IMF should not interfere in Pakistan’s political, domestic affairs: Aisha Ghaus Pasha

Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha said Nathan PorterInternational Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission Chief to Pakistan, should not interfere in Pakistan’s political and domestic affairs.

Talking to media persons in Islamabad on Wednesday, the minister also said the government has not received any “official communication” from the IMF.

“We are only looking at the official communiqué, and no such statement has been given by the IMF in written or during the meetings,” she said.

The remarks come after IMF Resident Representative in Pakistan Esther Perez Ruiz shared a statement with Business Recordersaying that the statement answers a number of recent press questions.

“You can attribute to Nathan Portershe added.

The statement attributed to Porter stated: “We take note of recent political developments, and while we do not comment on domestic politics, we do hope that a peaceful way forward is found in line with the Constitution and the rule of law.

“Sustaining strong policies and obtaining sufficient financing from partners remain key for Pakistan to maintain macroeconomic stability.

“To this end, IMF staff continues the engagement with the Pakistani authorities to pave the way for a Board meeting before the current program expires at end-June,” read the statement.

A similar statement on Pakistan’s politics was also issued earlier in the aftermath of Imran’s arrest.

In response, Ghaus termed the IMF’s remarks as “extraordinary”, adding that the multilateral lender does not give such a statement “ordinarily”.

“This is an extraordinary thing, as we (government) are a supporter of democracy. We want all institutions to work under the parameters of the constitution and are moving forward under the rule of law,” she said.

Pasha added that the government remains engaged with the IMF at the technical level, and progress is being made.

“The government has conveyed to the IMF that the continuous delay in revival of the programme is not in the interest of both parties (Pakistan and the IMF). The uncertainty needs to end.

“We have clearly told IMF Managing Director (Kristalina Georgieva) that the government wants to complete the programme. The IMF chief has also conveyed that she wants to see progress,” she added.

The state minister said that the upcoming budget would be in the interest of Pakistan.

Background

In its latest statement to the media, the IMF said that import suppression in Pakistan is inflicting shortages of goods and plant closures, undermining economic activity and revenue collection.

This was stated by Esther Perez Ruiz, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Resident Representative in Pakistan, while responding to Business Recorder queries.

Pakistan’s bailout programme with the IMF has been stalled at the ninth review since November, while talks on the staff-level agreement have dragged on over securing necessary financing assurances to bridge the balance of payments’ gap.

Pakistan earlier said it has managed to secure $3 billion in commitments – Saudi Arabia’s $2 billion and another billion from the UAE – but reports suggested the amount was around half of what the lender wanted in assurance. The amounts are yet to be deposited with Pakistan’s central bank.

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