Country’s economy not army’s business, says interior minister

Pakistan’s economy is stable and is doing a lot better than it was in 2013, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Friday hours after State Minister for Interior Talal Chaudhry in a conflicting statement termed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s ouster as the main reason behind what he called “the country’s deteriorating economy”.

Interior minister’s response comes a day after Maj Gen Ghafoor’s interview on a private TV channel in which he had said: “If the economy is not bad, it is not doing so well either.”

Besides that, Chief of Army Staff Qamar Jawed Bajwa, while addressing economists and businessmen during a seminar in Karachi, said the country’s economy was showing mixed indicators and that the tax base needed to be expanded and economic policies continued to be able to break the “begging bowl”.

Talking to a private news channel, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed claimed that Iqbal’s comments were directed at Chief of Army Staff Qamar Jawed Bajwa’s address at a daylong event organised by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and ISPR at the DHA Golf Club.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan also chimed in on Twitter, saying, “Ahsan Iqbal’s unwarranted attack on ISPR is absurd [because] the dismal state of Pak’s economy is known to the world.”

In another tweet, he said: “The Sharif-Dar combine has crushed the nation under debt for generations to come. The Sharif darbaris cannot fool the nation.”

The PTI chief added that Iqbal’s latest statement is “part of the Dawn Leaks agenda to malign the armed forces of Pakistan and appease hostile external powers.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the army chief had said, “Growth has picked up but the debts are sky high. Infrastructure and energy have improved considerably but the current account balance is not in our favour.”

The army chief added that in today’s world, security and economy were interlinked and that the nations were reviewing the old dilemma of ‘guns versus butter’ i.e. how to achieve a balance between economic viability and national security.

“The common man across Pakistan needs reassurance of benevolent and equal treatment from the state,” he said, adding that it was high time for the country to place economic growth and sustainability at the highest priority.

Ahsan Iqbal, however, insinuated that Pakistan’s economy was stable and was doing a lot better than it was in 2013, adding that irresponsible statements would bring disrepute to the country.

“We have seen a rise in imports as the industrial sector is investing in the power sector. There is nothing to be alarmed about,” he added.

“Revenue generation has witnessed a two-fold increase because of the improvement in the tax collection system.”

He said Pakistan’s current development budget was its biggest in the country’s history.

“We don’t need to seek a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” he added. “The government has allocated more funds and resources for security purposes.”

World Bank has also warned that macroeconomic risks in Pakistan have increased substantially during the fiscal year 2017, as the external balance is particularly vulnerable given the persistent current account deficit, affecting the country’s reserve position.

Earlier this month, the interior minister had a tiff with Rangers when he was denied entry into Islamabad’s accountability courts by paramilitary troops.



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2 Comments

  1. Pakistan Today said:

    It very much is. You are too thick headed to understand this. We are waiting for your resignation since Gen Musharraf left the country. Have some dignity and resign.

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