Opposition rejects IMF deal

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Tariq Virk

Islamabad

The opposition parties on Monday rejected rejected a deal that the government struck with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about a $6bn bailout to implement an “ambitious structural reform agenda” over a period of 39 months.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said “The deal of IMF with the IMF has been successful and now an inflation bomb will be dropped on the people of Pakistan. Imran Khan, you handed over the country to the IMF for just $6 billion.”

Maryam Nawaz, a vice president of the PML-N, called the agreement a “complete sell-out of [the country’s] sovereignty” and added that it had been “rejected by the stock market”.

In a tweet, Maryam said that the incumbent government had led the country on a “brink of [an] economic disaster” in just nine months.

Pakistan Peoples’ Party Senior leader Khursheed Shah said, “Following the deal with the IMF, unbearable inflation will be seen in the country.”

“It seems that a tsunami of inflation will emerge out of the IMF bailout package,” said PPP’s Sherry Rehman and hoped that the ‘tsunami’ will not make the people slaves of the IMF.

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman also criticised the agreement and demanded the government to brief the Parliament over the conditions of the deal.

“Under what terms and conditions is the government pledging Pakistan and its institutions as collateral to the IMF?” she asked.

She further questioned the absence of senior officials of the finance ministry from the negotiations and predicted that a “tsunami of inflation” was about to come.

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Senator Sirajul Haq rejecting the agreement said the government had pledged the country with the IMF for a few billion dollars.

He announced that after Eidul Fitr, the JI would hold countrywide protest against IMF’s open interference in the country’s affairs. Sirajul Haq said that the government had neither placed the agreement before the parliament nor sought suggestions from anyone in this regard. The government itself was lowering the image of the parliament through its conduct, he added.

JI will not leave the people alone in this hard time, he announced.  Government has forced the people to shed tears of blood.

PML-N’s secretary General Ahsan Iqbal warned that the opposition would “give a joint reaction against the government’s anti-people policies during the National Assembly’s budget session”.

He added that the government has “left the people at IMF’s mercy”.

Led by its Washington-based mission chief Ernesto Rigo, an IMF team visited Islamabad from April 28 to May 11.

The visit was originally scheduled to end on May 10, however, Rigo stayed in Pakistan for one more day to conclude the deal.

Foreign loans exceeded $90 billion, and exports registered a negative growth over the past five years, PM’s Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said on Sunday while speaking to the state-run television

According to Pakistan´s finance adviser Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, the country is set to receive $6 billion from the IMF in addition to $2 to $3 billion from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank over the next three years.

“We have a $12 billion gap in our annual payments and we don´t have the capacity to pay them,” Sheik said in a televised address as he announced the new agreement with the fund.