Gibran nayar pessimum
KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishak Dar said on Saturday that he would not attend the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank at the order of the prime minister, citing the country’s political situation. He said he had canceled a trip to Washington.
However, Dahl said he will attend key bilateral and multilateral meetings virtually and a Pakistani delegation will be in Washington.
Pakistan is on the brink of default, an International Monetary Fund bailout program has stalled since November, and a bitter political battle has raged between the government and former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Mr Dahl said the crisis was exacerbated by a recent Supreme Court order rejecting plans to postpone two state legislative elections scheduled for next month. The order created a conflict between the government and the courts.
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“We as a country are in a strange turmoil…that is why, under these circumstances, by order of the Prime Minister, I have canceled my plans to be there. [in Washington] Physically,” Dahl said in a televised address.
The minister rejected reports that the canceled trips were linked to the stalling of Pakistan’s IMF relief program.
He added that the “constitutional crisis” had been caused by the Supreme Court, which demanded that election officials provide 21 billion Pakistani rupees ($74 million) to hold the vote by Monday.
Dahl said the Pakistani side has completed all the requirements of the IMF’s program review to release more than $1.1 billion in critical funds for the cash-strapped country.
He said all that remained was confirmation by one country to provide $1 billion to Pakistan to strengthen its foreign account requirements. He added that he is confirming that
Dahl did not name the two countries, but Pakistan’s undersecretary of finance said on Thursday that Saudi Arabia had informed the IMF of its promise to provide loans to Pakistan.
Local media widely reported that Saudi Arabia contributed $2 billion, while the United Arab Emirates was waiting for confirmation of $1 billion.
The minister said a staff-level agreement would be reached once the $1 billion is confirmed. He denied there were other pending issues.
Pakistan is in dire need of funds as its foreign exchange reserves amount to around $4.2 billion.
(This article has been resubmitted to remove extra words in paragraph 2)
($1 = 283.5000 Pakistani Rupees)
(Reporting by Gibran Pessimum; Editing by Toby Chopra and Christina Fincher)
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