The army has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence.
Islamabad: Unfazed by Pakistan's powerful military, a leading newspaper has criticised army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa for "encroaching on the political realm" by taking sides, after he blamed "fiscal mismanagement" by the previous governments for the country's financial woes.
"We are going through difficult economic situation due to fiscal mismanagement. We have been shying of taking difficult decisions," he said at a seminar held at the National Defence University here on Friday.
This was General Bajwa's first comments on the cash-strapped economy of Pakistan after the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan last month nominated the Pakistan Army chief as a member of the National Development Council (NDC).
The powerful army, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.
But now, the military will play a greater role in the economic affairs of Pakistan as the government grapples with serious financial woes.
The NDC, head by the prime minister, is tasked with steering Pakistan out of the economic crisis. Pakistan is trying hard to avoid a balance of payments crisis, with the help of close allies like China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Islamabad is also negotiating a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund.
General Bajwa, in his keynote address, counted "perpetual security threats, inconsistent economic policies, poor economic discipline and lack of will to take difficult decisions in the past as major contributors to the economic situation the government is facing today."
The Dawn newspaper, in an editorial on Sunday, commented that General Bajwa's remarks "unnecessarily expose the military to accusations of encroaching on the political realm".