Assumptions and Realties about the Pakistan military

The purpose of writing this article is to critique so-called intellectuals and liberals who keep making superfluous claims about Pakistan’s military budget, the military’s role in foreign policy, and the welfare schemes run by it.

One of the arguments made about the defense budget is that a lion’s share of it is spent on the Pakistan military. In reality, despite having the sixth-largest military in the world, its per-person expenses are among the lowest. India’s defense budget is $20 billion, but no questions are raised about it in India. Pakistan’s total defense budget is $7 billion. According to financial expert, Farrukh Saleem, Pakistan’s per person expenses are the lowest in the world: $22 per person. In Israel, it is $2000 per person. Some amount of the defense budget goes into welfare schemes, like hospitals, schools, etc.

The second assumption is that the foreign policy of Pakistan is decided by the Pakistan military. The military is an important part of the state and is under the civilian government. One of the important components of Pakistan’s foreign policy is to the ensure security of the country. That is why India and Afghanistan are of critical significance in Pakistan’s foreign policy. The military has never tried to influence foreign policy even during military rule. It was always controlled by the bureaucracy. But given the threats to Pakistan, the involvement of the Pakistan military remains unavoidable.

Another assumption is that the military is running big business projects that have no accountability. Ayesha Siddiqa has tried to show in her book, “Military Inc”, that the Pakistan military is more concerned about its business than the country’s defense. The only purpose of her writing this book was to defame the Pakistani military. It has nothing to offer apart from lies. Yet another assumption about Pakistan’s military is that military generals have been occupying top positions in the country. This has also been written by Ayesha Siddiqa. The military generals appointed for some civilian posts have performed extraordinarily.

Stephen Cohen had said that the military of most of the countries defends their borders; some of them safeguard the reputation and image of their respective countries; some others defend an ideology. The Pakistani military does all of the three above. The people of Pakistan should not engage in any such act that might cast a slur on the image of the Pakistan military.

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