Budget increase of 11 percent equals Rs. 860 billion earmarked for armed forces in 2016-17.
Pakistan on Friday announced it would once again increase its annual military budget by 11 percent, even as security improves in the country after over a decade of Islamist and separatist insurgencies.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar informed Parliament in his annual budget address that the country would provide Rs. 860 billion to the armed forces during the 2016-17 financial year. “The defense budget has been increased to Rs. 860 billion, which is 11 percent more than the last year,” Dar told Parliament about the Rs. 4.42 trillion budget.
Pakistan also increased its defense budget by 11 percent in 2015-16.
The country has been fighting a homegrown Islamist insurgency for over a decade, with heavy deployments of troops in the border area near Afghanistan where militants have previously operated with impunity.
However, security was significantly improved in 2015, which saw the least number of attacks since the Pakistani Taliban were formed in 2007.
The government will also maintain a Rs. 100 billion grant for the rehabilitation of thousands of families who have been forced from their homes by the insurgency and military operations to uproot the militants from the country’s northwest.
Pakistan estimates it has lost more than 50,000 people and billions of dollars in revenue due to the ongoing war against extremism, while thousands of its families have been rendered homeless. The Army routinely receives a major portion of the national budget to counter rival India, with whom it has fought three wars, and for the fight against militancy.
In addition to defense, the federal government has earmarked Rs. 800 billion for development projects, Rs. 108.9 billion for the education sector.