Wednesday February 21, 2024

'IMF deal' on table if PTI forms govt again

If PTI forms govt again it will have no choice but to go for IMF deal, admits Fawad Chaudhry

January 03, 2023
PTI Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry. — AFP/Files
PTI Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry. — AFP/Files 

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry said Tuesday that if the PTI comes into power again, it will have no choice but to seek financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Chaudhry's comment comes at a time when an economic crisis looms large on Pakistan's horizon: default risk threatens the country, forex reserves have plunged to record lows — covering merely a month's imports — and the rupee continues to depreciate against the US dollar.

Financial pundits, voicing concerns since the ouster of the previous government, say the country's financial side will remain vulnerable until there is political stability.

The incumbent government has tried to get the IMF programme back on track and is trying to complete the ninth review, however, the Fund and Islamabad have not made any headway so far.

During an interview on a private television channel, Chaudhry said that if the PTI government is formed, it will have to go to the IMF for assistance to overcome the economic crisis.

This statement came on the same day that the PTI chief Imran Khan, while addressing the launch of PTI’s white paper via video link said: “Instead of going to the IMF, attention should be paid to exporters.”

Advising the ruling government in the centre about its decisions regarding the IMF, Khan had said that approaching the lender raises the issue of autonomy.

“When going to the IMF, one has to adhere to their orders. You cannot make your own decisions,” Khan had said during the address.

However, last week, lashing out at the coalition government’s economic policies, Khan had warned that the country will default if it does not enter into a programme with the IMF.

It is pertinent to note here that before coming to power in 2018, Khan had been a scathing critic of taking loans and assistance from the IMF and other countries.

Punjab CM's vote of confidence

Chaudhry also said that the Punjab Assembly session has been called on January 9 instead of January 11 so that they can go to court with a vote of confidence in favour of Punjab Chief Minister Pervez Elahi.

The session on January 9, will be focused entirely on the vote of confidence against the chief minister since the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) has already withdrawn the no-confidence motion against the Punjab Assembly speaker and deputy speaker due to its inability to gather enough votes.

Speaking on the matter, Chaudhry said: "After taking the vote of confidence, the next stage will be the dissolution of the assembly.”

The Lahore High Court (LHC) reinstated Elahi as the chief minister on December 23, following his de-notification the day before, after it had taken a written undertaking from him that he would not dissolve the assembly.

The court was of the opinion that this move could deepen the ongoing political turmoil in the province.

Following Elahi’s instating, the court had decided that the next hearing of the case of de-notification would be on January 11.