Former Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar has warned that reducing the budget for ex-Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) will have severe security risks for Pakistan.
Taking to Twitter, the former Federal Minister said slashing the development budget is like breaking promises to the people belonging to the tribal areas.
“The federal development budget, which was 54 billion this year and 60 billion next year, has been slashed by the imported government to 40 billion next year. Cutting the development budget of the merged districts is tantamount to endangering the security of the country and breaking the promise to the people of the merged districts,” Asad Umar tweeted.
ضم اضلاع وفاقی ترقیاتی بجٹ جو اس سال 54 ارب تھا اور اگلے سال 60 ارب ہونا تھا، اس کو امپورٹڈ حکومت نے اگلے سال کاٹ کر 40 ارب کر دیا ہے. ضم اضلاع کے ترقیاتی بجٹ کو کاٹنا ملک کی سکیورٹی کے لئے خطرہ پیدا کرنے کے مترادف ہے اور ضم اضلاع کے عوام سے وعدہ خلافی ہے #امپورٹڈ_حکومت_نامنظور
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) June 4, 2022
Currently, the incumbent government is deciding on the budget for the fiscal year 2022-23. According to details, the development budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 has been proposed at Rs700 billion against the Rs900 bn allocation for the current ongoing fiscal year of 2021-22.
For the development of the merged tribal districts in the KP province, Rs40 billion would be allocated which is Rs14 billion lesser as compared to the current fiscal year.
Shocking! Imported govt REDUCED FATA's development budget vs last year, from Rs 54 bln to Rs 40 bln. pic.twitter.com/WDTSIWL6fn
— Asad Kharal (@AsadKharal) June 4, 2022
The reduction in the budget for the integrated tribal areas is indeed concerning. The region has already suffered because of the War on Terror. However, it has also remained neglected by the governments. No big socio-economic change has happened in the tribal districts since the merger with the neighboring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in May 2018.
The provincial government has been unable to address the districts’ needs for functioning schools, colleges, hospitals, roads, clean drinking water, and other essential services. Therefore, with the recent budget reduction, the districts’ needs will never be fulfilled.
Read more: Governance Challenges in Ex-FATA region
On the other hand, the incumbent government on Friday increased the defense budget for the outgoing fiscal year by nearly 6% to over Rs1.45 trillion in a bid to meet the needs of the armed forces, including their enhanced salary requirements.
20 million children are out of school, 43% Pakistanis experience food insecurity, millions are unemployed.
In such circumstances, increasing military budget by 6% to Rs 1.45 trillion shows we are ruled by a caste that is indifferent to suffering of those it lords over. Disaster!
— Ammar Ali Jan (@ammaralijan) June 4, 2022
In total, the Ministry of Defence got Rs153 billion or 11.8% additional money in this fiscal year over the revised budget of the previous year.