- Finance minister says there will be 'no compromise' on Pakistan's nuclear and missile programmes
Federal Minister for Finance and Senator Ishaq Dar on Thursday said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is asking for the materialisation of commitments made by ‘friendly countries’ with Islamabad, which remains the “only delay” in resumption of the stalled programme.
Speaking during the Senate’s session today, Dar said: “At the time of previous reviews, certain friendly countries made commitments to bilaterally support Pakistan. But the IMF is now asking that they should actually complete and materialise those commitments.
“That’s the only delay,” the finance minister told the Senate.
The statement comes in response to queries raised by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani pertaining to the delay in agreement with the IMF.
“The moment the staff-level agreement (SLA) and Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP) [of IMF] will be finalised, it will be put on the website of the Ministry of Finance,” Dar said.
Earlier today, Dar had tweeted that the Ministry of Finance has completed documentation for the second disbursement of $500 million from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).
The finance minister said that the IMF programme “delay is not on the part of the Government of Pakistan”.
“It has been an extensive engagement, which is unusual, too long, and too demanding, but we have completed everything,” said Dar.
The IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) has been stalled since last year, but Islamabad remains engaged with the international lender. The bailout programme’s revival has been deemed crucial to stabilise the economy that has been hit by a severe dollar shortage in recent months with reserves held by the central bank falling to critical levels.
Last month, the IMF mission left Islamabad without inking the staff-level agreement, and instead, issued a short four-paragraph statement, stressing on timely completion of prior conditions.
‘No compromise on nuclear’
Senator Rabbani also asked if the delay in the IMF programme was due to “some sort of pressure to be exerted on Pakistan’s nuclear or is it that there is some pressure on the strategic relationship between us and China? Or is it that some imperial power in the new context of the world order want a presence in the region?”
Dar responded that there will be “no compromise” on the country’s nuclear and missile programmes.
“Let me assure you that … nobody is going to compromise anything on the nuclear or the missile program of Pakistan, no way!” he said.
“We are responsible citizens of Pakistan, we are here to protect and guard our national interest.”
“Nobody has any right to tell Pakistan what range of missiles it can have, and what nuclear weapons it can have. We have to have our own deterrence,” he added.