Memo forwarded to Finance Division by Defense Ministry says raises needed to cope with reduced fiscal space of soldiers
Pakistan’s armed forces are seeking a 20 percent increase in the salaries of their personnel for fiscal year 2020-21, with a Defense Ministry memorandum claiming this would cost Rs. 63.67 billion to cover all three services—the Air Force, the Army, and the Navy.
The memorandum, submitted to the Finance Division by the Defense Ministry, says that the Joint Staff Headquarters, in consultation with services headquarters, claims security personnel are feeling a salary crunch due to devaluation of the rupee and inflation in consumer goods and utility prices.
It noted that in the current financial year, 2019-20, the salary of officers up to the rank of brigadier (BPS 17-20) had increased by 5 percent. “10 percent ad hoc relief was awarded to JCOs/soldiers” of basic pay scale 1-16, it added.
However, it said, no increase was given to general officers (BPS 21-22), and the ad hoc relief granted to officers had resulted in them paying enhanced income tax from existing pay, thereby actually seeing their salary decreasing.
As these circumstances have affected the fiscal space and livelihood of armed forces personnel, says the Defense Ministry memo, an increase of pay “duly approved by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee” has been sought. It says this can be accomplished by merging ad hoc relief allowances from 2016-2019 into the basic pay designated in 2017. “Thereafter, allowing increase in pay @20% of revised pay scales in financial year 2020-21.”
Last year, the military “voluntarily agreed” to cut its expenditures due to the “critical financial situation” facing the country, and skipped a routine increase in the annual defense budget. Set to last a year, this did not include pension for retired soldiers, which is covered by the federal government at a tune of Rs. 260 billion.