In throes of worsening economic catastrophe, Pakistan’ military has decided to slash the defense budget in a bid to help the country emerge out of its financial woes. However, Major General Asif Ghafoor, Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) took to Twitter on Tuesday to suggest that voluntary cuts in the defense budget for next fiscal year would not be at the cost of defense and security.
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
Ghafoor termed Indian media ‘fake’ for spinning reports on their internal budgeting choices.
Indian fake media busy spinning on our internal def budgeting choice.Don’t forget,we were the same forces with same budget on 27 Feb 19. We hv the capability & capacity to respond. Remember, it’s not budgeting, it’s resolve of force & the nation firmly standing behind its forces.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) June 5, 2019
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan appreciated the gesture by Pakistan military of accepting the voluntary cut in the defense budget in the backdrop of a grave financial abyss the country finds itself staring at.
The cash-strapped nation is currently grappling with the worst financial crisis in its history. The recently published World Bank report, which had retained its projection of India’s growth at 7.5% per annum for the next three fiscal years had predicted the growth of South Asia countries except for Pakistan, whose growth it is set to drop at 2.7% in the FY19-20.
Such is the gravity of the economic crisis in Pakistan that on the occasion of Eid, PM appealed to the people of Pakistan to stand united and help overcome the dire economic situation.
Eid Mubarak to my Pakistanis. Wishing you all a Happy Eid. Let us all resolve to to stand up as a united nation to overcome our economic crisis while putting the least amount of burden on the poorer section of our society.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) June 5, 2019
Since the time of his election as Pakistan Prime Minister, Khan has been negotiating with world leaders to winkle out bail packages and temporarily assuage the looming economic disaster without much help. A conducive environment for terrorism to spawn and flourish has also added to the woes of Pakistan as investors have remained away from the terror-prone country.
Pakistan is in desperate straits as economists’ predict its economy is on the brink of collapse. The former finance minister of Pakistan, Asad Umar believes that the only solution to Pakistan’s problems is a bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He opines the balance of payment crisis presently faced by Pakistan is unprecedented and approaching IMF for a bailout is unavoidable. However, he did acknowledge that the conditions laid down by the Fund were far more strict compared to the previous occasions.
To deal with the current situation, Islamabad is finalizing a bailout package from the IMF to ward off the Balance of Payment crisis, notwithstanding short term loans of more than a billion from allies such as China and Saudi Arabia. The precarious situation that Pakistan finds itself in dictates the military’s move of cuts in the defense budget for the next fiscal year rather than the lofty ideals of inclusiveness and tribal development as stated by Ghafoor.
We had reported earlier that China is making efforts to help its friend and neighbour Pakistan and has decided to give USD 2.1 billion in loan to help Pakistan revive its sinking economy.