Why all these weapons?... By Masood
20 March, 2013
As per a recently published report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), an independent resource on global security, Pakistan was included in the top five importers of major conventional weapons during the 2008 to 2012 period. The other four top importers are also from Asia: India with12 percent global imports, China with six percent, South Korea with five percent and Singapore with four percent. Pakistan's share was five percent of the global weapons import.
I do not want to comment on the import of other countries as this must be linked to the size of their economy and level of security threat, if any. However, can Pakistan's economy, with a per capita income of only $ 1,200, afford such leisure? I call it leisure because, when a country's power sector cannot produce electricity, in turn ruining its industries, where government-run education has badly suffered, where most of the development projects are either on hold or getting delayed, when the condition of health centres has worsened, where millions of people are still deprived of clean water, there is hardly anything else one can call it. All this is happening due to a lack of funds and bad governance. Pakistan is already burdened with perpetual national and international loans and it is about to initiate negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for another loan of billions of dollars. Can we still afford to import that many weapons?
There is no weight in the logic that we have to keep a deterrent or balance against India. We are a sovereign country; what is and what is not important for us should be decided on rational grounds. I hope the upcoming government has some courage to take the country towards stability wherein such a stockpile of weapons may not be necessary. When we cannot change our neighbours, then we have to learn to live together. One time foes Germany and France now supplement each other's economy. Then why is the same not applicable for Pakistan and India?
Jubail, Saudi Arabia