Defence budget up by around 20%

Published: April 28, 2018
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PML-N govt proposed Rs1.1 trillion budget for three wings of armed forces PHOTO: PAKISTAN NAVY

PML-N govt proposed Rs1.1 trillion budget for three wings of armed forces PHOTO: PAKISTAN NAVY

ISLAMABAD .: At a time when security assistance from the US is dwindling, Pakistan has raised its defence spending for the year 2018-19 by around 19.6 per cent, the highest increase during the PML-N government’s current tenure.

The increase is also seen as significant amid the PML-N’s uneasy relationship with the military leadership following a series of political controversies stemming from the disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in July last year.

Despite apparent civil-military tensions, the PML-N government proposed Rs1.1 trillion budget for the three armed forces in the coming fiscal year.

For the first time in Pakistan, defence outlay crossed the Rs1 trillion mark. The allocation for 2018-19 shows an increase of Rs180 billion, or 19.6 per cent, as compared to the spending by the armed forces in the outgoing fiscal year.

Budget 2018-19: Historic high of Rs1.03tr allocated for PSDP

The increase will become whopping 30 per cent if the Rs100 billion allocated for the Armed Forces Development Programme (AFDP) is also included under defence spending.

The figures also do not include Rs260 billion allocated for the pensions of military personnel, which will be given from the civilian budget.

Out of the whole defence budget, Pakistan Army gets 47 per cent, 20 per cent goes to Pakistan Air Force, and Pakistan Navy gets around 10 per cent, said defence ministry officials.

According to the budget document 2018-19, out of the Rs1,100 billion, Rs423 billion have been allocated for employee-related expenses, Rs253.5 billion for operating expenses, Rs282 billion for local purchases and import of arms and ammunition, and Rs141 billion for civil works.

In 2013-14, the total outlay of defence budget was around Rs600 billion which has now jumped up to Rs1.1 trillion, showing an increase of 83 per cent in the last 5 years.

Defence spending has always been a subject of intense discussion, with some seeking greater transparency and open debate about the military’s budget.

In recent years, the government provides more details about the defence budget. However, there has never been an open debate within Parliament on the subject.

Military officials defended the increase by insisting that Pakistan military’s expenditure is the lowest in the region given the volatile security environment.

Apart from fighting militancy, Pakistan’s defence spending is India-centric, given the hostility between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. Relations between the two countries have remained tense in recent months, with frequent incidents of clashes along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary.

Earlier this year, India raised its defence spending by around 8 per cent. However, the size of the total Indian defence budget is six times bigger than the total outlay of Pakistan’s defence.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • cuban
    Apr 28, 2018 - 10:19AM

    Record levels of debt & shortage of hard currency would usually require some belt tightening/ smaller budgets. A twenty percent increase in defense spending is LARGE by any standards and likely not warranted – especially given the current state of finance. Recommend

  • vinsin
    Apr 28, 2018 - 11:39AM

    $3 Billion for Nuclear weapons not included and the money from Fauji Foundations and their industries.Recommend

  • Indian
    Apr 28, 2018 - 11:50AM

    If Pakistan will continue to spend money on defense, then there won’t be any thing left for civilian. People here I can see talking about India and it’s toilet. They should see that Indian government has focused on this issue and I can see a lot of awareness also in the common citizen. India is going to become 5 trillion economy in 7 years and then it’s defense budget would be almost $100 billion. If Pakistan would try to match this, there there won’t be left anything for infrastructure.

    Let Pakistani think about this and their future.Recommend

  • Aqeel
    Apr 28, 2018 - 12:06PM

    Increase in Defence budget will destroy the nation from within. Generals and army officers will get rich only as the external treat is just gimmick to increase the budget.

    Kashmir freedom is just an illusion that is given to the Nation. Recommend

  • Ashar Pervez
    Apr 29, 2018 - 12:59AM

    @Aqeel:
    Yeah they are all vacationing in FATA. Recommend

  • Avtar
    Apr 29, 2018 - 2:03AM

    Election budget full of goodies for the Defence. No civ govt. wants to be seen as being unpatriotic by cutting defence. There are no plans to retire the ‘circular’ debt as well as soarng deficit. What Pak needs is growth and defence spending does not do so (given the size of its military complex). Throwing money around does not improve defence. Skirmishes around the LOC is nothing new. None of its neighbours has threatened to invade or attack Pakistan. Recommend

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