of growing tensions reduction in United States’s assistance to Pakistan. The relationship between Pakistan’s Army and the Government of Pakistan under PML-N has also been rocky. This was clearly seen in several political controversies and also in the disqualification of the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Amid all the civil-military tensions, the Government of Pakistan has proposed a budget of Rs. 1.1 trillion for the defence forces. An increase in Rs. 180 billion is being seen as Pakistan’s effort to modernise its existing system to fight terrorism on its soil and also counter India in the region. The budget allocated excludes Rs. 260 billion that has been allocated for the expenditure related to pensions of defence personnel.
If one were to also include the Rs. 100 billion that has been allocated for the Armed Forces Development Programme (AFDP), then the defence budget, on the whole, would actually rise to 30%. In the existing budget, the Pakistan army will get 47 per cent of the share, Pakistan Air Force will get 20 percent and 10 per cent would go to Pakistan Navy. Out of the Rs. 1,100 billion, Rs. 423 billion would be for employee-related expenditure, Rs. 282 billion for procurement of arms and ammunition, Rs. 253 billion for operating expenses and Rs. 141 billion for civil works, read a statement from Ministry of Finance, Pakistan.
The increase in the defence budget to Rs. 1.1 trillion shows an increase of 83 per cent in the last five years. Experts in Pakistan have been seeking transparency and debates over defence spending. However, the Government of Pakistan has never had an open debate in the parliament over the defence expenditure. Reports suggested that the army officials lauded the budget and were also seen defending the huge budget allocation for defence.
On the contrary, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had allocated Rs. 3,59, 894 crores for 2018-19 fiscal year. In India, the budget allocation for defence has been the lowest since last ten years, amounting to only 2.3 per cent of India’s GDP.