Almost all Pakistanis demand cut in Defence budget

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Islamabad, June 2 : A new survey conducted in Pakistan ahead of next Budget, to be presented by the new PPP-led government, has revealed that about 95 per cent of the people want the government to cut defence expenditure and give less importance to the defence spending.

According to the survey findings, about 50 per cent of the Pakistanis give top priority to health and education sector, while 31 per cent say agriculture sector should be given priority for overall economic growth in the country, and 14 per cent give priority to infrastructure.

The survey was conducted by the Human Development and Rights section of the Sungi Development Foundation, a civil society organisation. Those interviewed were also invited at a pre-budget seminar organised by the Sungi.

Those interviewed stressed that the budget 2008-9 needed to be formulated on the principles of justice, equality and democracy if it was to have any real meaning. They recommended that "unnecessary" ministries should be abolished to reduce the expenses and defence budget must be brought under the purview of the Parliament, reported the Dawn.

Other recommendations also included considerable cut in the defence budget and allocation of more funds for social sector development, making policies to address the issue of unemployment, reconstruction and rehabilitation of earthquake affected area, taxes cut in coming budget and avoiding imposition of any new taxes.

The recommendations focus on reducing "growing inflation" rate to benefit the poor and salaried class and bigger allocation of funds for women.

Most of the participants were of the view that the term "Maximum relief for the poor" was just a political slogan, and noted that "policy makers and decision makers prepare budgets for the rich and the poor get in the quagmire of insecurity."

ANI

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