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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Ahsan Iqbal’s beef with the military escalates

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal issued a statement on Friday condemning DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor’s comments on the state of Pakistan’s economy.

“DG ISPR should refrain from commenting on national economy,” said the minister during an informal meeting with journalists in Washington on Friday. “Irresponsible statements could hurt Pakistan’s global image,” he added.

Read More: Ahsan Iqbal-Rangers spat: Does it depict a civil-military tussle?

The Director-General of the Army’s media wing had previously pointed out that “If Pakistan’s economy is not bad, it’s not good either” during an interview on a private TV news channel.

Maj Gen Ghafoor’s observations echoed a recent speech by the Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa who said that Pakistan’s economy was inextricably linked with its security situation.

The statements coming from the military on the economic situation of Pakistan have clearly irked the government.

“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 favor,” Gen. Bajwa said while addressing the business community at an event in Karachi.

The statements coming from the military on the economic situation of Pakistan have clearly irked the government.

Curiously, out of the whole cabinet, the Interior Minister was the only one to lash out despite the fact that the economy does not fall under his remit. The incumbent Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has kept his silence and understandably so as he is embroiled in a NAB trial where he is facing scrutiny over the source of his assets.

Iqbal’s statements have also drawn criticism from opposition members. Imran Khan labeled the Interior Minister’s statements as an “unwarranted attack”.


The Interior Minister is also filling in for Dar (who as an indicted person, has become alienated on the international stage) at the annual IMF and World Bank meetings taking place in Washington.

Apparently, the Interior Minister has not let go of the grudge, which is reflected by his recent snub to the military.

Recently, Iqbal has been the leading figure in the confrontation between the government and the military. Tensions reached a peak when Iqbal was denied entry into the NAB court by a Rangers official where Maryam Nawaz’s trial hearing was taking place.

An infuriated Iqbal expressed his displeasure over this treatment and attacked the military while promising a “high-level” inquiry into the matter.

Read More: Iqbal vs Nisar: The deepening internal war?

Apparently, the Interior Minister has not let go of his grudge, reflected by his recent snub to the military.

However, the minister has yet to issue a statement regarding the recent ruckus caused by PML-N supporters and lawyers in front of the NAB court which forced the judge to abandon the hearing.

A group of lawyers and supporters of the PML-N tried to force their way into the NAB court which was supposed to be hearing Sharif family scion Maryam Nawaz’s case. The police attempted to stop this group as space was limited inside the court. The situation escalated into violence and a brawl ensued between the police and the lawyers after which the lawyers forcefully entered the premises of the court and surrounded the bench. This forced the judge to delay the proceedings to another date.

The Interior Minister has not addressed this situation up till now despite this being an issue that falls directly under his ministry’s ambit of responsibilities.