IMF interfering in our domestic political affairs: Pakistan Govt

State Bank of Pakistan. [File Photo]

Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Pakistan’s state minister for finance, referred to a top International Monetary Fund (IMF) official’s remarks on the importance of upholding the “rule of law” in the nation as “interference” in domestic politics on Wednesday.

Since Imran Khan was removed from office by a parliamentary no-trust vote last year, Pakistan has been experiencing severe political unrest.

Khan’s arrest on May 9 on suspicion of corruption caused violent protests by supporters, who set fire to government buildings and military facilities, further exacerbating the situation.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party was targeted by military authorities in the nation, who threatened to prosecute some of the party’s protesting members under military law.

Nathan Porter, the mission chief for the IMF in Pakistan, said in an interview this week that he hoped “a peaceful way forward is found in line with the constitution and rule of law” in the nation.

He was speaking about Pakistan’s progress towards unblocking a frozen IMF loan programme.

“I guess it is extraordinary what the IMF has said,” the Pakistani minister noted during brief media interaction in Islamabad. “The IMF usually doesn’t say such things.”

She maintained that “interference” in Pakistan’s internal affairs was not part of the IMF mandate.

“The IMF should not include these extraordinary things at the moment,” she added. “As for the rule of the law, we have to move ahead as per the rule of the law. We are promoters of democracy and we want the institutions to perform within the ambit of the constitution.”

Pasha said any delay in the $6.5 billion loan program signed in 2019 was neither in the interest of Pakistan nor the IMF.

The global lending agency is yet to release about $1.2 billion to help Pakistan’s cash-strapped economy since last November.

“We firmly hope to get the IMF bailout,” she continued. “We are in the [IMF] program, and certainly there is Plan B. It’s not like the finance ministry is sitting with its eyes closed.”

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