LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said in an interview on Tuesday that if the PTI government is formed, it will have no recourse but to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Chaudhry's comment comes as a default risk looms over Pakistan, the rupee continues to depreciate against the US dollar, and forex reserves have plunged to record lows—covering merely a month's worth of imports.
Financial pundits, voicing concern 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 PTI chief Imran Khan while addressing the launch of the PTI’s white paper via video link, said: "Instead of going to the IMF, attention should be paid to exporters."
In advising the ruling government in the centre on its IMF decisions, Khan stated that approaching the lender raises the issue of autonomy. "When going to the IMF, one has to adhere to its 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 that before coming to power in 2018, Khan had been a scathing critic of taking loans and assistance from the IMF and other countries.
Chaudhry also said that the Punjab Assembly session has been called for January 9 instead of January 11 so that they can go to court with a vote of confidence in favour of Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi.
The session on January 9 will be focused entirely on the vote of confidence against the chief minister since the Pakistan Muslim League (PMLN) has already withdrawn the no-confidence motion against the Punjab Assembly speaker and deputy speaker due to its inability to gather enough votes.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 had reinstated Pervaiz Elahi as the chief minister on December 23, following his de-notification the day.
The court thought that this move could deepen the ongoing political turmoil in the province. The court scheduled the next hearing in the case of de-notification for January 11.
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