Army should refrain from talking on economic issues: Ahsan

Observer Report
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Friday that the army should refrain from speaking on the country’s economic issues as “irresponsible” statements could affect Pakistan’s image globally. Speaking in Washington, the minister said Pakistan economy was much more stable as compared with the situation in 2013. “We have seen a rise in imports as the industrial sector is investing in the power sector but it’s nothing to be alarmed about,” he maintained. “Revenue generation has witnessed a twofold increase because of the improvement in the tax collection system,” he added. Iqbal said Pakistan’s current development budget was its biggest in the country’s history. He added that the government had allocated more funds and resources for security. “We don’t need to seek loans from the IMF,” he retorted to the recent criticism that Pakistan was carrying a “beggar’s bowl” and there were economic concerns because of its “sky-high debt” Army chief Gen Bajwa had said Wednesday Pakistan needs to expand its tax base, bring in financial discipline and ensure continuity of economic policies to be able to break the begging bowl, military’s media wing had reported. “The economy is showing mixed indicators,” he had said before an audience of businessmen and the military leadership of Karachi at a daylong event organised by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and ISPR at the DHA Golf Club. “Growth has picked up but the debts are sky high. [The situation regarding] infrastructure and energy have improved considerably but the current account balance is not in our favour,” Bajwa was quoted as saying. The closest Gen Bajwa came to identifying economic priorities was when he stressed the need for widening the tax base, bringing in fiscal discipline and ensuring continuity of economic policies.

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