The budget season is in the offing. Let the opposition come up with an alternative budget. A sectoral diagram (in percent) of such a budget will expose mumbo jumbo of opposition leaders’ everyday harangues. It will expose dark recesses of their minds. The common man will wait with wistful eyes what they provide for by way of basic rights (education, healthcare and shelter) in an alternative budget. Parties without alternative budgets are minds without ideas.

Historically, a common feature of all strong states had been that they had strong military and civil institutions, de jure capability to defend their territory and policies that favoured the citizenry rather than dominant classes (mafias) like feudal lords and industrial robber barons.

Let us see how our vociferous opposition strikes a balance between constraints of security and welfare. A bitter lesson of history is that only such states survive as are able to strike a balance between security and welfare. In case, our lawmakers feel handicapped in understanding intricacies of defence budgeting in context of internal and external security situation, GHQ may arrange a briefing for them. Lt-Gen Attiqur Rehman (in Our Defence Cause) says: “In a democracy, the defence services belong to the people through their representatives in parliament. Thus the people have the right to know what is going on, how their money is being spent, and how the defence services are being managed and administered. In fact, they have a right to know everything, except details of the actual war plans.” The law-makers need to understand; the defence forces deserve the penny they get.

AMJED JAAVED,

Rawalpindi, May 1.