Recently an article published by a famous publisher that vent viral, claiming that Pakistan’s national defense budget was hiked by 6% when in reality there was no such hike and the article misworded supplementary grants to multiple state institutions which was set last year in 2021 as budget increase. Regardless the perception was that defense budget was increased and the timing made the news highly venerable to being politicized due to the recent economic challenges being faced by Pakistan, the realities however are very far from the perception built. The reality is that Pakistan’s defense budget has not only not been increased but has in fact decreased in value due to high inflation over last few years. Pakistan uses much lower state resources on defense than many other militarily capable nations, spending $13,400 per soldier whereas nations such as US, India, Iran spending $392,000, $42,000, $23,000 respectively. The overall military spending of Pakistan ($11.4 billion) amounts to around 2.2% of national GDP which takes around 17.4% of federal budget. Furthermore, what many don’t realize is that the defense budget over last year has been actually suffered a negative drop due to high inflation of 13.8%, due to this inflation the defense budget allocated in PKR has lost value in international exchange rate resulting in less resources available for purchasing new equipment and spare parts. Up till now the budget has not been increased keeping in mind the economic issues of the state despite the growing need. The need to stabilize effects of inflation, the need to counter growing threats caused by close adversaries, the need to maintain internal security and the need for increment within the military personnel pay.
Negative drop due to Inflation
As a result of high inflation 13.8%, Pakistan’s defense budget has seen a negative drop (Lost value internationally) and been losing available resources to source much needed weapons, equipment, and spare parts from abroad, furthermore the lack of diversity within local defense industry meant that there were no other alternatives. Put these two together and its clear to see that Pakistan recently does not have the same value in its budget as before due to inflation and hence was unable to meet its operational and spare part requirements, additionally procurement of newer systems had become limited.
Defense budgets growth of adversaries
During the same year of 2022 India had increased its military budget by nearly 10% (Total budget$70.6 billion now). Israel had also kept a steady growth in military spending every year by 3-4%, meanwhile many countries all over the world have started increasing their defense spending after realizing the importance of self-dependence within national security issues as they witnessed the Russian attack upon Ukraine. We live in a dynamic world where anything can happen without warning and there is a real need to remain prepared. After all, if Russia was bold enough to attack a neighboring country it viewed as small why can’t India whom holds the same line of thinking. Despite all this happening Pakistan has not increased its spending and continues to defend both the eastern front (India) and the western front with limited funding.
Maintaining internal Security with current budget
The military institution of Pakistan not only counters external threats but its duties include matters of internal security. For example, the complex security situation in Waziristan (Counter terrorism), border fortification is still ongoing, military providing assistance during natural disasters (Flood relief / firefighting). All these activities demand finances which has to be taken out of already limited defense budget.