Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa has allegedly pleaded with Washington to assist in securing an early disbursement of $1.2 billion in funds under an International Monetary Fund loan program, Nikkei Asia reported.
The Tokyo-based publication while quoting anonymous sources from both Pakistan and the US claimed that the army chief reached out to the US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on a phone call earlier in the week and appealed to her to expedite the $1.2bn dispersal by the IMF.
“The sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said Bajwa made an appeal for the White House and Treasury Department to push the IMF to immediately supply nearly $1.2 billion that Pakistan is due to receive under a resumed loan program,” Nikkei Asia claimed. Pakistan is yet to release an official statement on the report.
Read more: Like Pakistan, Bangladesh reaches out IMF
Important to note that this is not the first time that the government has approached the administration of President Joe Biden to restore the $6 billion loan program. Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail had met the US envoy in Islamabad seeking the US government’s influence over IMF in reviving the bailout package. However, COAS Bajwa apparently requesting help from the US over the IMF loan has put into question the incumbent government’s competency.
If true that army chief #Bajwa is asking the US for a favour re IMF, it raises following questions:
– Are country’s financial managers & foreign office team not competent enough to handle situation themselves
– Will the US require quid pro quo from Army chief. What will that be? pic.twitter.com/6w0SRIbMFH
— Javed Hassan (@javedhassan) July 29, 2022
Pakistan and IMF reach staff level agreement
Earlier, Pakistan and the IMF reached a staff-level agreement over the release of the funds to support the country’s fragile economy. The staff-level agreement will pave way for a $1.2 billion disbursement, which is expected in August.
As per reports, the IMF’s board meeting is expected in the third week of August and the pressure on the local currency has sparked a debate about whether Pakistan could default.
Pakistan agreed to take some very tough measures in order to revive the stalled IMF program, for instance removing subsidies on petroleum products. Recently, government officials confirmed to the media that the government will have to jack up the petroleum levy further from August 1, 2022, for implementing the last prior action of IMF.