Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar continued with his “contradictory” approach with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), alleging that geopolitics was behind a stalled loan programme as global institutions wanted Islamabad to default like Sri Lanka and then enter negotiations.
Testifying before the Senate’s standing committee on finance, he once again stressed that the country would meet its obligations with or without the Fund’s bailout package, Dawn news reported.
He said no reason had been given by the IMF for the “unnecessary delay” behind the ninth review, which has been pending since November 2022.
“IMF or no IMF, Pakistan will not default,” he added.
Dar made it clear that “Pakistan is a sovereign country and cannot accept everything the IMF demands”, The News reported.
He said that as a sovereign country, Islamabad should have the right to give some tax concessions.
“The IMF wants us not to give tax concessions in any sector,” he added.
About the widespread rumours of default, the Minister claimed that geopolitics was aimed at forcing Pakistan to default.
“Foreign hostile elements want Pakistan to turn into another Sri Lanka and then the IMF will negotiate with Islamabad,” Dar alleged.
However, he made it clear Pakistan would not become another Sri Lanka at all, The News reported.
He said the Chinese understand that “politics is being played with Pakistan”, so they rolled over deposits and re-financed the commercial loans.
Earlier, they were also hesitant on moving ahead, he noted.
“IMF or no IMF, there are difficulties but we will manage,” he claimed.
The IMF, he said, was delaying the revival of the programme and wasting time.
“There are no valid reasons for delaying the 9th Review of the IMF, and the Fund staff approach is non-professional,” he said and added that he had categorically refused to share the budgetary details with the IMF without completion of the pending 9th Review.
However, when the prime minister instructed him after a telephonic conversation with the IMF MD, then he had to share the budgetary framework, The News reported.