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September 21, 2014

Rs15 bn given to army for Zarb-e-Azb so far

September 21, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The government has so far provided Rs15 billion to Pakistan Army for meeting budgetary requirements of ongoing Zarb-e-Azb to flush out militants from North Waziristan Agency (NWA).
However, GHQ has not demanded any fresh amount in this regard, The News has learnt.
Pakistan’s economic managers also informed the delegation of Army’s General Headquarters (GHQ) that US would reimburse its pending installment of $360 million to Pakistan on account of Coalition Support Fund (CSF) by end of the ongoing month.
“Finance Ministry has so far provided Rs33 billion for this whole operation including requirements of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the wake of this operation against Tehrike Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militants,” official sources confirmed to The News here on Saturday.
When the Advisor to Finance Ministry Rana Assad Amin was contacted he said that the government would meet all financial requirements of Pak Army to undertake the ongoing Zarb-e Azb operation. However, he declined to share any further information on this subject.
According to the sources, the military’s generals held meeting with Finance Ministry high-ups on Friday in which they presented detailed briefings on the utilisation of funds to undertake Zarb-e-Azb.
“They have not sought any fresh funds but the government will meet all financing requirements of Pak Army at all costs,” one of top official of Finance Ministry told The News.
On the reimbursement of CSF amounts, the official said that there were two installments for period from Jan-March and April-June 2014 pending with US authorities and it was expected that the installment for the period of first quarter (Jan-March) would be released by end of the ongoing month.
“We expect that US will reimburse $360 to $370 million within the ongoing month,” said the official.
The Nawaz Sharif government had allocated Rs700 billion in the budget 2014-15 against allocation of Rs627.2

billion in the last financial year 2013-14, showing an increase of Rs73 billion..
Out of that Rs700.2 billion, Rs293.5 billion have been allocated for employees related expenses, Rs180.2 billion for operating expenses and Rs152.8 billion have been earmarked for physical assets.
However, the figures do not include Rs163.4 billion allocated for pensions of the military personnel that would be given from the civilian budget and a separate allocation for the security related expenses in a move, which critics say seeks to conceal the actual defence budget.
In addition to this, military would also be given Rs165 billion under the contingent liability and Rs85 billion under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). If compared with India, Pakistan is allocating much less on defence budget than its rival India.
In last five years, the defence expenditures had almost doubled from around 350 billion in 2009-10 to Rs700 billion during the ongoing fiscal year 2014-15. But the inflationary pressures also went up with the same pace so there was no real increase in the defence budget.
Keeping in view inflationary pressures in last five to six years, Pakistan’s defence budget is hovering around 2.5 to 3 percent of GDP on per annum basis.

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