ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif is in the eye of storm since his Ufa meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and now his long stay and spending Eid in Saudi Arabia has brought him under severe criticism in media.

On the other hand, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif was conspicuous in national media for his popular activities like spending time with the families of martyrs of Army Public School in Peshawar and joining the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in their Eid festivities.

These activities seemed by a few in political circles with suspicion, as according to them, the growing role of Armed Forces of Pakistan in the government affairs would not go well with the democratic order in the country.

A ruling party parliamentarian saw nothing wrong in the public image building of the army chief as Armed Forces of the country are part of the government and if Armed Forces as an institution are engaged in some public welfare projects or relief activities be it for the rehabilitation of IDPs or reaching out to the flood affected people it would be taken as the government's achievements.

About the growing criticism on the prime minister in national media primarily for staying so long away from the country and even celebrating Eid in Saudi Arabia instead of spending it here with his own people, particularly those in trouble, he said that such a criticism was out of place as the whole cabinet members had spent Eid in the country and some of the cabinet members had spent Eid with IDPs on the instruction of the Premier while many of his colleagues were monitoring the devastations caused by monsoon rains and floods in various parts of the country.

To a question, he dispelled the impression that ruling PML-N was perturbed over the projection of COAS image in media and his proactive role in things which army generals usually avoid. Adding that as the relations between the Army Chief and Prime Minister are smooth and cordial, so he saw nothing wrong and no negative fallout of all this on the incumbent dispensation.

On the other hand, parliamentary sources saw the proactive role of Army Chief in social activities like spending time with the parents of Army Public School martyrs and his spending Eid with IDPs recently rehabilitated in Waziristan Agency and its projection on media a bit unusual.

On the other hand, the Prime Minister was under clouds for quite some time and since the Ufa meeting with his Indian counterpart he was grilled by both the print and electronic media for his casual attitude towards the important national issues. He had spent well over a week in Saudi Arabia before Eid in the face of serious problems back home, one of his critics said.

Although the ruling PML-N leaders defended Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif on this count but some of them admitted that he (PM) should not stay out of the country for so long on a private visit, especially when the country is in the thick of serious problems.

A veteran parliamentarian from an opposition party recalled that last year too Premier Sharif had spent last 10 days of holy month of Ramazan in Saudi Arabia, when Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf was busy preparing its plan of invading Federal Capital and staging a sit-in.

Had Premier Sharif stayed back instead of spending time in Saudi Arabia, he could have managed the things in much better fashion.

He rubbished all those who are drawing parallels between the two Sharifs (Premier and COAS) as, according to him, both are part of the same government. But he expressed his concern over the political government's failure in handling the jobs purely in the domain of civvies, as the vacuum created due to the slackness on part of political people is wisely and swiftly being filled by the men in khakis, which is surely not a good sign for the democratic order in the country.