Pakistan Army Chief breaks silence over defence budget cut

Pakistan Army Chief breaks silence over defence budget cut

RAWALPINDI - Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that the military’s decision to forgo an annual increase in defence budget is “not a favour to the nation.”

“Irrespective of the voluntary cut in defence budget in upcoming financial year, there shall be no impact on our response potential to all types of threat and the quality of life of the soldiers,” ISPR quoted him as saying while addressing the troops at Line of Control after offering Eidul Fitr prayers.

The Army Chief exchanged Eid greetings with the soldiers and later interacted with them. Special prayers were offered for peace, progress and prosperity of the country on the occasion. The Army Chief said the best Eid for a soldier is to take pride in defending the motherland even on such festive days away from his family. “Remember, for us, the defenders of Pakistan, our first family is the Pakistani nation, then the ones back home,” he said while addressing the servicemen.

Talking about the military’s decision to forgo a routine increase in military budget, he said “This initiative is not a favour to the nation as we are one, through thick and thin.”

Gen Bajwa said “The no-pay-raise decision is also only for the officers and not for the soldiers. We shall manage the shortfall during the fiscal year by tightening our belt in areas where it doesn’t affect the two aforesaid aspect.”

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had welcomed the military’s voluntary cuts, especially in light of the country’s financial situation. His cash-strapped government has negotiated a $6 billion bailout package from the International Monetary Fund to overcome the financial woes facing the country.

Khan said he was grateful for the move that came “despite multiple security challenges” that Pakistan faces. He added that the funds saved will be used for the development of the newly-merged tribal areas as well as in Balochistan.