LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has stated that there is no other option but to fulfil the “tough” conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as Pakistan is going through a difficult time.
He made these remarks while addressing a ceremony after reviewing the construction work on the six-lane overhead bridge of Imamia Colony railways crossing Shahdra N-5. PM Shehbaz emphasized that Pakistan has now met all the conditions laid forth by the IMF and the lender has “no excuse” to delay the staff-level agreement.
The premier stated that hard efforts are being made to restart the IMF program and to secure a much-awaited bailout tranche from the Washington-based lender.
Pakistan signed a $6.5 billion bailout package with the IMF in 2019, but has repeatedly failed to fulfil conditions, and so far, only $3 billion has been released.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) confirmed financial support of $1 billion to Pakistan a day earlier, making it the third country, after Saudi Arabia and longtime ally China, to come to the cash-strapped nation’s assistance. These commitments were one of the IMF’s last requirements before approving a staff-level pact to release a tranche of $1.1 billion that has been delayed for months and is crucial for Pakistan to resolve an acute balance of payments crisis.
PM Shehbaz praised Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, stating that the federal ministers were putting in efforts to complete the last condition regarding securing financial guarantees from “key” friendly countries. The premier expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia and the UAE for their assistance and also acknowledged China’s prompt approval of the $2 billion roll-over.
PM Shehbaz said that Pakistan was not created to run on debts and act like beggars because their forefathers and different generations had given sacrifices for the motherland. He urged the nation to decide whether it would depend on foreign debts or want to stand on its feet by carving a niche among the comity of nations with honesty, dedication, and hard work. The prime minister hoped that Pakistan would soon reach a staff-level agreement with the Washington-based lender, but also prayed that the country of 220 million gets rid of the IMF’s shackles.