Pakistan Army – Myths & Facts

The army should not indulge in politics. Definitely not. The army should not be buying off politicians. No question about it. Every citizen ofPakistan, whether an army general or a civilian minister, should be punished if found guilty by a court of law. Absolutely no debate about that one either.

Yes, the army would have to learn that a unidimensional national security strategy singularly focused on ‘defenc
e’ cannot guarantee the longevity of the Pakistani nation-state. Yes, our future really depends on three ‘Ds’, not one. And they are: defence, development and diplomacy. Let us now dissect some long-held myths:

Myth 1:Pakistan’s military eats up the largest chunk of our budget. Not true. The largest chunk goes for servicing domestic debt and the second largest chunk is eaten up by losses at public sector enterprises like the Pepco, PIA, Pakistan Steel and Pakistan Railways.The third largest chunk is routinely allocated for the Public Sector Development

Myth 2:
The military consumes a very high percentage of government expenditures. Not true. In 2012-13, ‘Defence Affairs and Services’ consumed a meagre 17 percent of all government expenditures. What that means is that a full 83 percent of all government expenditures are non-defence related.Programme. In 2012-13, the fourth largest chunk, an amount of Rs545 billion, was allocated for ‘defence affairs and services’.

Myth 3: Over time, our expenditures on the military have been on an increase. Not true. In the 90s, our defence budget used to be 3.6 percent of the GDP. Since then there has been a steady decline. In 2012-13, allocation for defence wa

s under 2.5 percent of the GDP – a 33 percent decline over a decade.

Myth 4: We spend a very high percentage of our GDP on defence. Not true. There are at least fifty countries that spend a higher percentage of their GDP on defence. They include: India, Egypt, Sri Lanka, the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, France, Eritrea, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Liberia, Brunei, Syria, Kuwait, Yemen, Angola, Singapore, Greece, Iran, Bahrain, Djibouti, Morocco, Chile, Lebanon, Russia, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Ethiopia, Namibia, Guinea, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Algeria, Serbia and Montenegro, Armenia, Botswana, Ukraine, Uganda, Ecuador, Bulgaria, Lesotho and Sudan.

Myth 5: The Pakistan Army has received billions of dollars in the form of coalition support funds. Not true. Of t

he $10 billion that theUS claims to have reimbursed to the government ofPakistan, the army has received a total of $1.8 billion (presumably the rest has gone into filling the deficit). Remember; the $1.8 billion is not additional funds for the army but mere reimbursements for expenses already incurred under the ‘war on terror’.

Myth 6: Commercial undertakings by the military are a burden on our economy. Not true. To begin with, commercial undertakings have literally nothing to do with active duty personnel – and everything to do with the welfare of retired soldiers. Defence Housing Societies are self-financing and popular both among investors and residents (because of superior management and security of title). Fauji Fertilizer, a public limited company, for instance, contributed a wholesome Rs 91 billion to the tax kitty.

And now some facts:

Fact 1: Current losses at our public sector enterprises can pay for 100 percent of our defence budget.

Fact 2:Pakistan’s armed forces are the sixth largest but our expenses per soldier are the lowest.America spends nearly $400,000 per soldier,India $25,000 andPakistan $10,000.

Fact 3:Pakistan’s armed forces undertook successful operations like Operation Rah-e-Haq (Swat), Operation Sherdil (Bajaur), Operation Zalzala (Spinkai) and Operation Rah-e-Nijat (SWA) without any significant additional financial allocation.

Fact 4: Of all the armies in the world, Pak Army is the largest contributor of troops to the UN peacekeeping missions. Of all the armies in the world, Pak Army has received the highest number of UN medals. (By Dr Farrukh Saleem)

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