Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan was very hopeful of finalising a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this month.
“We are still very hopeful that the IMF program will materialise. Our ninth review by the IMF will match all terms and conditions and, hopefully, we’ll have some good news this month,” he said during an interview with an international news media agency.
Pakistan, in April 2022, was on the verge of default because the government of the day had violated the IMF agreement and the economy was in tatters, he maintained.“We have met all conditionalities. I repeat, each and every requirement of the IMF as prior actions has been met,” he asserted.
“Some of those actions are usually met after the board’s approval, but this time the IMF required that those actions be met before the board’s approval, so we have met them,” he was quoted by the news agency as saying.
The PM said his government had been able to navigate the challenges faced by Pakistan in the best possible fashion with the help of its people and brotherly and friendly countries."Pakistan had been facing a plethora of problems since April 2022, when the current government took over after former prime minister was ousted in a no-trust vote," he added.
“The issues are the result of the previous (PTI) government’s policies,“ he said.
Prime Minister Sharif said “Then we had devastating floods in August 2022. Combined with that we are facing galloping inflation, because of the international situation.”
The prime minister was in Ankara for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inauguration ceremony.
The prime minister said the people of Pakistan had faced challenges in the past, and if needed, would tighten their belt and rise again.
About May 9 vandalism, he said PTI chief faced charges of “serious corruption, malpractice, and wheeling-dealing,” stressing that the “law had to deal with this.” Former PM, for a period of time, had been preparing his people mentally, his bunch of thugs as he would call them, to react violently, in case he (IK) was arrested, the prime minister added.
Prime Minister Sharif said the PTI chief planned this very serious act against the state of Pakistan, incited his people, and there’s evidence beyond any doubt. "Former PM’s supporters were instructed to torch buildings, attack institutions, and desecrate graves and monuments," he added.
“Those people who have attacked civilian installations will be tried under civilian law, and those people who attacked military installations and desecrated institutions will be tried under the military act,” the prime minister further elaborated.
About cases under the Military Act, the PM explained that "once the judge awards punishment, the defendant has two appeals – one in the high court and then in the Supreme Court of Pakistan". "The bottom line of this entire process was ensuring justice so that such thing could never took place in Pakistan, for the rest of their lives," he added.
Would any civilized country allow this kind of vandalism against the state, which happened on May 9 in Pakistan, he questioned.
The prime minister cited an example of incidents that took place on January 6, 2021 at Capitol Hill in Washington.Were not those perpetrators being tried and given severe punishments so that such an act could never happen again in the history of the United States, he asked.
The PM also congratulated the people of Mr Erdogan’s reelection, hailing it as a “wonderful development.”
“I will work very closely with my brother, Mr Erdogan, a visionary leader and a man of commitment who believes in public service. I hope our relations will enhance to a much higher level in terms of brotherhood, understanding, and economic cooperation,” he said.
He further said“I always maintain, and I mean it, that our two brotherly countries are like one soul with hearts that beat together. We speak different languages, but we understand what we’re saying through our hearts. So, I think it’s a great opportunity.”
He expressed the confidence that both countries would boost cooperation in the near future to enhance trade and foster mutual growth by focusing on areas such as biogas, solar energy, and hydropower.