Pakistan announced a massive 11 percent increase in its military budget earlier yesterday even as it continues to fight resilient insurgencies in its embattled KPK and Baluchistan provinces.
Finance minister Ishaq Dar told parliament in his annual budget address that the country would take its defence budget from 700 billion rupees (US$7 bn) to 780 billion rupees (US$7.8 bn) for the financial year 2015-16.
“Keeping in view the security situation and security forces’ needs, we have increased the defence budget from 700 billion rupees to 780 billion rupees, which is an increase of 11 per cent,” Dar told parliament.
Pakistan has been fighting a homegrown Islamist insurgency for over a decade, with heavy deployments of troops in the border area near Afghanistan.
The insurgency has killed more than 50,000 people and thousands of others have been made homeless because of ongoing military operations.
The finance minister also announced 100 billion rupees (US$1 bn) to be allocated for the rehabilitation of thousands of families who have been forced from their homes by the insurgency.
The nation’s powerful army has been adept at acquiring a major chunk of the budget practically since the country’s inception.
The government, however, also announced a 29 percent increase in the public sector development budget to 700 billion rupees for the financial year of 2015-16, compared with 542 billion rupees the year before.