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March 19, 2018

Pakistan all set to seek $2 bn from friendly country

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March 19, 2018

ISLAMABAD: With the general elections looming and the federal budget on the anvil, the government is all set to knock at the doors of friendly countries to rattle up two to three billion US dollars to meet international obligations, The News learnt.

Sources said that initially two friendly countries have been contacted and the response was optimistic. This will almost be the same arrangement as was managed during the early days of Musharraf government, The News learnt.

As per the arrangement being negotiated with a friendly country, a trusted friend of Pakistan has assured of depositing about $2 billion in its account as safe deposit as was done in 2000. It means that this amount will reflect in Pakistan’s account to keep its image positive but Pakistan will not be able to use this amount, sources confided.

Negotiations with the brotherly Muslim country having a generous attitude towards Pakistan in the past are also under way and there is expectation that a relief of about $1.5 billion will be provided to Pakistan. A source without giving details of this arrangement stated this was also done in past, when after nuclear tests, the US had slapped sanctions on Pakistan and there was a serious threat of default. At that time, a desperate Nawaz Sharif government had frozen the foreign currency accounts. This practice was also exercised during the Nawaz Sharif government in 1999. At that time, the brotherly country had requested not to make this arrangement public but Pakistan’s then secretary finance had immediately informed the US about this arrangement, sources confided.

Sources in the government told this correspondent that the government is worried about the situation and negotiation at senior level officers were initiated a couple of weeks ago. Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance Miftah Ismail, along with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan, visited the Muslim country. Later on, officials of Finance Ministry also visited this country where negotiations went ahead smoothly. Before these tours, the COAS Qamar Bajwa had also visited this country. And luckily these negotiations are going positively, have rather successfully concluded. Now final arrangements will be finalised by political leadership in the next couple of weeks, sources shared with The News. When questioned about political level, who will finalise the arrangement, sources added this is up to governments to decide at which level the agreement will be done. But initially all dialogues are going positive and after assurance of success of these negotiations, Pakistan has decided not to float bonds in the international market, sources confided.

When The News contacted Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance Miftah Ismail, he refused to comment.

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