• Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Imran Khan supports bailout deal after meeting IMF officials

IMF’s resident representative said that the meetings with political parties were to “seek assurances of their support for the key objectives under a new program”

Khan’s government deviated from agreements under an earlier IMF programme days before he was ousted in a parliamentary vote last year (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By: Eastern Eye

PAKISTAN’S main opposition leader and former prime minister Imran Khan expressed support for a recently-reached bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after a meeting with officials of the lender last Friday (7), his party said.

The IMF said it was, in the lead up to national elections in the autumn, seeking the support of Pakistan’s political parties, including Khan’s, for the new nine-month $3 billion (£2.32bn) stand-by arrangement and policies associated with the programme.

Hammad Azhar, a former finance minister under Khan, who attended the meeting virtually, said in a post on Twitter that the former prime minister and his economic team had discussed last week’s staff-level deal between the IMF and Pakistan’s government.

“In this context we support the overall objectives and key policies,” Azhar said, adding the meeting at Khan’s residence in Lahore was attended in person by IMF officials while mission chief Nathan Porter joined virtually.

Earlier, the IMF’s resident representative Esther Perez Ruiz said that the meetings with political parties were to “seek assurances of their support for the key objectives and policies under a new IMF-supported program ahead of the approaching national elections.”

The new deal, which will be vital to help stabilise Pakistan’s struggling $350bn (£271bn) economy, was approved by the IMF board on Wednesday (12).

The programme looks to replace a four-year ‘extended financing facility’ programme, originally signed by Khan’s government in 2019, and which expired last month.

Khan’s government deviated from agreements under an earlier IMF programme days before he was ousted in a parliamentary vote last year, leading to a delay in the implementation of the programme and increased economic uncertainty.

Pakistan’s national elections are scheduled to be held by early November amid a charged political atmosphere that has seen Khan, the country’s main opposition leader, in a bruising standoff with the government and the powerful military.

The new programme will span three governments – the incumbent set up under prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, whose term ends in August, a caretaker administration that will conduct the polls, and then a new government following the elections.

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