Pakistan military voluntarily cuts budget, praised by PM Imran Khan
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In a somewhat unprecedented move, Pakistan’s military will voluntarily cut the defense budget for the coming fiscal year as the cash-strapped Pakistan government launches a wide-ranging austerity program.
The move comes as tensions remain high between Pakistan and its neighbor India, but the Pakistan Armed Forces chief spokesperson, Major General Asif Ghafoor, assured people that the cuts will not come at the expense of security and defense and that the military would maintain “an effective response potential to all threats.”
Voluntary cut in def budget for a year will not be at the cost of def & security. We shall maint effective response potential to all threats.Three services will manage impact of the cut through appropriate internal measures. It was imp to participate in dev of tribal areas & Bln.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) June 4, 2019
Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his gratitude that the military made such a gesture despite “multiple security challenges.” For his part, Khan has also made cuts, reportedly moving into a small three-bedroom house belonging to his military secretary since taking office last year.
I appreciate Pak Mil’s unprecedented voluntary initiative of stringent cuts in their defence expenditures for next FY bec of our critical financial situation, despite multiple security challenges. My govt will spend this money saved on dev of merged tribal areas & Balochistan.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) June 4, 2019
Pakistan was the world’s 20th biggest military spender in 2018. It invested US$11.4 billion on its military, its highest level since 2004 and four percent of the country’s GDP.
“Not a small step at all, only a strong Civil-Mily Coordination can rescue Pakistan from the deep problems of Governance and economy… shows a complete trust on the leadership of PM by an important institution,” Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry said.
The funds will be re-allocated to develop newly-merged tribal areas and develop the region of Balochistan. All military and civilian institutions will be expected to contribute to the austerity budget which will be presented on June 11.
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