Tuesday June 25, 2024

US says Pakistan will have to make its own decisions to unlock IMF funding

Ned Price responds to question about accusations against US not using "friendly influence" with IMF to help Pakistan

By Web Desk
March 09, 2023
US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price. — AFP/File
US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price. — AFP/File

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price says that ultimately Pakistan will have to make its own decisions to unlock funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Price was responding to a question during a press briefing about accusations against the United States on not using its "friendly influence" with the IMF to help Pakistan because of tensions between the US and China.

"We encourage Pakistan to continue working with the IMF, especially on reforms that will improve Pakistan’s business environment," he continued, saying that the US believed that doing so will make Pakistani business "more competitive" and help Pakistan attract high-quality investment.

"But more value than the potential investment dollars are the technologies, are the market connections and management systems that accompany foreign investment," he said, adding that they improve the competitiveness of partnering Pakistani firms, fueling economic growth that increases employment and household incomes.

"We believe that by continuing down this path and continuing to make the necessary decisions – economic decisions – that Pakistan can put itself, with the support of the international community, of course with the support of the United States, on a path to sustainable growth," he said.

Is US worried 'strategically important' Pakistan could fail?

Considering the major economic issues and political and security challenges currently faced by Pakistan, Price was asked if the US was worried that the "strategically important" country could fail.

"We are a partner to Pakistan. We have been there for Pakistan since its independence. We seek a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Pakistan. We know that the Pakistani people are facing tremendous hardship, including economic hardship. We continue to look for ways in which we can support the Pakistani people to rebuild and to deepen the economic partnership that has existed with the United States over the course of decades now," Price responded.

He mentioned that Pakistan is also working with international financial institutions like the IMF to put itself on a sustainable growth path. 

"But when it comes to economic challenges, when it comes to security challenges, when it comes to political challenges, the United States is ready and able to continue to be a partner to the people of Pakistan and to our Pakistani counterparts as well," he said.

On Aurat March

On a question about whether he was aware of the violence that took place in Pakistan during the Aurat March and news of the police being involved, Price responded that the US is "aware" of reports about clashes in Lahore ahead of a "planned rally by former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan".

Price was asked if the US would raise the issue with the allies in Pakistan and the Pakistani government.

"We encourage all to exhibit restraint. We offer our condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and wish a speedy recovery to those who were injured in this," Price responded.

On whether he would talk to the government on upholding democratic values, Price commented: "It is a constant topic of discussion with our counterparts around the world, including in Pakistan, the importance of upholding the universal rights of citizens around the world, including the right to peaceful assembly".