Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday hiked its defence budget for fiscal 2012-13 by nearly 10 percent to Rs 545 billion.

Official budget documents presented in Parliament said a sum of Rs 545 billion (about USD 5.82) had been allocated for the defence services, compared with Rs 495 billion provided in the fiscal year ending on June 30.

Further details, including allocations for the three services and weapons acquisition programmes, were not immediately available.

The budget documents further stated that the actual expenditure on defence during fiscal 2011-12 was Rs 509.32 billion (about USD 5.45 billion), or Rs 14.32 billion more than the allocation of Rs 495 billion.

The allocation for defence amounted to 18.4 percent of the federal budget of Rs 2,960 billion for fiscal 2012-13.

The Pakistan government has traditionally made defence allocations with the objective of maintaining conventional parity with India.

However, a crippling financial crunch has forced the government to balance military spending and expenditure on development and welfare programmes.

Expenses on the war on terrorism and cuts in defence aid by the US too have affected Pakistan's defence budget.

However, experts have said that the government often allocates funds for the military's special programmes and the nuclear weapons programme that are not reflected as part of the outlay for defence.


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