Another 5.2 billion of debt – for defence?
Today, the Pakistan Military announced that it had successfully tested the Hatf IV Shaheen 1A ballistic missile. The Shaheen A1 is an improved version of the Shaheen- 1 with better range (said to be around 2500-3000km) and better accuracy. But the thing is, was this necessary? The test was in response to India’s Agni V, but is an arms race with India worth it when we are in such dire economic straits?
I firmly belief, that it the right and the duty of the Pakistan army to take all possible measures for the defense of the nation, even if it involves unpopular decisions. But Pakistan’s missile technology is already advanced enough to deter any potential enemies, so why is money, which could have gone to education or health care, being spent in developing new missile systems! Even assuming that Pakistan can go to war with India any moment (which is highly unlikely), our Ghouri-II and Shaheen-II missiles, with ranges of around 2000-2500 km can easily cover India.
Just a few days back, our Finance Minister Hafez Shaikh completed a tour of the US where he successfully begged the US, UK, IMF, World Bank and others for money, finally announcing that Pakistan would be getting $5.2 billion. Around the same time, it was also in the news that Pakistan might need the IMF’s help to pay off its existing debts. So ladies and gentlemen, at a time when we are already under debt of more than $65 Billion, when the Pakistani economy is barely limping along at a meager growth rate of 2.9%, at a time when the country is facing long spells of load shedding, when the common man has been trampled underfoot by inflation, do you think it right to spend so much money on a technology we already possess?