Pakistan Proposes 16% Defence Budget Hike Amid Continuing Security Concerns

Defence Budget pakistan increases

On Friday, the federal government of Pakistan proposed an approximate 16% increase in the defence budget, in response to ongoing internal and external security challenges the nation is grappling with. 

According to the budget proposal for the fiscal year 2023-24, the defense allocation will be Rs1,804 billion. This represents a significant rise from the revised Rs1,591 billion expenditure set for the previous fiscal year. 

Analysts argue that a 15.7% hike is warranted due to unprecedented inflation and a depreciating rupee against the dollar over the past year. 

Scrutinizing the budget specifications indicates that the quoted figure of Rs1,804 billion does not encompass Rs563 billion for retired military personnel pensions, Rs280 billion towards the armed forces development program and other crucial expenditures, and Rs58 billion for UN peacekeeping missions. 

The 2023-24 budget document details a distribution of Rs1,804 billion, with Rs705 billion for employee-related expenses, Rs442 billion for operating costs, Rs461 billion for local purchases and arms and ammunition imports, and Rs195 billion for civil works. 

Remarkably, all three branches of the military — the army, navy, and air force — were granted an equal budget increase, though the army, owing to its size and role, receives the lion’s share. 

Currently, Pakistan’s defence spending represents 1.7% of its GDP, a drop compared to the previous year when it was around 2%. This is attributable to the expansion of the economy due to its rebasing. 

Read More: Contentious Finance Bill 2023-24 Sparks Debate in the Senate

For comparison, Pakistan allocates $13,400 per soldier annually. In contrast, India assigns $42,000, Saudi Arabia $371,000, Iran $23,000, while the United States appropriates $392,000. However, the economic scale of these countries far surpasses that of Pakistan, accounting for the difference. 

The defence budget has always been a topic of discussion in Pakistan, with many advocating for increased transparency and open parliamentary debates about military expenditures. 

In recent years, the government has become more transparent about the defence budget. However, a fully open parliamentary debate has yet to transpire. Analysts maintain that the budget increase is justifiable given the looming external and internal security threats. 

Even with the US troop withdrawal from neighboring Afghanistan, Pakistan continues to maintain thousands of soldiers along its western border and former tribal areas, combating the persistent menace of terrorism. 

In addition, despite a recent ceasefire bringing temporary relief, tensions between Pakistan and India remain high, thereby contributing to the country’s ongoing security challenges. 

Most Popular

To Top