Cash for religious fanatics
He said Rs 4.5 billion ($39 million) in “extra-budgetary grants” would go to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for “strategic assignments” but could not explain what these were. However, last year the ISI distributed cash envelops among religious fanatics such as the Tehrik-e- Labaik party, which staged a sit-in in Islamabad. A number of religious outfits both in and outside the country are believed to be on the ISI payroll and it has an unaudited account at its disposal.
The defense budget includes Rs 423 billion ($3.7 billion) for salaries, Rs 253.5 billion ($2.2 billion) for operating expenses, Rs 282 billion ($2.4 billion) for local and foreign purchases, plus Rs 141 billion ($1.2 billion) for civil works.
Revenue constraints are such that the government has halted payment of an export rebate on sales and income tax to exporters. The Federal Board of Revenue suddenly declined to entertain refund claims from exporters, saying there were no funds allocated for that in the budget. That caused the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) to lodge a protest with the Finance Ministry on the issue.