ISLAMABAD - A treasury member belonging to Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Monday told Senate that the impression that Pakistan’s armed forces get 84 percent share out of the country’s total budget was totally wrong.

Rebutting the remarks of another lawmaker, MQM lawmaker Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif on a point of public concern informed the house that similar fake news also continued to circulate on the social media. Senator Saif claimed that after analyzing the budget documents, he had deduced that 82.3 percent share out of the total resources of country went to the civil side and 17.7 percent resources were spent on defence.

He said that defence expenditures for the last six decades were on the decline as these were 31 percent of the total budget in 1960, 22 percent in 1970, 13 percent each in 80’s and 90’s, 9 percent in 2000 and 8 percent in 2020-21.

MQM lawmaker said that another claim being made from certain quarters was wrong that Pakistan had one of the largest armies in the world. He said that there were around 64 countries worldwide that have armies larger in number than Pakistan’s army. He said that many countries which were smaller than Pakistan with respect to area like Turkey, Singapore, Iraq, and Iran besides others had armies larger than Pakistan’s.

He also said that Pakistan spent much less on an army personnel annually as compared to other countries as US spend $394,000 on an army personnel per year, Saudi Arabia $371,000, India $ 41,667, Iraq $ 23,000 and Pakistan $12,500. Separately, the opposition in the house criticized government on a recent public disclosure that seven special assistants to PM were either dual nationals or holding residency of other countries.

The parliamentary leader of PPP in the house Ms Sherry Rehman said that Article 63 of the Constitution clearly stated that a member of the parliament stood disqualified if he acquired the citizenship of a foreign state. “Some members have been disqualified for life from both the houses under this article.” Then under what reason and moral grounds, special assistants have taken oath of two countries, she asked. She said that she herself had renounced her UK residency when she had become the minister. “This is because, we take oath of constitution that we will protect the national interests, secrets and sensitive information of Pakistan.”

She said that Prime Minister himself had opposed dual nationality of lawmakers and had maintained that only Pakistanis should have a role in decision making. She said that PM also used to say that Pakistanis would run affairs of the country and involvement of dual nationals was a U–turn. Former chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani said that when a person took oath of allegiance to another country, he gave his loyalty to that country.

While reading out the oaths of UK and US, he said that one renounced his allegiance to Pakistan when he got nationality of any of these countries. He stressed that those dual nationals were being allowed to sit in the cabinet to make import decisions which were not eligible to become members of the parliament. He referred to a judgement of Supreme Court which stated that certain positions in government service and public offices required exemplary undivided loyalty. “It appears that the government has mortgaged the sovereignty of Pakistan and country has been handed over to the crony capitalists and international financials imperialists,” he said.