Islamabad: A Pakistani parliamentary panel has approved a proposal to hike the defence budget to over Rs 500 billion for the next fiscal as against Rs 442 billion for the current financial year.
The Standing Committee on Defence of the National Assembly or Lower House of Parliament gave its approval during a meeting chaired yesterday by Azra Fazal Pechuho, media reports said today.
The panel reviewed various proposals presented by the Defence Ministry in connection with the defence budget for the next fiscal year.
Defence Secretary Athar Ali Khan and senior officers from the Army`s General Headquarters briefed the committee about the budget and requirements of the armed forces.
Khan and the military officials told the panel that security expenses for the current fiscal were "far greater" than the outlay of Rs 442 billion.
They also contended that Pakistan had not received all the money due from the US Coalition Support Fund, which is used to reimburse expenses on the war on terror.
The officials told the panel that the requirements of the Air Force and Navy had increased and new equipment will have to be procured due to the prevailing security scenario.
Pechuho told the media after the meeting that the requirements of the military had been reviewed in detail and approval had been accorded for an 18 percent increase in the defence budget for the next fiscal in view of increasing inflation.
She said 25 percent of the defence budget was spent on purchasing defence equipment and needs of the Army had increased due to the war on terror.
This had led to the proposal to enhance the defence budget, she said.