by; Ch. Muhammad Natiq
Theme. Despite meagre resources and huge security challenges, Pakistan Army through professional astuteness has maint high state of operational readiness. In addition, Army continues to maintain its rich tradition of making monumental sacrifices and contributions towards nation building and assisting the government in almost all aspects of National Security paradigm. Pakistan Army has also voluminous contributions towards security, peace and stability in the region and the world. A stock of last 5 years of the institutional contributions is indeed a testimony of visionary approach, astute professionalism and selfless devotion for the nation and its people.
· Army support economy to Pakistan
· Pak Army role in disaster relief and management
1- Despite facing unprecedented challenges both on the western and eastern fronts as well as hybrid warfare challenges, Pakistan Army did not demand increase in its defence budget to support the country’s economy.
2- 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.
3- In Budget 2021-22, ‘Defence Services’ was allocated Rs 1,370 billion out of total budgetary resources of Rs 8,487 billion which is a mere 16 percent of the total budgetary resources.
4- Out of this 16 percent allocation, Pakistan Army gets Rs 594 billion. In effect, Pakistan Army gets a paltry 7 percent of the total budgetary resources. Pakistan Army in the year 2019, had also relinquished Rs 100 billion of its budgetary allocation to support economy of the country.
5- The recent report of SIPRI places Pakistan at 23rd in the list of world’s top 40 countries with the highest military expenditure, one position below as compared to 2020, which shows Pakistan Army’s commitment to assist government by spending less on the military expenditure.
6- According to SIPRI Military Expenditure Database and The Military Balance from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the countries that spend more on defence in comparison to Pakistan (2.54 GDP) include Oman (12 percent of GDP) Lebanon (10.5 percent), Saudi Arabia (8 percent), Kuwait (7.1 percent), Algeria (6.7 percent), Iraq (5.8 percent), UAE (5.6 percent), Azerbaijan (4 percent), Turkey (2.77 percent), Morocco (5.3 percent), Israel (5.2 percent), Jordan (4.9 percent), Armenia (4.8 percent), Mali (4.5 percent), Qatar 4.4 percent, Russia 3.9 percent, US 3.4 percent and India (3.1 percent).
7- This difference becomes even more pronounced while considering the actual allocation of funds. In comparison to Pakistan’s 8.8 billion USD defence budget India spends 76 billion USD, Turkey spends 22.1 billion USD, South Korea spends 46.32 billion USD, Japan spends 47.2 billion USD, Saudi Arabia spends 46.32 billion USD, Iran spends 15.34 billion USD on its defence. Whereas in Europe UK, France and Germany spend $68.4 billion, $56.6 billion, and $56 bn respectively. China spends 230 billion USD and US leads the stats by spending $801 billion on defence budget.
8- According to SIPRI, India’s military spending of $76.6 billion is ranked third highest in the world. This was raised by 0.9 per cent from 2020 and by 33 per cent from 2012. The Indian defence budget is 9 times that of Pakistan’s Defence budget.
9- Pakistan has the 7th largest military in the world, its expenses are one of the lowest. US spends $392000 per soldier, Saudi Arabia spends $371000, India spends $42000, Iran spends $23000, while Pakistan spends $12500 per soldier per year.
10- Despite having lower defence budget in comparison to contemporary armies of the world, Pakistan Armed forces has not allowed any compromise on its professional standards, it is ranked as the 9th most powerful military in the world.
11- Pakistan Army has also contributed PKR 28 Billion in FY-2020/21 as direct taxes to the government exchequer (on acct of pay & allowances, rat / POL procurements, customs, etc)
12- Fauji Foundation and Army Welfare Trust are not business ventures rather as per their charter they are welfare organizations incorporated under the Charitable Endowments Act 1890. More than 73% of their income is spent on wards of shuhada, war wounded and disabled soldiers and retired military personnel.
13- 17% of Fauji Foundation and Army Welfare Trust employees are wards of shuhada, WWP and retired military personnel; while these organizations also provide jobs to a large number of civilians which account for 83% of the total.
14- Fauji Group is one of highest taxpayer as Rs 150 billion paid to national exchequer in form of taxes, duties and levies in FY 2020/21, whereas over the last five years FF has paid Rs 1 Trillion to the government as taxes and levies.
15- The overall employees ratio in Fauji Foundation is 3989 Ex services personnel and 22,652 civilians which makes 79% of civilian employees.
16- Special Communication Organisation (SCO) has generated 4612 jobs in communication sector. The organisation has laid 6789 kms of Optical Fiber Cable in AJ&K and GB, which has enabled state of the art digital communication services in one of the most rugged terrains in the world.
17- NLC is the strategic need of the motherland for managing reserve transportation for the AFs during war. It employs over 6500 civilians with employment ratio of 78 % civilian employees. NLC has paid Rs 6 Billion in taxes in last 5 years.
