ISI not meddling in politics, Senate body told

ISI not meddling in politics, Senate body told

ISLAMABAD:  Secretary Defence Lt-General Asif Yaseen Malik (retd) has categorically said that there exists no political cell in ISI since it was disbanded five years ago.

In a policy statement to Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Defenc Production, Secretary Defence said currently the ISI was not meddling in political affairs of the state.Ministry of Defence and Defenc Production arranged a briefing for the Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Defence Production on Monday with a view to removing misconceptions regarding defence expenditure. Senator Mushahid Hussian Syed chaired the in-camera briefing of the Standing Committee.

The government has allocated Rs 545 billion to meet defence expenditure, which is 17 percent of the total budget and 2.3 percent of the GDP, Secretary Defence and other officials told the senators.Defence officials stated that there had been a drastic cut in defence budget as the total outlay of defence was 4.6 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2000-01.

Out of total amount, 48 percent (Rs264 billion) allocated to Army, 20 percent (Rs 114 billion) to Air Force, 9.6 percent (Rs52 billion) to Navy. The officials claimed that 16 percent (Rs 92 billion) of total defence budget had been allocated to Joint Chief of Staff, ISI, ISPR and defence-related offices.The committee was also informed that Rs 28 billion had been paid as income tax, sales tax, customs duty and miscellaneous taxes from defence the budget. However, the expenditure of Rs 105 billion on military pension was met from civilian budget. The US had paid Pakistan dollars 12 billion since 9/11. Washington had not made any payments to Pakistan for the use of the Shamsi Airbase, the secretary added.

Responding to queries of senators, the officials revealed that the Shamshi Airbase was the property of the UAE government. The UAE government leased out the base to USA for carrying out the drone attacks.They admitted that drone attacks took place with the support of the government. – Brecorder