Senate of Pakistan


July 27, 2015

1. An in-camera meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Defense was held on 27th July, 2015, under the Chairpersonship of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed at 10.00 A.M in Committee Room No.1, Parliament House Islamabad.

2. The agenda before the Committee was as under:-

  1. Detailed briefing by the Secretary Defense on Defense Budget 2015-16
  2. Pakistan-Russia Military Relations
  3. Petition regarding disbursement of Shuhuda Package to the family of Army Public School’s Shaheed Teacher, Miss Sahar Afshan
  4. To discuss the implementation of the report of the Special Committee on AFV Rangers Nowshera laid in the Senate on October 21, 2014 along with the status of the compensation paid to the affectees till date.
  5. The Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Cantonments (Amendment) Bill, 2015
  6. Any other item with permission of the Chair

3. The following members of the Committee attended the meeting:-

  1. Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed                                       Chairperson
  2. Senator Lt. Gen (R) Abdul Qayyum                                      Member
  3. Senator Lt. Gen (R) Salahuddin Tirmizi                                 Member
  4. Senator Brig. (R) John Kenneth Williams                              Member
  5. Senator Col. (R) Syed Tahir Hussain Mashadi                       Member
  6. Senator Hidayatullah                                                           Member
  7. Senator Mrs. Sehar Kamran                                                Member
  8. Senator Atta ur Rehman                                                      Member
  9. Minister for Defense                                                             Ex-Officio Member

4. The meeting commenced with a recitation of the Holy Quran.

Agenda Item No. I

5. The Additional Secretary Ministry of Defense made a detailed presentation on the Defense Budget 2015-16. He highlighted the global strategic environment, and observed that new power centers were emerging. He also updated the committee regarding Pakistan’s relations with India, Afghanistan, Iran, China and Russia and highlighted the internal and external threats to Pakistan’s security. He added that the operation Zarb-e-Azb, which enjoyed the full support of the Parliament and people of Pakistan, had been highly successful, and presented several statistics highlighting the operations efficiency.

6. Following a brief overview of the security environment, the Additional Secretary apprised the committee of the features of the Pakistan Army. He emphasized the fact that the institution is manpower intensive, and requires continued training, men and machinery, modern technology and maintenance of infrastructure. The Additional Secretary negated the misconception that the Pakistan Army received a large portion of Pakistan’s annual Budget, and stated that the actual budget allocation was only 17.545%. This allocation is used to finance several attached departments of the Pakistan Army, Navy, and Air force. In terms of financial transparency, the Additional Secretary apprised the members that the budget was scrutinized by the Financial Advisor and the Ministry of Finance, and strict internal audits were exercised at all levels. Additionally, the Departmental Accounts Committee has thus far dealt over 900 audit paras, and conducts over 90 meetings annually.

7. The Additional Secretary also apprised the members of the distribution of the defense budget, which covered pays and salaries, operating expenses, assets and civil works. The largest portion of the budget goes into pays and allowances. The Additional Secretary also apprised the members of the committee of the distribution of the total budget between the three branches of the armed forces, namely the Army, Navy, and the Air Force, and presented a comparison of figures for defense budget of other countries such as USA, China, Israel and India. On the question of whether Pakistan’s defense budget could be compared to the defense budget of developed nations, the meeting was apprised that defense budget is driven primarily by threat perception.

8. In terms of budget growth, the additional secretary apprised the members that the defense budget had grown by 11.57% over the previous year, but out of the total allocation, a large portion is paid to the government in lieu of customs duty and sales tax.

9. Senator Abdul Qayyum and Senator Syed Tahir Hussain Mashadi appreciated the candid briefing by the Ministry of Defense, and observed that the defense budget was very reasonable keeping in mind inflation and the fact that sales tax and customs duty had to be paid out of the budget.

Agenda Item No. iii

10. On the matter of the petition regarding the disbursement of the Shuhuda Package to the Family of the martyred teacher of the Army Public School, the meeting was apprised that the Shuhuda Package / Prime Ministers Assistance Program was announced for government officers. The staff of the Army Public School however, did not fall in the category of government officials as the APS was a self financing institution. Pursuant to a public petition to the Senate Defence Committee from the families of the APS martyrs. The Chairman put it on the agenda and requested the Ministry of Defence to give compensation without discrimination.  A summary has been moved to the Prime Minister for approval of disbursement to the families of the martyred teachers of the APS, and is pending approval. He added that several steps had been taken for the rehabilitation of the affected families, which included umra packages, employment offers, and free education in the APS system for children of the martyrs, admissions in cadet colleges, visits to friendly countries, and payment of Re. 2 million to parents of the Shuhuda.

