Govt reserves Rs 110bn for defence initiatives -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Govt reserves Rs 110bn for defence initiatives

* Rs 60bn set aside for purchasing submarines, weapons and aircraft
* Rs 40bn allocated for ‘Al-Mizan’ offensive in S Waziristan

By Sajid Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has allocated Rs 110 billion, out of budget estimates, for the upcoming fiscal year 2010-11, for the Armed Forces Development Plan (AFDP), the ongoing military operation “Al-Mizan” and one other key initiative related to defence, high-placed official sources informed Daily Times on Sunday.

The aim of the initiatives is to enable the armed forces to acquire state-of-the-art fighter and surveillance aircrafts, submarines and other weaponry and technology to ensure Pakistan can effectively combat all external sources and succeed in the war against terrorism, the sources said.

The allocation of Rs 110 billion is separate from the Rs 442.173 billion defence budget approved in the federal budget for fiscal year 2010-11, they added.

Budget cut: Giving a breakdown of the allocated resources, the sources stated that Rs 60 billion have been reserved for the AFDP, which is aimed at equipping the armed forces with the latest technology, aircrafts, submarines and weapons. Islamabad has been reserving funds for the AFDP for the last few years and the annual allocation on average has been approximately Rs 100 billion. However, for the upcoming fiscal year, the AFDP allocation would see a Rs 40 billion cut. The AFDP was initiated by former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf during his early years in office, and is expected to continue until 2025, the sources added.

Islamabad has set aside Rs 40 billion for the ongoing “Al-Mizan” offensive launched against militants in South Waziristan. However, if Pakistan caves in to US pressure to also launch an operation against militants in North Waziristan, the allocated funds would be insufficient for the new assignment, the sources said.

The remaining Rs 10 billion would be spent on another ‘key’ defence initiative in fiscal year 2010-11, they added, without giving any further details.

The sources said that the government had reserved Rs 105 billion for the same three initiatives in fiscal year 2009-10. However, due to the continuously increasing security-related expenditures, new estimates suggest that these expenditures would reach Rs 190 billion until June 30, they added.
Source: Daily Times