ISLAMABAD: In the last 10 years, Pakistan has spent Rs297.3 billion on the war on terror and Rs152.9 billion of this amount has been given to the country’s armed forces under ‘special allocations over and above normal defence budget for security related expenditures’, the Senate was told on Wednesday.
In a written reply to a question from Senator Tanvir Khan of the ruling party, the minister for finance provided year-wise and head-wise details of the expenditures, besides informing the house that the US had only disbursed $111 million to Pakistan under this head since year 2009.
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According to the reply, Rs152.9 billion was given to the armed forces – a significant chunk of which, Rs125.9 billion, went to the army – Rs45.25 billion to the Ministry of Safron and Fata Secretariat and Rs67.6 billion to various formations of Rangers.
Out of Rs152.9 billion armed forces allocations, Pakistan Air Force was given Rs12 billion, the Pakistan Navy Rs15 billion and Pakistan Army Rs125.9 billion.
The army’s funds amounting to Rs125.9 billion were spent on the management of the temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) of operation Zarb-e-Azb, besides catering for internal security duty allowances, operation Swat and special security division expenses.
The amount also included Rs11.2 billion given under the PM’s Assistance Package (Defence Services), and Rs19.4 billion spent on fencing and lighting of Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
Besides the armed forces, Rs45.25 billion worth of funds were provided to the Ministry of Safron and Fata Secretariat to facilitate return and rehabilitation of the TDPs and providing them housing subsidy.
Similarly, Rs67.6 billion was given to the Pakistan Rangers, the Frontier Corps, the Frontier Constabulary, the Pakistan Coast Guards and the Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts to enable them to meet expenditures on equipment procurement.
Another Rs1.2 billion was spent by the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) to protect its buildings across the country under this head.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, a ruling party senator, Nisar Muhammad Khan, announced resignation from his seat, saying his brother had recently been awarded a Senate ticket by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and “morality does not allow him to continue”.
He also announced resignation from basic membership of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Khan is due to retire next month upon completion of his six-year tenure in the house.
The Senate chairman disallowed an adjournment motion by Senator Farhatullah Babar to discuss the dispatch of Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia that bypasses the unanimously adopted parliamentary resolution affirming neutrality in the ongoing military conflict in the region.
“The defence minister has already made a policy statement in the Senate and a number of senators have also spoken on the subject. Therefore, further discussion on the issue is not allowed,” he remarked.
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Pressing his point, Senator Babar said the army announced the decision last week after a meeting between the army chief and the Saudi ambassador in Islamabad. The meeting, he added, was preceded by a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia by the army chief, who met the Saudi crown prince and military commanders there.
He listed two questions which, he said, remained unanswered and necessitated further discussion through the adjournment motion.
“One, whether during the recent meeting of the army chief with the Saudi crown prince, the Pakistani ambassador in Saudi Arabia was present; and whether a representative of the Foreign Office was also present in the subsequent meeting between the Saudi ambassador and the army chief at the GHQ.
“Two, even without disclosing the troops’ location what is the guarantee that they will not be deployed along the Saudi-Yemen border in which case they can get sucked in the conflict in case a hot pursuit becomes necessary?” Babar asked.