THE sound of a fighter jet flying overhead is unforgettable, not to mention the pride one feels for the defenders of one’s country. For decades, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has been showing off its air prowess during flyovers at special events, parades, celebrations, and, of course, Pakistan Day.

But you cannot pay for airpower with just patriotism. Flyovers cost money and figuring out exactly how much is a little bit complicated. In the United States, F-16 variants cost between $8,242 and $8,701 per hour to fly.

With serious economic woes besetting Pakistan, the indefatigable circular debt, and Karachi resembling a massive ghetto town, the question that begs an answer is: can we really afford such displays of pomp and glory?

Faisal Habib
Karachi

Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2021

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