The Pakistan Muslim League led Federal government on Friday, presented its third budget for the fiscal year 2015-2016, with a total outlay of Rs 4,313 billion. The Federal Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, presenting on the floor of the National Assembly, briefed the cabinet about the salient features of the budget and said measures have been proposed which may enhance exports, industrial growth, and employment, the budget being 9.1 percent higher than the one in 2014-2015.

What is probably not that surprising is the increase in defence spending of the country, where the government has increased it for the next financial year by 11.6 percent, to Rs781 billion. According to Dar, while the overall current expenditure of the government had declined nominally by 0.7 percent, the defence expenditure was being increased in view of the security situation and requirements of the armed forces. Looking at this current situation, one that has Pakistan stuck in layers of threat and internal chaos, is it justified and necessary for the armed forces to acquire the highest proportion of the national budget?

Of the Rs781billion earmarked for the armed forces, Rs326 billion would be spent on expenses related to employees, that include pay and allowances of uniformed troops and civilian employees, paid out of the defence budget. Moreover, transport, ration, medical treatment and training of the armed forces are expected to consume another Rs200 billion, with civil works that account for maintenance of infrastructure and construction of new buildings getting Rs87 billion. All these expenses, ones that make sure that these forces have nothing less of what the country can provide; in comparison is it really fair on other sectors of Pakistan, those that have only seen a decline in money and progress over the past years. Despite our Finance Minister praising the policies of this current government for stabilising the economy and giving rise to social development, it does not take any intricate analysis to see that the country has done nothing to reduce the gaping hole that we are currently standing on. Because of this lopsided allocation of budget for the next year, the already crumbling national economy will fall further under pressure, while the federal education budget has once again seen a 11 percent decrease. Yes, the security of our nation is at the top of the priority list, however, if we keep on ignoring the blatant improvement that is necessary for other aspects of the country, one that probably requires not even half of the money that has been granted to our defence, we will lose all hope of ever developing in a country that will cater to the future generations.