(June 12, 2019)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday lauded the decision of Army to freeze its budget which is an expression of patriotism and sharing the burden with the government. The move of the COAS Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa is highly laudable but unsuitable in the current situation as internal and external threats to the country have increased many fold, he said.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that extremists have been elected in India, tensions between the US and Iran continues, the role of Afghanistan is obvious while the situation in Waziristan has taken an ugly turn which calls for enhanced resources allocation for the defence of the homeland.
The former minister noted that Pakistan is spending just 13513 dollars annually on a soldier which is less than one-third of what India spends on its soldier while our Army is successfully fighting a multi-dimensional war with many countries and terrorists at home.
Moreover, he said, the military budget caters for salaries of seven lakh soldiers, running best intelligence agency, the world’s fifth largest nuclear and missile programmed and research and development. Defence forces also spend part of their budget during floods, earthquakes, rescue operations and polio programmed etc., he added.
He said that the dysfunctional state institutions and tax relaxations to certain sectors cost almost double than the defence budget without contributing anything. Tax breaks and keeping the mismanaged and failed institutions alive can never be as important as the defence of Pakistan therefore their budget should be slashed and the amount should be allocated for defence sector.
He said that some politicians have also followed footsteps of Army by ten percent reduction in perks which is insufficient. Politicians should not get hefty subsidies and they should not be authorized to increase their perks, privileges by themselves.