PM pins hopes on IMF deal this month.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said
that said Pakistan was very hopeful of finalizing a deal with the International Monetary Fund IMF this month. In an interview with News Agency, the prime minister said: “We are still very hopeful that the IMF program will materialize.“Our ninth review by the IMF will match all terms and conditions and, hopefully, we’ll have some good news this month,” he told Anadolu in Ankara. The prime minister was in Ankara for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inauguration ceremony.
“We have met all conditionalities. “I repeat, every requirement of the IMF as prior actions have been met,” he asserted.“Some of those actions are usually met after the board’s approval, but this time the IMF required that those actions be met before the board’s approval, so we have met them,” he was quoted by the Turkish news agency as saying. The prime minister said the people of Pakistan had faced challenges in the past, and if needed, would tighten their belt and rise again. He said that his government has been able to navigate the challenges faced by Pakistan in the best possible fashion with the help of its people and brotherly and friendly countries.
He said Pakistan had been facing a plethora of problems since April 2022,
when the current government took over after former prime minister Imran Khan was ousted in a no-trust vote. “The issues are the result of the previous government’s policies,” he said. “Pakistan, in April 2022, was on the verge of default because the government of the day had violated the IMF agreement and the economy was in tatters,” he maintained.
“Then we had devastating floods in August 2022. Combined with that we are facing galloping inflation, because of the international situation,” he added. About May 9 vandalism, he said PTI chief Imran Khan faced charges of “serious corruption, malpractice, and wheeling-dealing”, stressing that the “law had to deal with this”.
“He [Imran Khan] for some time, had been preparing his people mentally, his bunch of thugs as he would call them, to react violently, in case he was arrested, the prime minister added. Shehbaz said, “He [Imran] planned this very serious act against the state of Pakistan. He incited his people. There’s evidence beyond any doubt. “Khan’s supporters were instructed to torch buildings, attack institutions, and desecrate graves and monuments, he added.
“Those people who have attacked civilian installations will be tried under civilian law, and those people who attacked military installations and desecrated institutions will be tried under the Military Act,” the prime minister further elaborated.
About cases under the Military Act,
the prime minister explained that “once the judge awards punishment, the defendant has two appeals”, one in the high court and then in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He said that the bottom line of the entire process was ensuring justice so that such a thing could never take place in Pakistan, for the rest of their lives.
“Would any civilized country allow this kind of vandalism against the state, which happened on May 9 in Pakistan?” he questioned. The prime minister cited an example of incidents that took place on January 6, 2021, at Capitol Hill in Washington.
“We’re not those perpetrators being tried and given severe punishments so that such an act could never happen again in the history of the United States,” he maintained. The prime minister also congratulated the people of Turkiye on President Erdogan’s reelection, hailing it as a “wonderful development”. “I will work very closely with my brother, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a visionary leader and a man of commitment who believes in public service.
“I hope our relations will enhance to a much higher level in terms of brotherhood, understanding, and economic cooperation,” he added. He further said, “I always maintain, and I mean it, that our two brotherly countries are like one soul with hearts that beat together.
“We speak different languages, but we understand what we’re saying through our hearts. So, I think it’s a great opportunity.” He expressed confidence that both countries would boost cooperation shortly to enhance trade and foster mutual growth by focusing on areas such as biogas, solar energy, and hydropower. Meanwhile, chairing a consultative meeting with leaders of the coalition parties on the Public Sector Development Programme (PADP), the prime minister said that the next financial year will be the year of economic development for Pakistan saying the government was adopting the policy of utilizing the available resources in the best way despite the difficult economic situation.
the prime minister said that public welfare development and business friendly policies will be the key parts of the budget for the next fiscal year. Leaders and representatives of the coalition parties termed the prime minister’s initiative to take the allies into confidence and include their suggestions in the budget historic and thanked him, a statement issued by the PM Office said.
The leaders of coalition parties gave their proposals for the development budget which the prime minister directed the finance minister to consider for the next budget. Shehbaz said consultation between coalition parties is highly significant in every initiative. He noted with satisfaction how the ruling coalition saved the country from economic and political turmoil through cooperation and beyond their political interests.
The prime minister said the volume of PSDP is being increased to Rs950 billion to accelerate the growth rate and employment opportunities in the next financial year. He said a significant amount is also being kept for the development and reconstruction of the flood-affected areas.
The meeting was told the National Flood Response Programme,
which has been delayed for years, is being re-launched. The meeting was also briefed in detail about the budget figures and the proposed projects under the development budget.
Federal ministers Ishaq Dar, Ahsan Iqbal, Maulana Asad Mahmood, Rana Tanveer Hussain, Maulana Abdul Wasay, Syed Aminul Haq, Agha Hassan Baloch, Sardar Israr Tareen, Advisor to PM Ahad Khan Cheema, ministers of state Hashim Notezai, Ehsanullah Riki, MNAs Aslam Bhutani, Mohsin Dawar, Sardar Hussain Babak and MQMP convener Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and relevant senior officials participated in the meeting.
Federal Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, and Balochistan National Party Chairman Sardar Akhtar Mengal attended the meeting through a video link.
Meanwhile, chairing another meeting, Shehbaz directed taking special measures for the poor and middle-class segment. The prime minister decided to extend direct subsidies on fertilizers to farmers and also directed for devising a comprehensive plan in that connection. He said that farmers should be supported in the conversion of their tube wells to solar energy. He observed that the government also brought down prices of petroleum products following a reduction in oil prices in the international market.
Shehbaz was directed for increasing the scope of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) saying that no deserving widow should be kept out of BISP data. He said that more youth should be provided loans on soft terms under the Prime Minister Youth Loan Programme while the youth segment should also be facilitated in the information technology sector which would also help in increasing IT exports.
He regretted that the last regime promoted negative trends among youth by promoting amongst them hatred and giving in their hands sticks and petrol bombs. “We will ensure the progress of the country by utilizing the energies of young people in the best possible way,” he said. Ishaq Dar, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Ahad Cheema, Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation Shahzia Marri, Minister of State Dr. Musaddak Malik, and others attended the meeting.
Separately Jamiat Ulema e Islam Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Federal Minister for Communications Maulana Asad Mahmood called on PM Shehbaz. They discussed the upcoming budget for fiscal 2023 to 24 as well as the overall political situation in the country a PM Office press release said. Meanwhile talking to the media outside the Parliament House Khawaja Asif said that the defense budget for the next financial year has not yet been finalized Top News Planet reported. He said that consultation on the defense budget was underway.
He said conservation policy to be observed while making allocations to all sectors in the upcoming budget to cut additional expenditures. He said the government was taking measures to provide targeted subsidies to the inflation-hit people in the budget.