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October 14, 2017

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‘Military spokesman should refrain from statements on economy’

‘Military spokesman should refrain from statements on economy’

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Friday urged military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor to refrain from making statements on state of economy in the country.

In a statement, Ahsan Iqbal said that such irresponsible statements can dent Pakistan’s reputation globally.

“The government is executing the largest development budget in the country’s history,” the minister noted, adding that resources were also being provided to law enforcement agencies for carrying out security options. He said that Pakistan’s economy was strong and stable as compared to the situation in 2013.

Ahsan Iqbal’s response came a couple of days after DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor told a news channel that if the economy was not bad, it was not doing so well either. The remarks followed an address by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Karachi.

Addressing a gathering of businessmen and military leaders at the DHA Club on Wednesday, General Bajwa said the army was keenly watching developments in the country’s economy.

Meanwhile, speaking at a roundtable discussion of US scholars and think-tank analysts at the Middle East Institute in Washington, Ahsan Iqbal emphasised the importance of Pakistan-US partnership in achieving common regional objectives and the promotion of mutual interests.

The minister also noted the successful rescue by Pakistani security forces of American national Caitlan Coleman and her family, who had been held captive in Afghanistan since 2012. He said the release in an operation based on intelligence shared by the US was testament to the value of close cooperation between the two countries. 

The minister also briefed the audience about the improved security environment in Pakistan while alluding to the significant decline in the incidence of terrorist attacks in Pakistan since 2013, which had restored foreign investors confidence in the country. He called Pakistan’s counter-terrorism strategy, based on the 20-point National Action Plan, a rare example of success in the fight against terrorism in the region. He termed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a transformative project, which could be an engine for growth and prosperity in South and Central Asia.

Earlier, talking to Voice of America (VOA) in Washington, Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan has rendered unprecedented sacrifices in the war against terrorism and its valiant forces have broken the back of terrorists.

“Terrorism is the common enemy of Pakistan and the United States,” he said, adding that Pakistan wants lasting peace in the region in collaboration with its international partners.

He said Pakistan is the biggest stakeholder of peace in Afghanistan as it will be the first country to reap dividends of Afghan peace.

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