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“Did you know that you can call three or even more people at the same time and, if you wish, neither of those you call would know how many or who are on the same line.”

“No I didn’t know — I am technologically challenged but I am impressed that you know – you must have worked for a multilateral like the International Monetary Fund to be so aware of these advancements.”

“You being facetious?”

“Good heavens know — I wouldn’t dare. But why did you mention it?”

“To educate you, as you know Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (MMNS), in his infinite wisdom, once said that those of my followers who keep abreast of technological advancements…”

“Never heard Mian sahib being referred to as MMNS…you are right that is certainly more respectful than just NS and let’s be honest the party’s name PML-N is even less respectful so I would urge MNS, which is how his daughter is referred to, to take up this critical matter with daddy and make the appropriate changes…”

“So the party would be what PML-MMNS? That’s a mouthful. It has to be easy for the voters…”

“Hmmm, anyway speaking of the IMF…”

“No comment and I will wait till the Fund uploads the press release on its website that the staff level agreement has been reached.”

“Why not wait for the memorandum of economic and financial policies…”

“That wait may be a tad longer though I am not sure but I think that is uploaded after the Fund’s Board has approved the disbursement of the tranche release and before that a staff level agreement has to be reached…”

“The Fund has uploaded the following on its website though not as a press release: Discussions between the IMF staff and the authorities on policies to strengthen macroeconomic stability in the coming year continue, and important progress has been made over the FY23 budget.”

“So no agreement…”

“Progress on the budget which means go back to the Article IV agreement dated 2 February 2022, so no phasing out or staggering the harsh upfront conditions, read Miftah Ismail has been as successful as Shaukat Train in renegotiating the harsh terms…”

“Be an optimist look as the glass as half full.”

“Oh that the agreement is about to be reached and the tranche about to be disbursed and…”

“No.”

“That we can now get an additional 36 to 37 billion dollar loans at better terms than…”

“Nope.”

“Then what?”

“I have never ever known the Fund to upload right at the top, before it uploads all relevant documents on a country, a two liner statement that is not highlighted as a press release…”

“Is that a technical correction or is that…”

“Don’t be facetious.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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