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Friday Oct 13 2017

DG ISPR should refrain from commenting on economy: Iqbal


WASHINGTON: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Friday that Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) should refrain from passing comments on the country's economy.

In a statement issued on Friday, the interior minister also said that irresponsible remarks can affect the international standing of Pakistan.

“Pakistan’s economy is much more stable now than in 2013," said Iqbal. 

Iqbal further said that there has been an increased pressure on imports due to the investment in energy projects, but added that the pressure is bearable. 

The interior minister further elaborated that there has been a two-fold increase in the collection of taxes, adding that the biggest development budget in the country's history is being implemented.  

Referring to the ongoing security operations being conducted in the country, the interior minister said resources are being provided as needed. 

The interior minister, who is visiting the annual meeting of World Bank and IMF, said it is unfortunate that he has had to answer to the comments made by people due to DG ISPR’s statement.

“People asked me why there was need for such a statement, what weakness does your economy have that there was a need for the statement,” said the interior minister while talking to Geo News.

“Pakistan’s economy has been referred to as a turn-around economy by the world and all international organisations and segments are calling it an emerging economy.”

He also quashed rumours that Pakistan would again need to approach the IMF and said it’s an effort to discredit Pakistan’s economy and added certain opposition members are making irresponsible statements.

“It happens nowhere in the world that one plays with the economy for one’s politics,” said the interior minister.

“Pakistan’s economy is stable and we have achieved the highest growth rate during the last decade.”

“The army chief pointed out things that we are all aware of. He made a balanced statement which talked of the economic challenges and successes.”

“Even we understand that tax collection in Pakistan is a challenge and if the army chief said it, than it is something that no one can disagree with but DG ISPR saying the economic situation is not bad but not good either is an unreasonable statement in my opinion,” added the interior minister.

He reiterated that we should refrain from such statements as international quarters are commending Pakistan’s economy.   

'Unwarranted attack on ISPR is absurd'

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan referred to the interior minister's statement as an absurd attack on the ISPR, "as the dismal state of the economy is known to the world". 

Imran further said on social media that the combination of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and incumbent Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has crushed the nation under debt for generations to come. 

Referring to PML-N minister as courtiers, he said they could not fool the nation anymore. 

The PTI chief alleged that the statement from the interior minister is part of the Dawn Leaks agenda to malign the armed forces of Pakistan.

Imran also alleged that the agenda is an effort to "appease hostile external powers". 

Awami Muslim League Chief Sheikh Rasheed also rejected Iqbal's statement and said that the rulers are confused.

“DG ISPR also shared the policy of Pakistan Army,” he said, adding that Iqbal is actually targeting the army chief with such statements.

In a talk show on a private TV channel on Thursday, the DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor stressed that there is a need to sit together and discuss the country's economy. 

"The security of the country and its economy are deeply linked with each other."

Major General Ghafoor said the economy is affected if the circumstances are not good.

Commenting on the war against terrorism, the DG ISPR said several countries have given up their fight against terrorism.

He added that the terrorists have become aware that they cannot enter into and hide in Pakistan.

The World Bank, in the recently released report, 'South Asia Economic Focus Fall 2017', said macroeconomic uncertainties are increasing due to which the balance of payments is disrupted.

The ongoing fiscal deficit is primarily due to lack of foreign reserves, added the report. 

Making the right fiscal policies can alleviate Pakistan’s economic woes, asserted the report. It suggested that an increase in exports can help improve the balance of payments.

Higher exports, decrease in imports, and stable remittance flows can ensure stability vis-à-vis balance of payments, said the report.

The report also mentioned that the problems pertaining to the financial framework can decrease the ratio of growth of the economy.

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