18- Karkey Karadeniz Electrik Uterim dispute settlement is one of the examples of Pakistan Army efforts for the economic welfare of State of Pakistan.
19- On August 14, 2020, the President of Pakistan conferred civil award of Sitara-e-Imtiaz to three officers of ISI, who played a pivotal role in successful settlement of the Karkey dispute.
20- Substantial Terror Financing (TF), investigations & prosecutions against all EOCs (Entities of Concern).
21- Pursuant to national risk assessment, Pakistan has also, streamlined its Non-profit organisations section which after a deliberate survey on basis of Terror Financing red flag indicators now stands over 15,000 against 65,000 in 2018.
22- SBP & SECP developed risk based supervisory policies in line with transnational Terror Financing risk profile & initiated multiple capacity building sessions for employees to improve supervisors’ understanding of TF risks.
Role in Disaster Relief and Management
23-Pakistan Army has always remained at the forefront during natural calamities like floods, earthquakes, droughts, pandemics, etc.
24- Pak Army is supporting Natl Anti-Polio Efforts since 2014. Approximately 16000 x Army / FC / Rangers troops are deployed during each campaign. Owing to consistent efforts of all stakeholders, Pakistan is aiming to achieve its Natl Objectives of eliminating polio virus by Dec 2023.
25- Since the virus situation escalated swiftly in March 2020, NCOC was established the same month to leverage the combined resources of the civil and military apparatus and Pakistan Army fought on frontline in COVID Pandemic under the able command of COAS.
26- COVID-19 exposed the terrible state of the health sector but NCOC managed to prop up systems on a war-footing to cope with the emergency. The local army corps joined with provincial administrations to implement the COVID-19 policies as well as to enforce lockdowns, etc.
27- Under the directions of COAS, COVID testing labs were established at major military hospitals across the country, with a central facility set up in Rawalpindi.
28- Pakistan Army stepped in for the support of Police and LEAs in the implementation of the COVID SOPs laid down by the NCOC and Ministry of Interior.
29- Thousands of army troops were deployed across the country to check on medical facilities and other arrangements and compensated for the manpower shortages among the civil administration wherever needed.
30- Army’s supportive role in national response against Covid-19 pandemic through National Command and Operational Center (NCOC) signifies its institutional strength and capacity.
Countering the Locust threat
31- Apart from Covid-19, Pakistan Army was also actively engaged in country’s fight against Locusts, through establishment of National Locust Control Center (NLCC). The role of NDMA, headed by a Lieutenant General, in tackling the catastrophic fallout of natural calamities is commendable.
32- Nearly 10,000 army troops were deployed in the field to conduct surveys and execute sprayings on the ground through tractor and car-mounted machines.
33- The locust threat exposed the terrible state of government’s preparedness to manage threats to food security. The Plant Protection Department till the 1990s used to have 20-22 aircraft available for spraying fields. Today, they have three. Army aviation stepped in with one plane and four helicopters that were being used for spraying against locusts
34- In year 2017, 188 troops, 21 dewatering pumps and 30 boats were utilized in urban flood relief and rescue operations in Karachi.
35- In year 2018, 200 troops, 26 dewatering pumps and 19 boats were utilized to carryout urban flood relief and rescue operations in Lahore.
36- Similarly, in 2020, over 4,000 persons, 100 dewatering pumps, 105 boats and aviation assets were used to rescue 10,000 individuals from Flooding in Karachi, Hyderabad, Interior Sindh, Punjab and KP. In doing so 50 shelters were established and over 75 Medical Camps were also established.
Pine Forest Fire, Shergali, District Sherani
37- In order to put out a massive blaze in Pine forest in district Sherani, An FC Wing and 2 Army helicopters alongwith local administration and Levies were employed in firefighting and relief efforts.
38- Army Aviation helicopter was used to drop water and other was used to drop fire ball and fire extinguishing chemicals on the fire.
39- A total of 400 fire balls, 200 fire suits, blankets, tents, mats and fire extinguishing equipment were provided by NDMA through FC Balochistan. Army also transported relief equipment from Lahore to Zhob.
Relief Efforts Pir Koh, Dera Bugti Cholera Outbreak
40- In order to emancipate people in the disease stricken area 54 villages in Pir Koh area were provided with clean drinking water (approx 350000 liters) on daily basis.
41- Make shift hospitals were made in the area to test (approx 2000 individuals per day) and treat the patients of Cholera, Diarrhoea and Malaria.
Heat Stroke Centers
To deal with the ongoing heat wave in the country, Pakistan Army on the orders of COAS, setup 21 heatstroke relief centers in Sindh including remote desert areas. In addition to this 37 heatstroke centers have also been set up in Punjab.