Hours after a staff-level agreement between International Monetary Fund and Pakistan was signed, Prime Minsiter Shehbaz Sharif it was a moment of reflection rather than pride.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore along with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Shehbaz said the only solution to Pakistan’s woes was ending its depnedance on foreign aid.
He also added that Pakistan had been rapidly approaching default but had been saved by China.
Shebaz said that many ‘foes disguised as friends’ had even said that Pakistan would become Sri Lanka. He added that Sri Lanka had also been bailed out by the IMF and was slowly making a recovery. He also said that the Sri Lankan president had helped him with securing the IMF deal.
He said that he had met IMF’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva in Paris last week, where had told her that the government had taken difficult steps to fix Pakistan’s economy and had put its political capital at stake.
He added that the MD had told him that some steps remained to be taken before a final agreement could be reached and he had assured her that the Fund’s concerns would be allayed.
Shehbaz said that a meeting of the IMF board was scheduled to take place on July 12 at which the $3 billion loan would be approved.
He said that whenever he met an international leader he could read on their faces that they were afraid they would be asked for money. He added that China had provided $5 billion through commercial banks, Saudi Arabia had agreed to provide $2 billion for which an agreement had been signed and the UAE and Islamic Development Bank had given $1 billion each.
He added that Army Chief General Asim Munir had played a crucial role in getting the deal done with Saudi Arabia. He also said that Bilawal Bhutto had made great diplomacy efforts to get the IMF deal done.
Shehbaz also added that many people at home, inlcuding the finance ministers of two provinces, had tried to sabotage the IMF deal. He added that the events of May 9 were the extension of the same events.
He added that ‘they’ hoped that IMF deal with Pakistan would not materialise and had tried to destroy Pakistan by creating distances between the country’s public and its army.
This story is being updated.