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In defence of Defence budget

Somehow or the other it has become a fashion to criticize defence budget mainly to attract attention in the media to gain cheap popularity. Defence budget should not be seen in isolation, the budget allotted under various heads also get increase each year keeping in view changed environments, additional requirements and depreciation in Pakistani rupees, but defence budget takes priority over all other budgetary heads as they safeguard the frontiers of Pakistan and ready to counter any external threat and internal law and order issues that get out of the control of the government. There is general misconception that defence budget takes away major chunk of budgetary allocation that is wrong and ridiculous also. Allocation of defence budget depends on many considerations that are not known to the people and internet anchors and analysts. Unfortunately, in Pakistan we have more experts in defence field as compared to all other fields. Pakistan army is round the clock vigilant to meet any internal and external threat and for that cost is always heavy. Secondly we have an enemy that has not yet reconciled with our independence therefore to counter any threat from them our defence has to be impregnable and militarily strong enough to ensure our enemy’s misadventures are countered effectively. The government has to ensure and allocate resources to match the budget of our enemy and Pakistan must have a proper deterrent to ensure security and safety of our frontiers from a force which is five times bigger than ours. Pakistan’s defence spending is 1.7% of GDP, showing decline compared to last year it was 2%. Whereas India has allocated 2% of GDP that comes to 13% of the total budget. In rupees it is 5.94 trillion (dollar 72.6 bn). This year it has been proposed to increase defence budget of Pakistan by 16% as the country continues to face internal and external security challenges. Defence budget has always been a favorite subject with some vested interests. Despite the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the threat has not minimized, Pakistan has deployed large number of troops in the tribal areas. Pakistan spends bare minimum $17000 as compared to India that spends $53000 per soldier. Another misnomer is that defence eats away 60% of the total budget whereas it is around 12.5 % of the total outlay. The budget allocated is for all the three services and not for army alone and is further subdivided in to various heads.
This year the allocation is Rs 1804 billion around 13% higher than the last year. Out of 1804 billion army gets 824.6 billion, Air force Rs 368.5 bn followed by Pakistan Navy Rs 188 bn. This amount is further subdivided in defence administration, employees related expenses, operating expenses, physical assets and civil works. This defence services estimates includes salaries, allowances paid to troops in uniform and civilian employees; operating expenses include transport, petroleum, oil and lubricants, rations, medical treatment, training, etc.; physical assets utilized for local purchases and import of arms and ammunition and other related procurements; and civil works that include funds marked for repair and maintenance of existing infrastructure and construction of new buildings. Detailed expenditure and allocation is mentioned in the budget, here only criticism is being attended. However, military pension is not included in this budget allocation for defence forces.
As propagated army gets major chunk of budget but failed to mention that its strength is much more than the other two services, ensuring balance is maintained without effecting its fighting potential. Therefore, its allocation has to be more. We keep criticizing about army’s budget but nobody talks about the contribution made by army towards national exchequer in the form of taxes from its commercial enterprises. Last year Fauji Foundation deposited Rs 175 bn as tax, there are about 143 health facilities they deposited Rs 40bn likewise Rs 40 bn tax deposited by 142 education institutions, that comes to Rs287 bn. Apart from this approximately 90000 civilians are employed in these organizations they contribute about Rs 10bn. Remaining institutions like NLC, CSD, FWO, AWT, DHA’s contribute Rs 127 bn. The total contribution from army is around Rs 408bn that is deposited in the national exchequer, no one talks about it because there is knowledge is poor and are ignorant about the facts. This year army has been allotted Rs 824.6 bn if we subtract army’s contribution returned in the form of taxes around Rs 408 bn from allotted amount it comes to Rs 416.6bn, that is just small amount. Roughly Rs 450 bn is the police budget, now if we compare defence budget it turns out to be too small keeping in view their responsibilities. I am sure the critiques would in future be careful while making wild statements on defence budget. A word of advice to all those who criticize army budget should read carefully the concluding paragraph
Has anybody bothered to know what happens to mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters and wives when news is broken conveying the loss of soldiers married or bachelors to their family members. It changes their life forever. They find it difficult to hold themselves. A class of people comprising all elements of society specially the part of media when talk against the forces and budget appear to be ignorant about the rigorous period of training and sacrifices they render forgetting the cozy beds and comforts, luxurious life style and all the time present with their family members. A young boy of 18 years who enjoys all the comforts of life, love of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and company of friends decides to opt a profession where there are only two options Ghazi or Shaheed. No amount is sufficient to compensate the human lives lost while safe guarding the frontiers of their country. It is time that defence budget is never made subject of discussion as it hurts badly the families of shuhda’s. Let us love our army
Kafir hai tu shamsheer pey karta hai bharoosa
Momin hai tu bay tegh bhi larta hai sepahi

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