Friday June 21, 2024

PM praises COAS for 'key role' in securing $3bn from S Arabia, UAE

"If the deal with the IMF had not been settled then the matter would have been different," says premier

By Web Desk
July 03, 2023
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — AFP/File
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — AFP/File 

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday praised Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir in front of his cabinet meeting for the “key role” he played in securing $3 billion from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that led Pakistan secure the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.

“Army Chief General Asim Munir played a key role in bringing $2 billion from Saudi Arabia and $1 billion from the UAE,” the premier told his cabinet in a televised meeting.

He briefed the cabinet about the nine-month standby agreement that his government reached with the Washington-based lender last week. He also thanked IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva for her role in the bailout package.

“The first instalment from the IMF will be received in July,” PM Shehbaz told the ministers. He added that China helped Pakistan several months before the deal just like it has done in the past, adding that if Beijing had agreed to roll over $5 billion then things would have been different.

“If the deal with the IMF had not been settled then the matter would have been different,” he added.

However, the prime minister said that the nine-month agreement was a “temporary relief” for the country, adding that it was a moment of concern, not a matter of “pride”.

He also urged all the national institutions to make concerted efforts to rid the country of loans and put it on the course to progress.

“While keeping in their respective jurisdictions, the institutions should make united efforts for at least the next 15 years to address the country’s economic woes,” he went on to say. He added that the country’s deliverance from loans required a vision, unity, hard work and sacrifice by the affluent people.

“If we opt for this course, no one can stop Pakistan from achieving progress,” he remarked.

“I pray that this is the last IMF deal. But this is easier said than done,” he commented and mentioned that the state-owned enterprises like Steel Mills, PIA and others were eating up around Rs600 billion annually.

Premier Shehbaz said that during the remaining 40-42 days of the government’s term, the cabinet members should make efforts to leave behind a policy framework providing a roadmap and a vision for future development.

PM demands action from Sweden

The prime minister said the whole Muslim Ummah including the government and people of Pakistan strongly condemned another incident of burning a copy of the Holy Quran in Sweden.

“We demand immediate action against the perpetrator. Unfortunately, this is not the first time a similar incident had also taken place in the past,” he remarked.

He also demanded of the Swedish government to take notice of the Islamophobic and hateful narratives against the Muslim population in its country.

PM Shehbaz also appreciated the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for convening an urgent meeting on the issue and said that Pakistan endorsed their meeting and decision, with the hope that such Islamophobic incidents did not recur in the future.