Supported IMF package to save Pakistan from default: Qureshi

Shah Mehmood Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday defended his party’s decision to support the government to sign a $3 billion stand-by arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), saying that it was necessary to avoid the risk of default and stabilise the economy.

Speaking to the media outside the Anti-Terrorism Court of Islamabad, Qureshi said that the meeting with the IMF team was very positive and constructive and that they supported the agreement for the sake of Pakistan’s interests.

He said that the IMF deal would help strengthen foreign exchange reserves, enable Pakistan to achieve economic stability and sustainable growth, and create space for social and development spending.

Qureshi also criticized the opposition parties, especially the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of 11 parties that has been challenging the PTI government since last year. He said that PDM leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman was angry with his ally Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and that there was a rift within the PDM over various issues.

Pakistan and the IMF reached a staff-level agreement on a nine-month stand-by arrangement on June 30, just hours before the expiry of a $6.5 billion extended fund facility that was agreed upon in 2019.

The new agreement comes at a critical time for Pakistan, which is facing several external shocks, such as floods, commodity price hikes, and regional tensions. The agreement is subject to approval by the IMF’s Executive Board, which is expected to consider it by mid-July.

He said that the PML-N and the Pakistan People’s Party were also on the verge of separation, and that their future was uncertain. He said that the opposition parties prioritised their personal interests over the national interests, and that they had no vision or agenda for the country.

Qureshi also commented on the upcoming Cricket World Cup, which is scheduled to be held in India in October-November this year. He said that politics should not be brought into sports, and that India should not hesitate to host Pakistan’s cricket team.

He said that cricket was a popular game in both countries, and that it could help improve bilateral relations. He said that the eyes of the world were on the World Cup, and that Pakistan would perform well in the tournament.

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