COAS calls on PM Shehbaz ahead of NSC meeting

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday ahead of the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting.

The premier and Army Chief exchanged views on matters related to the NSC – the highest forum to discuss issues of national importance.

Sources said Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt Gen Naveed Anjum has also reached the Prime Minister’s House where the high-powered huddle will be held.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will chair the NSC meeting and it will be attended by cabinet members, services chiefs and others. Sources said the heads of the intelligence agencies would brief the participants on overall security situation in the country.

They would also give briefing on security situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced elections on May 14 (in Punjab only) in line with the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Sources added that the ongoing economic turmoil would also come under discussion as Pakistan is reeling under record inflation amid delay in revival of the loan programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Pakistan’s loan programme is yet to materialise months after it imposed additional taxes and increased energy prices and allowed free floating of currency to meet conditions laid forth by the IMF. The nation has missed multiple deadlines to revive the deal. The Washington-based lender has asked the cash-strapped Pakistan to seek commitments for new loans from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) before it releases the funds.

However, hopes have rekindled for receiving the much-needed loan tranche stalled since last year as the global lender confirmed that it had received assurance from Saudi Arabia for providing new loan worth $2 billion to Pakistan.

Pakistan is now looking towards the UAE to secure another $1 billion deposit in order to reach the staff-level agreement (SLA) with the IMF.

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