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Friday April 12, 2024

Certain IMF conditions too harsh for public: Ahsan Iqbal

Even India is not speculating about Pakistan's financial crisis but PTI and Imran Khan have launched a war against the country, says federal planning minister

By Web Desk
December 27, 2022
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal addressing the media in Lahore. — PID/ file
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal addressing the media in Lahore. — PID/ file

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has described some of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) conditions as "anti-people" and "too harsh" for the public.

Speaking on Geo News programme 'Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath', Iqbal hinted at further delay in reaching an agreement with the IMF on the ninth review. "The IMF programme is to be continued but some of the demands of the IMF are unbearable for the people," he said.

He said that the government is trying to negotiate and ease the conditions placed by the IMF.

He was asked to share the details regarding the ongoing talks with the Washington-based lender on the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

It was earlier reported that the IMF has shared a list of prerequisite actions asking the Pakistani authorities to move towards implementing them in the coming weeks if they want to revive the stalled loan programme.

The IMF has told the authorities that the time has come to take “all required actions.”

The report said that a timeframe of two to three weeks has been given to implement all required actions paving the way for a staff-level agreement and release of $1 billion tranche under the EFF.

PTI slammed for creating financial crisis

Iqbal further said that the establishment and judiciary have realised that the four-year experiment with the country has borne severe consequences.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader added that the PTI government did not make any long-term agreements when gas was cheap. "Still, when rates went up, they gave subsidies and plunged the country into a financial crisis," he said.

The federal minister claimed that 80% of Pakistan's total debt was taken during former prime minister Imran Khan's tenure, which the incumbent government has to handle now. He said that the finance ministry had shared in April that they don't have any development budget to release for the last quarter of 2021-22.

Ahsan said that everyone predicted a default when PTI broke the IMF contract. The PML-N government, he said, took politically unpopular decisions and saved the country.

"Even India is not speculating about Pakistan's financial crisis but PTI and Imran Khan have launched a war against the country."

He said that the finance ministry is determined to fulfil the IMF's conditions and resume the loan programme; however, they are trying to minimise the burden on the public as inflation is already at a historic high, and Pakistan has just suffered a natural disaster that caused damages worth $30 billion.