Pakistan slams IMF meddling in internal affairs

Aisha Ghaus says Pakistan is acting as per the law n IMF deal to be signed before budget announcement

ISLAMABAD   -    Pakistan has slammed the Inter­national Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday for allegedly in­tervening in the country's inter­nal affairs, which is not the man­date of the international lender.

IMF Mission Chief for Pakistan Nathan Porter’s the other day had said in a statement, while the IMF does not comment on do­mestic politics, the Fund hopes "a peaceful way forward is found in line with the Constitution and the rule of law.” 

However, State Minister for Fi­nance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha has termed the IMF’s statement as interference in Pa­kistan’s internal affairs and said that the IMF mission chief’s statement is unusual. “Pakistan is acting according to the law,” she commented and termed it as ‘ex­traordinary’.

Talking to the media here, the State Minister hoped that Paki­stan and IMF would reach a staff level agreement before the an­nouncement of the federal bud­get to be unveiled on June 9. She further said that the delay is nei­ther good for Pakistan nor for the Fund. She confirmed that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has con­tacted IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva for the loan programme revival. Talking about the upcoming budget, she assured that the budget would provide relief to the people as this will be an “election year budget”. “IMF allows targeted subsidies to Pakistan,” she said. She fur­ther said that the IMF pro­gram will end on June 30. She explained that the Finance Ministry did not sit with its eyes shut and claimed, ‘if the deal with the IMF is not be reached then there is always Plan B.’ “Our priority is the IMF programme,” the Minis­ter of State for Finance clari­fied. According to the official, the government has shared the budget framework with the IMF after the Prime Min­ister had contacted the IMF Managing Director. The IMF has reportedly asked Paki­stan to eliminate the dual exchange rate system and present a revised budget­ary framework for the cur­rent fiscal year and the up­coming budget (2023-24) to reach a staff-level agreement. Pakistan and IMF have yet to reach a staff level agreement as both sides are continuous­ly negotiating since January 31 this year. The government had met all prior actions of the IMF. The government has taken all tough decisions in­cluding increasing power and gas prices massively and im­posing new taxation mea­sures worth Rs170 billion.

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