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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

IMF seeks support from political parties over funding to Pakistan

IMF resident representative meets with political leaders, seeking their support ahead of final approval of new $3B stand-by agreement

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) team on Friday met with leaders of major political parties in Pakistan to get assurances of support for key objectives ahead of final approval of a new $3-billion stand-by agreement crucial to save the country from default.

IMF resident representative for Pakistan Esther Perez Ruiz met the representatives of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), a major partner of the ruling coalition.

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Ruiz met the PPP’s finance team to discuss the stand by agreement and the party agreed to support the program in “larger natural interest,” Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar said in a tweet.

The IMF team also met Imran Khan, former prime minister and the main opposition leader, and his team on Friday.

The IMF team called on Khan at his Zaman Park residence, said Hammad Azhar, a key leader of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

“The meeting lasted for more than an hour … and in this context we support the overall objectives and key policies,” he added.

Earlier, Ruiz said the meeting with political parties sought their support for major policy objectives under the new agreement.

Read more: Pakistan Set to Become the 4th Biggest IMF Debtor as it Secures $3 Billion Funding

“IMF staff are in the process of meeting with representatives of the major political parties in Pakistan, including PML-N, PPP, and PTI, to seek assurances of their support for the key objectives and policies under a new IMF-supported program ahead of the approaching national elections,” local daily Dawn quoted her as saying.

Last month, Pakistan and IMF reached a $3 billion stand-by arrangement, a long-awaited development to keep the country’s economy afloat.

The deal, subject to approval by the IMF board, as its meeting is likely to held next week, will help prop up the South Asian country’s depleting foreign reserves, and contain a mounting balance of payment crisis.

The $3-billion funding, which comes after an eight-month delay, is higher than the remaining $2.5 billion from a $6.5-billion bailout package agreed in 2019, which expired last month.