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ISLAMABAD: Former premier and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, on Thursday, asked the government to take the parliament into confidence on its reported deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) allegedly by linking the Fund’s loans with provision of airbases to the United States to continue its presence in the region following withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan.

Speaking at a news conference, the former premier pointed out that a foreign media outlet has claimed Pakistan has allegedly struck a deal with the IMF after agreeing to providing bases to the US upon its troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan to continue its presence in the region.

“The government needs to give explanation in the parliament, as it has been reported that we have compromised our security for availing the IMF loans by agreeing to provide bases to the US in return,” Abbasi claimed.

The former premier’s statement comes following Financial Times, while quoting Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, claimed that military cooperation with the US over America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan had given Imran Khan’s government “some space” to delay unpopular

IMF reforms and that Pakistan is in talks with the IMF to release the next tranche of funding as part of a $6 billion loan programme.

The report also claimed that “Officials are seeking US support in the form of financial backing from the Washington-based international financial institution in exchange for helping President Joe Biden withdraw all US troops by September 11 and bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table.”

Quoting US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, the FT further claimed that the US and Pakistan have had “constructive discussions” about “the future of America’s capabilities”.

Those include a base in Pakistan that Washington had asked Islamabad to use to launch counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan, it added.

Tarin, however, denied the report, saying a rebuttal was being issued.

“Had it been the PML-N government today, the country’s GDP would have crossed $358 billion and it would have not struck deals for the IMF loans at the cost of Pakistan’s security,” he maintained, adding if it was the PML-N government in power, the country’s foreign policy would have been independent and it would have been able to speak independently on Kashmir and the country would have an independent policy on Afghanistan.

Abbasi also lashed out at the PTI government’s “incompetence” to generate cheaper electricity, which had resulted in rise in the shortfall and prolonged load shedding across the country.

He pointed out that even Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were not generating the electricity from diesel, but the government had continued to produce electricity from diesel instead of LNG.

He also claimed that Pakistan was currently generating 24,000MW electricity of which 12,000MW was added to the system by the former PML-N government.

He further stated that power tariff had been increased and furnace oil-based plants were being run on diesel, while circular debt had increased by 150 percent.

He said there was an increase of Rs1,500 billion in circular debt during the PTI government.

Commenting on the government’s economic survey released on Thursday, he said the economic survey was not much needed as the people of the country were suffering from the worst load shedding, adding the government was incompetent to the extent that it changed seventh minister of the Ministry of Energy.

Abbasi deplored the alleged indifference of the rulers towards the people.

“They are just indifferent to the people because they came to power by stealing the 2018 general elections.

They have no concerns for the miseries of the people because they were imposed on the people as a result of the rigged 2018 elections,” he maintained.

To a question, he said the forthcoming budget was being presented by an “unrepresentative” government.

“How can one say it would be a people-centric budget, when it is being presented by an unrepresentative government,” he asked, adding the opposition would resist the budget both within and outside the parliament.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021