by: Ch. Muhammad Natiq
To highlight the efforts of the Pak Army in support of the economy, security of CPEC projects, support for foreign relations, and the Karachi transformation plan.
Support for the Economy of Pakistan
Over the past fifty years, Pakistan’s Defence budget as a percentage of GDP has gone down, drastically, from 6.50 percent of GDP in the 1970s to 2.54 percent in 2021. Although Pakistan has the 7th largest military in the world, its expenses are one of the lowest. The US spends $392000 per soldier, Saudi Arabia spends $371000, India spends $42000, Iran spends $23000, and Pakistan spends $12500 per soldier per year. Tax Contributions & Employment Opportunities by Army’s Welfare Organisations.
Overall Army welfare organizations contributed around Rs 156 Bn as taxes/annum which is equivalent to approx. 26 % of the Army’s budget.
Security to CPEC Projects
Pakistan’s relations with China have deepened over the years with projects such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The main role in these strong ties has been played by Pakistan Army. keeping in view the requirements and concerted efforts of all stakeholders, 17 x projects completed in the last 5 years, while 18 x projects are in progress; significant projects include the establishment of 4 x SEZs, socio-economic development of Gawadar, the addition of over 5000 MW in the power sector and construction of over 1500 Km road NW.
Support to Foreign Relations / International Community Foreign Military Cooperation includes the following: –
Operationalization of China Pakistan Joint Committee of Corporatimilitary-to-military to a military corporation with China and established 2+2 Forum in 2018. Revival of Counter Terrorism forum and International Military Education and Training IMET with the US.
Kartarpur Corridor & Prom of Religious Tourism
The FWO developed the Kartarpur Corridor, connecting the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan to Gurudwara Dera Baba Nanak in India and remained the main organization for the construction of the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.
Support to Govt to secure Financial assistance and rollover loans from Saudi Arabia and China.
The Military by virtue of its credibility and Military Diplomacy has been able to facilitate the Governments of the time in securing much-needed financial assistance from Saudi Arabia and China.
Karachi Transformation Plan
Karachi Transformation Plan (KTP), worth Rs. 1.1 trillion, was launched in September 2020 with Army’s support to civil administration. Moreover, Army’s assistance to the civil administration, including FWO, NLC, and NDMA led to improvement in existing infrastructure to safeguard against urban flooding in Karachi and uplift relevant civic facilities. Revamping and remodelling of Mahmoodabad Nullah (by FWO) has been completed, whereas work on Gujar Nullah (by FWO) & Orange Nullah (by NLC) is in process.
Law and Order Restoration in Karachi
Due to the services and sacrifices of the Army and Rangers Sindh, law and order in Karachihaves have been maintained resulting in a significant decline in terrorism and crime rate over the years and providing a secure environment for socio-economic development.