Khursheed Shah says everyone has right to comment on economy

SUKKUR: Opposition Leader in National Assembly (NA) Khurshid Shah on Saturday said that the government should give briefing to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on prevailing economic situation of the country to remove his reservations.

Talking to media, Khursheed Shah said that everyone, from a common man to the army chief, has the right to comment on economy taking an opposite position to the interior minister’s statement that the Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) should refrain from commenting on the country’s economy.

Shah said that there is nothing wrong with the army chief commenting on the state of the economy since he was the “commander-in-chief” of the army. A weakened economy means a weakened army, he said.

Commenting on the scuffle outside accountability court ahead of indictment proceedings against Sharifs, Shah said that the incident “should open the eyes of every Pakistan as to where we going as a nation”. He added that the Pakistan Peoples Party is working to ensure that the different institutions of the country are not at loggerheads, and advised Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and other politicians to do the same.

He said clash between departments and state is dangerous for the country as weak institutions frail the government as well.

Responding on Khatm-e-Naboowat issue, Shah advised the politicians to carefully handle the issue and referain from saying harsh words.

Earlier, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) should refrain from passing comments on the country’s economy.

In a statement, 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.

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.