Ahsan offers clarification saying ISPR DG’s criticism not ‘confrontational’

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ISLAMABAD: After ISPR DG Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor’s comments in a press conference that he was disappointed by Federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal statement, Ahsan has tried to pacify the situation on Saturday by saying that his criticism of the DG’s comments on the economy was meant to point out that every department had its own jurisdiction and was not “confrontational”.

The minister further stated that comments on the economy should come from relevant departments i.e. finance and planning ministries. He added that said state institutions needed to be careful in making comments because they could be used by enemies to tarnish the image of the country.

“If the glass is half filled, let’s spread hope that that it will soon be filled to the top instead of making the masses feel disappointed,” he remarked.

The spate of words between the federal minister and ISPR DG come after the DG had earlier said the “if the economy [of Pakistan] is not bad, it is not doing so well either.” Reacting to this Ahsan Iqbal had pointed out that country’s economy was not army’s business.

Energy, economic situation of Pakistan improving:

Earlier on Saturday, Ahsan Iqbal said that energy projects will add 10,000 MW to the national energy supply that will help overcome the energy shortages, which will eventually improve economic productivity.

He said this while addressing a gathering at the Embassy Forum, organised by the Pakistan Embassy at Washington DC on Saturday. The event was attended by the participants from the US State Department, academia and members of the Pakistani-American diaspora.

The minister highlighted the economic gains and the security successes of Pakistan achieved in the last four years.  He also shared the various measures taken by the government, including energy projects that will add 10,000MW to the national energy supply.

Ahsan Iqbal was hopeful that power shortages could be fully overcome in the near future and by redressing the energy shortfall, the government is keen to boost economic productivity.

In his remarks, the minister shared the remarkable progress made by Pakistan in the macroeconomic sector through prudent fiscal policies which have resulted in the economic growth rate of over 5.3 per cent per annum. He informed that major economic projects are underway, such as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that would generate business opportunities for foreign investors in coming years.

He also said that security situation has improved considerably after successful military operations in the tribal areas as well as other parts of the country through the valiant efforts of Pakistan’s security forces. He added that through the determination of the entire nation, the country had reversed the tide of terrorism which had gripped it five years ago.

The minister also shared initiatives taken by the government to enhance education, women empowerment, health-care improvement and poverty reduction in Pakistan. He also sought support for the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor.

On Pak-US relations, the minister expressed hope that both countries would continue to work together in future as they had been strategic partners over the last seven decades.

Ambassador to US Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry thanked the minister for sharing his views on the occasion and helping to promote Pakistan’s positive image in the US.