Agenda Item No. V

11. The Senate Standing Committee on Defence also took into consideration The Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Cantonments (Amendment) Bill, 2015 which were referred to the committee by the House in its sitting on the 15th of May, 2015. The Ministry of Defense provided a brief background of both Bills, and explained the need for amendments. The amendments to The Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2015 are geared towards the protection of court officials and witnesses, and indemnity against prosecution in any other court of law. In addition, the amendments add a retrospective effect to those arrested before promulgation of the Bill. After detailed deliberations, the Senate Standing Committee on Defense unanimously approved the amendments to The Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2015, as proposed by the Ministry of Defense.


12. In respect of the Cantonments (Amendment) Bill, 2015, the members of the committee were apprised that 43 cantonment boards in Pakistan were operating under the Cantonments (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015. Elections for these boards were held on the 25th of April, 2015, and the boards were currently operational. However, since the Ordinance has lapsed, the powers vested in the boards had also lapsed. As such, the Ordinance needed to be placed before the house. After detailed deliberations, the Senate Standing Committee on Defense unanimously approved the Cantonments (Amendment) Bill, 2015 as proposed by the Ministry of Defense.

Agenda Item No. ii

13. The Additional Secretary Ministry of Defense briefed the members of the committee regarding Pakistan – Russia Military relations. The Additional Secretary presented a profile of Russia, including its geography and demographics, history of Pakistan Russia relations, Russian Interests in Pakistan, training collaborations and Russia’s favorable inclination towards equipment requests by Pakistan. The Additional Secretary also highlighted visits of the COAS to Russia, and the meeting of the Prime Minister of Pakistan with the President of Russia. The meeting was apprised that the two countries had agreed on military and naval cooperation, training in military education in Russia, and a draft agreement relating to Military Technical cooperation.

14. The Minister for Defense apprised the committee that after attaining a no objection certificate from China, engines for the JF-17 thunder were acquired from Russia. In addition, an agreement had been signed with Russia, which included provisions for military training, international property rights and defense production. Russia had also showed interest in anti-narcotics and anti-terrorism cooperation. The Minister further apprised the members that a joint naval exercise had been scheduled for St. Petersburg in September 2015, and Russia was inclined towards regional cooperation for regional stability. In lieu of this, The Defense Minister of Russia had visited Pakistan in February of 2014, and Russia had also shown interest in a North to South Gas Pipeline to promote energy cooperation. Currently, both countries were interacting and communicating directly at the executive level, with full involvement of the Defense establishment of Pakistan.

15. On the question of Russian interest in the Pakistan Steel Mill, the Minister apprised the members that Russia had not shown interest in the steel mill. The increased level of cooperation however, was a positive sign of future cooperation, collaboration, and an ongoing and improving relationship between the two countries.

16. The Senate Standing Committee on Defense unanimously passed the following resolution:

The Senate Standing Committee on Defense expresses deep sorrow and grief over the death of an innocent civilian, as a result of the unprovoked Indian firing at Chiri Kot Sector, Muzaffarabad on the Line of Control (LOC)

These Incidents of cross border shelling are a continuous breach of the LoC and the 2003 ceasefire agreement. This episode was not a standalone event as only last week, four Pakistani civilians embraced martyrdom as a result of Indian Shelling. Even more appalling, the Indian shelling did not even stop on Eid-ul-Fitr at the Jammu and Kashmir Sector.

It is unfortunate that India seems to insist on sabotaging the peace gestures initiated by Pakistan. Pakistan has, time and again, reiterated its commitment towards establishing regional peace and harmony, but its overtures have not received respect from India.

The Senate Standing Committee on Defense recommends that the upcoming report by the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) against ceasefire violations by the Indian army along the LoC and Working Boundary in light of the complaint registered by the Pakistan Army should be made public, and raised at all relevant international forums, highlighting Indian belligerence and human rights violations

The Senate Standing Committee salutes the heroic soldiers of the Pakistan Army for defending our borders with valor and courage”

Directives/ Unanimous Decisions by the Senate Standing Committee on Defense

The members of the committee:

  • Proposed that a special allowance be paid to the armed forces for services they provide in provinces, which were in essence the responsibility of the provincial governments.
  • Proposed that customs duty and sales tax be waived off on defense related imports.
  • Opined that outreach programs should be developed to remove the gap and misconceptions between the army and the public.
  • Instructed the Ministry of Defense to provide the members of the Senate Standing Committee with details of the attackers of the APS Peshawar, and provide an update of the inquiry into the matter.
  • The Senate Standing Committee on Defense unanimously approved The Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Cantonments (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
  • Compensation package for APS martyrs families be given to all without discrimination.

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