Military budget: an argument
EVERY other day we come across various articles that revolve around the poor allocation of funds and corruption by both civil and military governments.
According to a report (Nov 11), “the utilisation ratio was generally similar both in military and civilian governments.
Interestingly, the finance ministry provided details of Rs172 billion allocated to the provinces during 2010-11 along with releases but reported zero utilisation in all the four quarters.”A poor distribution of funds has always remained a widely discussed issue mainly due to corruption and primarily because of the incompetence and incapability of our leaders. No one knows where those funds are spent and who is responsible for the poor state of society despite constant showers of foreign aid.
This poor distribution of funds is usually justified by stating no availability of funds as a larger part is given out to the health sector and the remaining fund is snatched away by the army, leaving no funds for developmental projects. This debate of unfair distribution of funds usually ends up holding the army responsible for getting the lion’s share of the whole budget, i.e., 80 per cent, a statement that all of us come across every now and then. Now how true is that?
On research, the reality was revealed to me. Out of the total budget, the army gets the 15.9 per cent and this is also not singularly for the army but is divided between the navy, the air force and the army.
So, if it gets 50 per cent of the total share, it ends up with eight per cent of the total budget. This eight per cent is also used in various relief activities and projects initiated by the Pakistan army.
In order to counter the Indian aggression and their latest weapons (which are Pakistan-specific), the Pakistan army has to maintain some sort of balance as a preventive measure against possible aggression and adventurism.
The same argument is used to justify the purchase of some of the most expensive war toys such as F-16s or the P-3C Orion planes that were blown up by a handful of terrorists at the PNS Mehran base in Karachi.
To top it all, keeping in mind the ongoing war against militancy, is it actually possible? Why are we forced to live in the world of deception? Why and on what purpose this mere sum of eight per cent is changed into mighty 80 per cent? Is it to give the institution a bad name or is it to ease the guilt of our incompetent political leaders?
These are questions that linger around us and no one can find answers to them unless we open our eyes and start reacting instead of preempting.