Imran Khan Faces IMF Snub


In another setback to Imran Khan, IMF refuses to interfere in Pakistan’s electoral dispute, reports Asian Lite News

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has refused to interfere in Pakistan’s domestic policies after Imran Khan-founded Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf demanded it review the country’s February 8 polls before sanctioning any new economic package, the Express Tribune reported.

However, the IMF has encouraged Islamabad to hold ‘fair resolution’ of all electoral disputes.

This comes after incarcerated former PM Imran Khan penned a letter to the IMF, urging the global lender to give the poll results a thorough once-over before cutting any new cheques for Islamabad.

“If the country gets a loan in such a situation, then who will return it?” he questioned, expressing concerns that such a loan could lead to an increase in poverty.

Khan warned that without substantial investment in the country, the burden of loans would continue to rise, underscoring the need for political stability.

While breaking its silence on the PTI’s attempt to involve the global lender in political matters, an IMF spokesperson instead showed readiness to negotiate the next medium-term programme with the newly-elected government.

“The IMF, as an international institution with a narrow mandate on economic issues, does not comment on domestic political developments,” said the IMF spokesperson while commenting on the letter written by the PTI.

The IMF said that it received a letter from a PTI spokesperson on February 28 regarding the Fund’s engagement with Pakistan under the programme, as reported by Express Tribune.

Notably, PTI has throughout termed the Feb 8 polls as ‘disputed’ while alleging a lack of ‘level playing field’. The party claims to have won about 177 seats as against 92, which were notified by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as independently elected members of the National Assembly. The PTI has also claimed to have documentary evidence of rigging in the elections and demanded that the IMF should play a role in conducting the investigations.

“Given the importance of the institutional environment for economic stability and growth, we do encourage the fair and peaceful resolution of all electoral disputes,” said the IMF spokesperson.

The IMF’s current USD 3 billion short-term bailout package is expiring before the middle of next month and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has already given a go-ahead to the Finance Ministry to begin discussions for signing a new Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

The last EFF had expired in June without the disbursement of the USD 2.6 billion loan amount due to Pakistan’s failure to meet the programme conditions.

The last loan tranche of $1.2 billion of the current programme remains undisbursed and the IMF is waiting for the formation of the federal cabinet before sending a mission to Pakistan.

“We look forward to engaging with the new government to complete the second review under the current Stand-by Arrangement and, should the government request, support the formulation of a new medium-term economic programme,” according to the IMF spokesperson.

The spokesperson said that the IMF’s aim is to support the implementation of strong policies to deepen financial stability, address long-standing economic and underlying balance of payments challenges, and restore sustained and inclusive growth for the benefit of all Pakistani citizens, Express Tribune reported. (ANI)

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