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Pakistan irked as IMF ‘shifts goalposts’

The Authorities are extremely annoyed at the latest situation, describing it as ‘maltreatment’….reports Asian Lite News

The Pakistan government has been trying to put on a brave face in its struggle to unlock critical funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but background discussions with officials reveal the administration is quite nervous beneath its confident exterior, as it finds it increasingly difficult to convince the Fund to release a loan instalment.

The IMF has changed interpretations of at least four prior actions ahead of reaching a staff-level agreement (SLA) on the direly needed economic bailout, reports Dawn news.

Sources say the authorities are extremely annoyed at the latest situation, describing it as ‘maltreatment’.

“We are members of the IMF, not beggars or else our membership be discarded,” commented a disgruntled senior official.

Another official even likened the situation to that in 1998, when Pakistan’s economic difficulties worsened in the wake of nuclear tests, and default seemed imminent.

Officials have also suggested that the IMF wanted to support the poor publicly, but had been insisting on some measures that would ultimately hit the low-income segments, Dawn reported.

They, however, concede that a gap in Islamabad’s diplomatic efforts, combined with Pakistan’s credibility gap and trust deficit following the reversal of agreed policy actions in the past, were key factors that pushed some capitals to work for the country’s “meltdown”.

As per the sources, authorities have secured $1.3 billion inflows in three tranches from Chinese banks, on top of the $700 million that has already been received.

This would flow in two equal instalments of $500 million and then $300 million with a gap of a few days.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates would also be made available over $3 billion, Dawn reported.

The coercive situation is no different than in 1998 when the West wanted “Pakistan’s denuclearisation” and moved behind the scenes to punish the nation for nuclear tests, an official said, adding that this time some powers had the nation’s missile programme in mind.

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