PTI has defended former federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin’s leaked audio call for allegedly “jeopardizing” Pakistan’s deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ahead of the lender’s Executive Board meeting scheduled for August 29 (today).
According to the details, Shaukat Tarin allegedly asked Punjab Finance Minister Mohsin Leghari to withdraw from the IMF deal. In the leaked audio, which is going viral on social media, Shaukat Tarin can be heard directing Leghari to tell the lender that the commitment Punjab made was pre-floods and now the province “cannot honor it”.
To clarify, ensuring surpluses by provinces this fiscal year is a key requirement previously agreed upon to revive the IMF program.
“You have signed a Rs750 billion [surplus] commitment with the IMF. You now need to tell them that the commitment you made was before the floods, and now [Punjab] has to spend a lot of funds for [the] floods [rehabilitation].”
“You need to say now that ‘we will not be able to honor our commitment’,” Tarin said, telling Leghari that this is all he wants – for pressure to increase on the incumbent government.
Shaukat Tareen asking Mohsin Leghari to withdraw from IMF commitments. If Pakistan defaults do they want long lines for petrols and food specially in the middle of these disastrous floods?
I asked when it came to KPK, how besharam did you need to be, well this besharam… pic.twitter.com/ItLKaMlhYY
— Ali Moeen Nawazish (@am_nawazish) August 29, 2022
Interestingly, another audio of Shaukat Tarin surfaced, this time, he was talking to KP Finance Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra, and asking him whether he had written the letter or not. Tarin directed Jhagra that the key point of his letter should be the floods and devastations in the province.
Earlier, Taimur Khan Jhagra wrote a letter to Finance Minister Miftah Ismail saying the provincial government could not fulfill the requirements of the IMF program due to various reasons.
— Murtaza Ali Shah (@MurtazaViews) August 29, 2022
Pertinent to mention that currently, PTI is in governance in KP and Punjab. The leaked audio calls have raised alarm and PTI is now being accused of hatching a conspiracy against the IMF deal which will lead to devastating financial repercussions for Pakistan.
Reacting to the audio clips, PTI leader Shireen Mazari said there was “nothing illegal or wrong” in the conversations since PTI has publicly opposed the IMF terms. She, however, did bring into question the illegal wiretapping done on the conversation which is a criminal offense.
So audio call btwn Tarin & prov FM leaked. There is nothing illegal or wrong in the convo. We have publicly opposed the terms on which imported govt is taking loan from #IMF. But what is illegal is the wire tapping done on conversation without court order. A criminal offence.
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) August 29, 2022
Soon after, PTI’s Secretary-General Asad Umar held a press conference with the KP Finance Minister and said Shaukat Tarin didn’t suggest anything wrong.
Asad Umar said Shaukat Tarin had asked both provincial finance ministers to request the federal government to renegotiate the IMF agreement due to the recent floods as the expenses required for relief operations would make achieving a provincial surplus difficult.
“Can anyone say this isn’t good advice?” Asad Umar questioned. He also slammed the government for “cutting, pasting and editing” audio and videos.
شوکت ترین نے دونوں وفاقی وزراء کو کہا کہ وفاقی حکومت کو کہیں کہ وہ آئی ایم ایف کے پاس جائیں اور ملک میں ناگہانی صورتحال سے متعلق آگاہ کر کے اس سال کے لیے رعایت لیں تاکہ ہم اپنا پیسہ سیلاب متاثرین کے لیے استعمال کر سکیں۔ @Asad_Umar pic.twitter.com/f6BDfDwieU
— PTI (@PTIofficial) August 29, 2022