Amid Pakistan’s austerity drive, military seeks 20 per cent pay hike

The memorandum, submitted to the Finance Division by the Defence Ministry claims security personnel are feeling a salary crunch due to devaluation of the rupee and inflation in consumer goods and utility prices.
Pakistan’s armed forces have sought a 20 per cent salary hike for their personnel for the 2020-21 fiscal even as the government is in the middle of cost cutting and austerity drive.

According to a Defence Ministry memorandum the exercise would cost Rs. 63.67 billion to cover all three services—the Air Force, the Army, and the Navy.

The memorandum, submitted to the Finance Division by the Defence Ministry claims security personnel are feeling a salary crunch due to devaluation of the rupee and inflation in consumer goods and utility prices.

The memorandum said that in the current financial year, 2019-20, the salary of officers up to the rank of brigadier (BPS 17-20) had increased by 5 per cent. “10 per cent ad hoc relief was awarded to JCOs/soldiers” of basic pay scale 1-16, it added.

However, it said, no increase was given to general officers (BPS 21-22), and the ad hoc relief granted to officers had resulted in them paying enhanced income tax from existing pay, thereby actually seeing their salary decreasing, the memorandum added.

As these circumstances have affected the fiscal space and livelihood of armed forces personnel, says the Defence Ministry memo, an increase of pay “duly approved by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee” has been sought. It says this can be accomplished by merging ad hoc relief allowances from 2016-2019 into the basic pay designated in 2017. “Thereafter, allowing increase in pay @20% of revised pay scales in financial year 2020-21.”

Last year the military “voluntarily agreed” to cut its expenditures due to the “critical financial situation” facing the country, and skipped a routine increase in the annual defence budget. This did not include a Rs 260 billon pension bill for retired soldiers, which is covered by the federal government.

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