Ahsan Iqbal’s reaction
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal in a statement issued by his public relations officer said that Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor should refrain from commenting on the country’s economic situation. Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa delivered a speech on the connectivity of security and economy wherein he also commented on the state of country’s economy, saying that it was showing mixed indicators. Then in a TV interview ISPR DG Major General Asif Ghafoor gave his views about the economic situation, saying that if Pakistan’s economy was not bad, it was not good either. Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who also holds portfolio of planning and development, reacted to it, calling the economy stable and telling Asif Ghafoor to refrain from giving statements and analysis on the subject. He said that the irresponsible statements affect the international reputation of Pakistan. Pakistan’s economy is far better as compared to 2013.
Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa had talked about the challenges to country’s economy, calling for broadening tax base and bringing in financial discipline to get away with the foreign loans. But Ahsan did not say anything about COAS’s speaking on the subject and saying almost the same thing, though in different words, as was said by ISPR DG. The interior ministry quoted the minister as saying that country’s imports were affected because of the investment on energy projects but it was bearable. He said that collection of taxes had increased up to double figure and the biggest development budget of the country’s history was being implemented and resources were being provided for the security operations of the country. He also said that the government did not need to opt for IMF program. PTI chief Imran Khan was quick to respond to the interior minister’s statement in a tweet, calling the “unwarranted attack” on ISPR “absurd”. He blamed Nawaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for “crushing the nation under debt”. The prevailing situation may put the country in chaos and all institutions should work under their constitutional mandate and respect each other’s mandate. Such statements and then counterstatements may spoil relations among institutions and ultimately it will harm country’s interests. There is institutional mechanism available on which such issues can be discussed. During the security committee meeting, government and security forces may raise their concerns directly before each other regarding important issue. Government and institutions should avoid such public statements should avoid in future because these create uncertainty and shaking country’s image.