THERE is a dire need for busting this myth that the Pakistan Army gets a huge chunk of the budget every year.
There is no reality in it at all. This year too, a propaganda campaign was launched just ahead of the budget that the army has sought an increase in its share but it is all fake.
Troops and officers of the Pakistan Army have always donated their salaries whenever there is a hard time in this country.
Whenever there is an economic crunch prevailing in the country, Pakistan Army has always tried to bail out their homeland as they have vowed to safeguard it.
Just recently, the terror incidents in Pakistan have increased while there is also volatility in neighbouring Afghanistan.
We share a 2700-kilometres-long border with Afghanistan that requires a hefty amount to safeguard due to the situation of the region.
The anti-Pakistan rhetoric and hatred of the BJP-led Indian government are also challenging.
Therefore, we need a strong army to respond to Modi. We need to do a comparative study of our defence budget keeping in view the situation of the region and degree of the threat.
It always remained a challenge for us that India spends a huge amount on its defence budget and we have to respond to it befittingly with limited resources.
Despite all these realities, the Pakistan Army is criticized even in its own country for raising the defence budget.
It is a matter of fact that Pakistan Army didn’t increase its budget during the last two years.
The defence budget of India is $70 billion while the defence budget of Pakistan is just $11 billion.
The defence budget is just two per cent of our GDP despite the fact that Pakistan is facing severe security challenges.
India spends more than four times on its one soldier in comparison with Pakistan. We spend $13400 annually on one Pakistani soldier while India spends $42000 on its one soldier.
Similarly, America spends $392,000 on its one soldier while Iran spends $23000 and Saudi Arabia is spending $371,000 annually.
India is the third largest country in terms of spending on the defence budget annually. India’s defence budget is seven times larger than Pakistan’s.
From 2016 to 2020, India remained the second largest arms importer country. India spends $19 billion annually to buy modern arms which is two times the budget of Pakistan.
We draw here a comparison of defence budgets of different countries.The defence budget of Saudi Arabia is $55.6 billion, China’s $293 billion, Iran’s $24.6 billion, UAE’s $ 22.5 billion and Turkey’s defence budget is $20.7 billion.
The defence budget of Pakistan was just 16 per cent of the total budget in the year 2021-22.
Only seven per cent of this allocation is meant for the army while the remaining goes for the Navy and Air Force.
The defence budget of Pakistan was practically decreased due to the prevailing inflation in the country.
The inflation was in double-digit this year and technically it decreased the defence budget. In this just two per cent of GDP, the defence forces of Pakistan made our defence invincible with their bravery and commitment to the motherland.
In this same allocation, the Pakistan Army performed its duty during the COVID-19 in a magnificent way.
In this same allocation too, the Pakistan Army established a fence at the Afghan border to keep this homeland safe.
It was truly a gigantic task but the troops of the army made it possible in an efficient way with very limited resources.
The border fencing with Afghanistan has been a long issue but it is resolved now due to the tireless efforts of our army.
There was no increase seen in the salaries of the army during 2019-20 and 2020-21 due to the poor economic condition of the country.
During the ongoing fiscal year, the Pakistani rupee was devalued by 25 per cent but the army managed to fulfil our defence needs with these limited resources.
There has been no Coalition Support Fund since 2018 but all the security needs of the country are being met while using the existing resources.
There was no compromise made on Operation Rad-ul-Fasad even during this hard time.
It is also a matter of fact that the Pakistan Army and its welfare institutions deposited 935 billion rupees as taxes and duties in the national exchequer.
During this hard time, Pakistan Army is also establishing heat-stroke centres in different parts of the country to give relief to the people in this heat wave.
Similarly, whenever there is any natural calamity in the country, the troops of the Pakistan Army are always ready to help their people.
So, it is our national duty not to raise questions over the internal affairs of the army because they are fighting for us in the limited resources hundreds of miles away from the comfort of their homes.
The Pakistan Army has taken the oath to defend this country and they will keep fulfilling their promise made to this nation.
—The writer is an old Aitchisonian who believes in freedom of expression, a freelance columnist, entrepreneur and social activist.