By Hamid Waheed
The idea of scientists "fudging data" is commonly referred to as an act of completely making up data, changing experimental results, or only reporting the results that are expected to bring desired result.. Pakistan’s defence spending has remained one of the most debated component of total government expenditures since independence. While a sizeable variation in defence expenditure to GDP ratio has been witnessed over different phases which this country has passed due to the regional and global security environment the general perception of high defence expenditures has prevailed. .
The history of defence expenditures of early years of independence, reflects a ratio of 17.7 percent defence and 3.5 per cent of development expenditures in overall budgetary allocations. This exceptionally high share of defence expenditures in early years of independence may largely be attributable to the government efforts to achieve a minimum level of deterrence for security. After that, the share of military spending in total expenditure saw a considerable decline till it shot up again in 1966 on account of 1965 and 1971 wars.. After 1972, the ratio gradually went down to 23.2 per cent by 1980.The declining trend reversed again in 1981 following the high tension in bordering Afghanistan. The decade of 1990s recorded considerable decline in the share of defence expenditure. The drop in second half of 1990s was more pronounced when compared to the first half. This trend was mostly due to episodes of tension under umbrella of nuclear capabilities of Pakistan and neighboring India. 9/11 further added new dimensions which included both external explosions as well as implosions from within. Therefore an economic analysis of defence budget without taking security environment into consideration will be unrealistic and tantamount to fudging.
There is a thin line to be well understood while deciding the delicate issue of increase or decrease in defence budget. National development without security invites aggressors, while national security at the cost of development degrades social security and erodes public welfare. A balance between the two is essential requirement of the time, but if not managed properly in the coming years, military spending will definitely be at the cost of illiteracy, poverty and under-development. This will ultimately harm national integration. As the wise say the first and foremost step to get to solution lies in understanding the problem.
Pakistan Armed Forces are seventh largest in terms of active troops in the world and its budget spending stand at 35th in world budget spending in 2010-2011 as compared to 10th position of Indian army. Since 9/11 defence budget has remained between 17 – 21 percent of the total National budget with current year figures touching 18 percent. Pakistan’s defence budget 2011 has number three standing in the National Budget at Rs 495 Billion(18%) after Debt servicing Rs 1034 Billion(37%) and General public Services Rs 626Billion(23%). Moreover the armed forces has actively contributed to national budget through its substantial contributions of continuous inflow of US dollars by employment in UN peacekeeping operations and War on Terror. The re- imbursement in shape of tax on salaries, purchase of equipment etc and corporate tax by Fauji foundation, AWT remains at 36 – 42 percent of its total budget in last ten years. Actions speak louder than the words, the silent contributions speak by themselves from the data listed above. The patriotic contributions in time of crisis in shape of rations beddings and tents have yet another angle. The defence forces seem to be more than ready to take part in National cause having all the ingredients of self sacrifice but like nation they are waiting for a master patriotic transparent plan . The military leadership under General Kiyani stand firm behind the political system sometimes showing them the direction through institutional actions but strategy to build institutions and tackle economy is still not visible. The recent time has put Turkish model as an example where civilian rule has proved its worth. The true leadership having will to lead can make the difference for the Nation.
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