LAHORE A number of political activists, students, professionals and ordinary citizens held a rally on Charing Cross, outside the Punjab Assembly on Thursday demanding detailed defence expenditures be presented in parliament during the upcoming budget session in line with the procedures that are in place in established democracies all over the world. The protestors also demanded that any such expenditures made public which are not deemed to contribute clearly to the stipulated security needs of the Pakistani people should be diverted towards health, education and other badly neglected sectors. The protest was organized under the platform of the 'Awami Shehri Mahaz, a coalition of left-wing political parties, student groups and professionals. The demonstrators were carrying banners, placards calling for accountability of the military establishment and the replacement of the national security state with a peoples welfare state. Red flags also made the rally a colourful spectacle while the large number of youth was present on the occasion chanted vociferous slogans against the resource-grabbing antics of military personnel. Speaking to the media and participants of the protest, Hashim Bin Rashid, an activist and journalist, said that it was no longer acceptable to the long-suffering people of Pakistan for the military to be allocated upto 40 percent of the federal budget under the pretext that Pakistan faces a perennial existential threat. He further said that working people need schools, hospitals, clean drinking water, jobs and other basic amenities and after 63 years it is time to change the priorities of the state away from 'national security towards 'human security. Farooq Tariq, spokesperson of the Labour Party Pakistan said that all over the world professional militaries are answerable to the elected representatives of the people and this must be the case in Pakistan as well. Tariq further argued that Pakistans people want to be at peace with our neighbours and at peace with ourselves and this is only possible if there is civilian oversight of the military and accountability of its performance. Muhammad Ali Jan of the Workers Party Pakistan (WPP) said that until and unless the defence expenditures role in keeping Pakistan poor and underdeveloped is highlighted, both the government claims of being people friendly, as well as the questioning of it in the media remain hollow. Other participants included Diep Saeeda from the Institute of Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS), Arfan Chaudry and Sarmad Aziz of National Students Federation (NSF) and Ahsan Bhatti and Murtaza Bajwa of the Progressive Youth Front. A similar protest was also held at the same time in Islamabad by members of the Awami Shehri Mahaz.