Defence budget increase maintained as security improves

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The annual military budget was once again increased on Friday by 11 per cent, even as security improves following fight against militancy and separatist insurgency for more than a decade.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar informed parliament in his annual budget address that the armed forces would be provided Rs 860 billion ($8.6 billion) during the 2016-17 financial year.

“The defence budget has been increased to Rs 860 billion which is 11 per cent more than the last year,” Dar told parliament.

The defence budget was also increased by 11 percent in 2015-16.

The country has been fighting a insurgency for over a decade, with heavy deployments of troops in the border area near Afghanistan where militants have previously operated with impunity.

However security was significantly improved in 2015, which saw the least number of attacks since the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were formed in 2007.

The government will also maintain a Rs 100 billion ($1 billion) grant for the rehabilitation of thousands of families who have been forced from their homes by the insurgency and military operations to uproot the militants from the country’s northwest.

Estimates show the country has lost more than 50,000 people and billions of dollars in revenue due to the ongoing war against extremism, while thousands of its families have been rendered homeless.

The army routinely receives a major portion of the national budget to counter rival India, with whom it has fought three wars, and for the fight against militancy.

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