With the nation plunged into an economic crisis and mounting debt, Pakistan Army has called off all scheduled military drills and war exercises until December this year due to the shortage of fuel.
Recent intelligence reports obtained by EurAsian Times from neighbouring sources indicate that the Director General of Military Training of the Pakistan Army has issued a letter to all field formations and headquarters, ordering the suspension of all war games until December.
The primary reason cited is the scarcity of “reserve fuel” and essential lubricants. It’s worth noting that reserve fuel, in military terms is different from war reserves.
While war reserves are meant for weaponry and fuel required during specific periods of warfare, reserve stores are typically intended for internal military exercises and war drills.
“A Pakistani T-80 tank consumes two litres per kilometre. That is why Pakistan has suspended all the armoured and mechanized exercises, Colonel Danvir Singh (Retired) of the Indian Army, a well-known expert in Delhi on Pakistan Army-related matters told EurAsian Times.
Despite Pakistan’s removal from the FATF Grey List and securing a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the country continues to grapple with severe financial constraints.
This economic turmoil is further compounded by political instability, primarily stemming from the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 9.
The nation has witnessed violent protests against high-ranking military officials, attacks on army establishments such as cantonments and headquarters, and even the burning of the national flag, exacerbating an already challenging situation.
Pakistan is currently experiencing high inflation rates, leaving its citizens struggling to meet their daily needs. Riots and casualties have occurred due to shortages of essential food items like flour. However, it is the soaring prices of fuels, oil and lubricants that have had the most significant impact on the Pakistan Army.
With fuel prices already soaring at an exorbitant rate of 262 per litre for petrol and diesel, and 164 for kerosene oil, the Pakistan Army finds itself unable to procure the necessary reserve fuel and lubricants essential for operating its fleet of military trucks, tanks, and armoured vehicles.
Earlier this year, several field commanders of the Pakistan Army had written to the Quarter Master General, expressing serious concerns over the shortage of basic food items in all the messes to feed its soldiers.
According to the global lender’s data, debt-strapped Pakistan will soon become the fourth largest IMF borrower in the world after receiving a fresh loan of USD 3 billion in the next nine months under the standby arrangement reached with the global lender.
Pakistan, which is facing its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1947, was on March 31, 2023, ranked fifth in the list of countries with the highest borrowing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), The Express Tribune newspaper reported, citing the global lender’s data.
The unprecedented fuel shortage and its adverse effects on the Pakistan Army’s operational readiness underline the profound impact of the country’s political and economic instability on its defence forces.