Pakistan Defense budget criticism unwarranted

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Recently, NikkeiAsia published an article on military spending by Pakistan written by Salman Rafi Sheikh who reflected wrong perspectives in his article. For every state, survival is the primary objective. Pakistan resides in a complex geo-strategic environment, surrounded by arch-rival India and unstable Afghanistan. Therefore, a strong army is sine qua non for Pakistan.

The criticism of Pakistan Defense budget increase for FY 2022-2023 is absolutely unwarranted. In fact, Pakistan’s defense spending has not increased at all. Because Pakistan defense budget stood at PKR 1.37 trillion in FY 2021-2022, totalling around 3% of GDP. However, since last year, rupee lost 24% value against the US dollar. On top, inflation went up by 14% during the same period. Defence spending needed PKR 205 billion for mere inflation adjustment but only PKR 153 billion has been increased which is 2.2% of GDP.

Pakistan spends much less on defense in comparison with other regional countries. For instance, For example, Oman spends 12% of its GDP on defence, Afghanistan 10.6%, Lebanon 10.5%, Saudi Arabia 8%, Kuwait 7%, Algeria 6.7%, Iraq 5.8%, UAE 5.6%, Azerbaijan 4%, Morocco 5.3%, Israel 5.2%, Jordan 4.9%, Qatar 4.4%, Russia 3.9% and US 3.4%. Pakistan’s defence budget on a per capita basis is one of the lowest in the world. Pakistan spends $40 on a per capita basis while Israel spends $2,200 on a per capita basis. Despite the odd, Pakistan’s defence forces are ranked as the 10th most powerful military in the world by the Global Fire Power Index. It reflects Pakistan Armed Forces resilience, professionalism and commitment to Pakistan’s security within limited means.

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