By Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
For the financial year 2011-12, the Government of Pakistan has increased the country’s Military budget by 12 percent. This also includes the 15% increase in the salaries of the employees. The total amount of the budget is Rs. 495 billion, compared to Rs 442 billion for the year 2010-11. In term of USD, the total amount is about $ 5.75 bn. The Finance Minister while justifying the increase in the defence budget said, “We live in a difficult neighbourhood. We are faced with threats to our security. We remain engaged in a struggle for the safety of our citizens. We are the victims of war on terrorism.” This is a great reality, the Finance Minister has highlighted. However, the country is confronted by enemies from within as well as from across the geographical frontiers of Pakistan. Now a day, meeting the internal challenges to the security of Pakistan has become more daunting and cost effective than the external threats. Since the commencement of the so-called global war on terror in 2001, and combat actions against the terrorists, Pakistan has badly suffered in term of its combat manpower, weapons and equipments and above all attacks on its civil and military installations, public places and all those having no connection with the war on terror.
While analysing the defence budget, one would know that, over the last few years, there has been a decline in the defence budget of Pakistan in practical terms. This is indicative from the fact that, during year 2010-11, in term of GDP share, the defence allocation was 2.6 percent. Whereas, despite an increase of 12 percent, the “GDP share of defence allocation for the next year (2011-12) would go down to 2.4 per cent”, a decrease of .2 percent. As analysed by Dawn Group of news paper, “There has been a steady decline in defence services’ slice in the GDP cake over the years.”This decline can be attributed to inflation, which as an average was 14.1 percent and is continuously increasing over the years. Over the years this practice is going on, contrary to an apparent increase in the military budget.
Inside Defence budget, there are various heads. First is the Ministry of Defence itself. Out of the total defence outlay of Rs. 501.85 billion, Rs. 495 billion would go the Military i.e. three services viz; Army, Navy and Air Force. The share of three services is rationalized based on the strength of the each service and the requirement for the weapons and equipment for a particular year. As revealed over 50 percent of this total Military budget, is expended on the employees’ related expenditures. Remaining amount is then further divided into various heads. At the level of Defence Ministry, the Airport Security Force, the Survey of Pakistan, Meteorology Department, and FG schools and colleges also consumes a big chunk of the defence budget. This aspect is known to very few people that these departments and others like Controller of Military Accounts are also paid out of defence estimates.
In the global market as well as domestically, owing to price hike and inflation, every year the cost of the equipment/ items, essentially needed to be purchased increased reasonably. This in turn necessitates an increase in the defence budget, an unavoidable phenomenon. For the financial year 2011-12, the operating expenses of the three services has been estimated as Rs. 128.28 billion, compared to Rs. 111.24 billion during year 2010-11, whereas, the employees expenses (including the 15% rise in the salaries) has been estimated as Rs. 206.5 billion. Similarly, the amount for civil works has been estimated as Rs. 42.6 billion, whereas, physical assets would remain as Rs. 117.6 billion for all three services.
Compared to $34 billion, declared Military budget of India, passed by Indian Parliament in February this year, Pakistani Military budget is just 5.75 billion, which indeed is a very small. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) the Military Expenditures of India are $41.3 billion. India doesn’t disclose its actual defence spending. However, India remain the main adversary of Pakistan, as there have been three wars between both countries and owing to Indian designs of undoing the Pakistan, as witnessed in 1971, we cannot become a status quo nation. Given the chance, India would go all out to undo Pakistan, the only country resisting its hegemonic designs in South Asia. Through its alliances with the major world powers, and establishing itself in Afghanistan, in the garb of so-called re-construction, India is posing very serious threats to the security of Pakistan from its western borders. Thus we cannot remain aloof of all these happenings. Beside Indian ill designs, Pakistan, “has constantly been suffering because of the existing security situation." And as per Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, “We stand by our valiant men, who are laying down their lives to safeguard our country.”
As per Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), there has been a universal increase in the military budget of all countries. United States has increased its “military spending by 81 per cent since 2001, and now accounts for 43 per cent of the global total, six times to its nearest rival China. At 4.8 per cent of GDP, US military spending in 2010 represents the largest economic burden outside the Middle East.” As per the latest figures provided by SIPRI, the top 10 military spenders of the world till 2010 are: United States ($698 billion), China ($119 billion), Great Britain ($59.6 billion), France ($59.3 billion), Russia ($58.7 billion), Japan ($54.5 billion), Saudi Arabia ($45.2 billion), Germany ($45.2 billion), India ($41.3 billion), and Italy ($37 billion).
In the Sub-continent, India has been spending a huge sum of amount on its military budget ever since. Being in the club of top ten military spenders, there has been a constant increase in the Indian defence Budget since last two decades. Indian is modernizing its three services on the line of the militaries of United States, United Kingdom, and Russia. However, owing to its weak economy, Pakistan cannot match the Indian defence spending. Nevertheless, it should maintain at least the minimum credible deterrence to ensure its safety and security in the wake of enmity all around; domestically against extremists and terrorists and externally, those also promote internal instability too.
Incidents like US raid to haunt OBL and the terrorist attack on the PNS Mehran Base, though very serious breaches of security, but, should not frustrate the nation from supporting its armed forces. On their part, Armed forces should indentify their flaws and make utmost efforts to come up to the expectations of the nation, to maintain the sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan in the world which is anarchic in character and played by power politics.