The caretaker government is hopeful of successfully concluding the upcoming review of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) scheduled next month, interim Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said Tuesday.
An IMF mission led by Nathan Porter will visit Pakistan from November 2-16 to discuss the first review of the country's current $3 billion standby arrangement (SBA).
Pakistan is trying to navigate a tricky path to economic recovery under a caretaker government in the wake of an IMF loan programme, approved in July, that helped avert a sovereign debt default.
Under the programme, the country received $1.2 billion from the IMF as the first tranche in July.
“We have achieved the targets and the revenue targets have been met. We are quite comfortable that our negotiations for the second tranche will conclude very successfully,” the interim prime minister told the journalists.
On inflation, the interim prime minister said that it would be “unfair” if someone says that there has been no decline in the inflation rate.
He added that he had received reports of a decline in the prices of essential items which he said was because of the appreciation of the rupee against the dollar and a decrease in the price of petroleum products.
The PM also asked journalists to calculate the impact of the local unit's appreciation against the greenback on the circular debt. He shared that the strict actions against the smuggling taking place through the Afghan transit trade had helped the local industry as productivity was back on track.
The PM said due to the smuggling the local mills, which he used as an example, were unable to compete against smuggled items and were forced to shut down.
“These are all indicators that are going positive,” said Kakar.
The prime minister also spoke about the deadline given to the illegal foreigners residing in Pakistan, saying that they are welcome to return with a valid visa.
“A citizen of any country can come to Pakistan with a visa,” said the caretaker premier. He also reiterated that Pakistan was not sending registered Afghan refugees back to their country.
“Illegal residents have been given time to go back. These people should go back and come legally,” said Kakar. He added that no country in the world allows illegal people to live in their country.
The premier also reiterated that Pakistan gave time to the illegal foreigners to return to their country and did not coerce them into leaving by going after their businesses or any other means.
“We have not banned them completely; they should go to their country and get a visa and then they can come,” said Kakar.
The provincial and federal authorities are set to expel illegal immigrants who are left with less than 24 hours to leave the country as the clock ticked down to the November 1 deadline set for the “aliens”.
The Ministry of Interior, earlier this month, had asked illegal immigrants to leave Pakistan voluntarily by October 31 (today) or face deportation.
The government has consistently maintained that the decision was not centric to only illegal Afghan nationals that had been staying inside the country but encompassed all those undocumented and illegal foreigners.
Pakistan hosted more than four million Afghan refugees on its soil for the last 40 years under the Geneva Convention, despite the fact that it was not a signatory to that, according to Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar.
A day earlier, he said more than one million foreigners had been categorised as illegal who had been staying in Pakistan without legal and valid documents.
From October 1 to 28, as many as 4,672 families consisting of 67,604 people returned to Afghanistan, they added.
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