NA okays Rs 505b for Defence Division


Amid calls for cut in and independent audit of defence spending by the PML-N lawmakers, the National Assembly on Saturday approved eight demands for grants of over Rs 505 billion for the Defence Division with a majority of votes rejecting all cut motions presented by the opposition.
The National Assembly approved 30 more demands for grants of over Rs 653 billion to meet expenditures of various ministries amid an uproar in the opposition benches seeking explanation of Rs 505 billion allocation for the Defence Division.
The largest chunk of the charged expenditure was more than Rs 505 billion for eight demands for grants of the Defence Division, the Cabinet Division was allocated Rs 141 billion against its 19 demands and Rs 5.27 billion were approved for three demands of the Ministry of Communication.
According to details of defence demands, Rs 495 billion were approved for Defence Services, Rs 963.56 million and Rs 2.52 billion for Defence Division, Rs 578.8 million for Meteorology, Rs 648.5 million for Survey of Pakistan, Rs 3.81 billion for development expenditure of the Defence Division and Rs 30 million for development expenditure of FG educational institutions in cantonments and garrisons.
While securing approval of demands for grants amounting to Rs 653 billion, the government rejected all of the 208 cut motions: 144 related to the Cabinet’s Secretariat, 29 for the Ministry of Communication and 35 for the Ministry of Defence. When Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh presented the demands of the Defence Division in the House, PML-N leader Mehtab Ahmed Khan Abbasi on his cut motion said resolution of the issues was the preferable way to make Pakistan’s defence impregnable.
He opposed the construction of the GHQ in Islamabad. Another PML-N lawmaker, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi termed the allocation of Rs 500 billion for defence excessive.


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