23 September, 2010
When I read today’s newspaper, I was filled with grief, dismay and disappointment. It’s not that on other days the news makes my day brighter or gives it a positive start. But surprisingly today’s front page news was not about the militant attacks in North Waziristan, it was not about our cricket team making a fool of themselves nor was it about the millions of displaced flood victims. It was about the changes brought about in the budget.
“Even before the first quarter of the fiscal year has ended, the government has made major changes in the federal budget, increasing defence expenditures by about Rs110 billion and reducing the allocation for development by Rs73 billion”- Dawn
The government has brought about a Rs109.8 billion increase in the defence budget for a major military operation. It’s sad because instead of devising an efficient rehabilitation and development plan for the millions displaced in the floods, they are concentrating on the militants. I believe that the government should have given priority to the needs of the people of Pakistan first and the ongoing struggle that is going on should have been placed second for you have enough international backing for it.
For the affected 20 million people across the country the government has proposed a ‘flood tax’. The aim is towards the “elite” according to the Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh.
Another disturbing aspect of the news was the fact that the Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj-Gen Athar Abbas completely denied of having any knowledge about the change in the budget and the major increase in defence expenditure.
I mean is it really possible that these documents have passed onto the IMF and this guy has no clue? It seemed as if the general wanted to keep his take and/or involvement in this decision out of the limelight. His statement was, “The increase in defence budget is not in my knowledge and matters related to military operations cannot be disclosed.”
One can never really judge or say who or what is the reason behind a certain political advancement or any other government decision for that matter. All we can do for now is to think , reflect and analyze the situation at hand.