A cruel irony from an army that does everything in the name of protecting its country’s honour.
Pakistan Armed Forces have demanded (a politically correct euphemism for instructed) from the government that the defence budget, from the next fiscal year, be allocated in US dollar terms and not in Pakistani rupee.
The Defence Ministry sources said that dollar is being traded at Rs 87.50 in the market at present and its price will soar to Rs 91.50 in the next financial year. Therefore, the budget be provided to the armed forces keeping in view this situation.[The News]
As a natural progression, Pakistan Generals ought to follow this up by asking for their salaries in US dollars in foreign banks. They would after all need to protect their hard-earned monies against a weak Rupee. But what happens if the US dollar weakens vis-a-vis the Euro or the Renminbi? Will the next demand be to have the budget be allocated in the strongest currency in the world? What happens if that currency is the Indian Rupee in a few years time? An interesting possibility indeed.
On a more serious note, this is as serious a vote of no-confidence in its own country’s economy as any armed forces can have. But when that country happens to be Pakistan, memorably described (in the words used by Friedrich von Schrötter for Prussia) as an army with a country — or soon to be without one, as Ahmed Rashid fears — the irony of this ludicrous demand is rather cruel. After all, Pakistan army claims to be the ultimate protector of the honour of its country.
Update: Dhruva Jaishankar summed it up pithily in his tweet: “An army without a country without an economy?”