‘If this is an IMF budget, then who has tied us with the IMF?’: Pakistan minister blasts Imran Khan for economic turmoil
Pakistan Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman claimed that the PTI government had tied the new government to the worst IMF agreement and then violated it. Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)
Pakistan Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman on Wednesday accused Imran Khan’s policies of bringing the country on the verge of bankruptcy and said that they are left with no choice but to accept the budget on the terms of International Monetary Funds.
While taking part in a debate on the federal budget for the fiscal year 2022-2023 in the Pakistan National Assembly, Rehman said, “This is absolutely an IMF budget. There is no doubt about it,” Dawn reported. Besides the Climate Change Minister, almost all the lawmakers criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government and its leader Imran Khan for allegedly ruining the country’s economy.
“If this is an IMF budget, then who has tied us with the IMF?” Rehman asked while alleging that the PTI government during its four-year regime, had taken the country towards a default. She further said that PTI was still waiting to create anarchy in the country after leaving its economy on the ventilator.
According to the publication, the federal minister justified the decision of her party to form the government after ousting Imran Khan from the throne despite knowing that they might have to pay a heavy price for the next general elections and warned that otherwise, the country was heading towards a default like Sri Lanka.
“Pakistan was heading downwards with a great speed like a train on a slippery slope…The new unity government has only put brakes and nothing else. This is called crisis management,” Rehman said, adding that no government wanted to put the burden on its masses. At the same time, she told the house that the nation would have to bear some more difficult decisions.
Rehman claimed that the PTI government had tied the new government to the worst IMF agreement and then violated it, leaving the country exposed to the entire multilateral financial system, according to Dawn.
“Unfortunately, even after leaving the economy in tatters, they continue to stoke fires of political instability in the country, which is extremely dangerous for Pakistan, especially now,” she said.
“When they (PTI) came to power they said they would end corruption. Instead, Pakistan now ranks 140th in the Transparency International Corruption Index, from its previous place of 117th. Let us not forget the foreign gifts that Imran Khan bought at steep discounts only to sell them abroad,” Rehman said, adding the PTI made promises with the IMF, took loans, and spent money on unsustainable programmes.
“This is a poisoned chalice that the PTI has left for us, but as it has in the last two months, this government will take those difficult decisions; there will be hard times and harder times before we get to stabilisation,” the federal minister said as quoted by Dawn.
She noted that over 70 years, the different governments had negotiated about 23 IMF programmes but always tried to put the minimum burden on the common man.
Notably, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Miftah Ismail presented the budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 (FY23) in the National Assembly on Friday.