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Pak's struggle with IMF reflect changing gestures from friendly nations

IANS | June 05, 2023 12:17 PM

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government's struggle to revive the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout programme has now started to show its negative effects on the countrys global image, leading to a change of gestures from friendly nations.

The government's struggle continues despite making unpopular and political damaging decisions to increase tarrifs, fuel prices, energy prices to meet the pre-conditions of the IMF for revival of the $6.5 billion Extended Funding Facility (EFF).

Till date, the government has failed to convince the IMF of its progress and has looked completely clueless in dealing with the unique scenario, where the ruling PDM coalition takes tough economic decisions with hopes of the bailout programme's revival and creating economic stability to showcase as its political success.

However, the global lender's rigid positioning has forced the government to succumb to its temptation as its previous history of years of corruption, mismanagement, and growing fatigue and mistrust among leaders, coupled with IMF's observations that Pakistan's political leadership is habitual of violating its commitments for political point scoring and gains, has now brought the country to a point where securing the deal is no longer in control of the government and it needs firm guarantees and backing from friendly countries.

And even on that front, Pakistan is now faced with a notion of distrust and suspicion, even by its friendly countries, which are now sliding their support away from Islamabad, showing clear signs of Islamabad's deteriorating image at the international level as well.

While Islamabad's last ditch to convince the leder for revival of bailout programme failed after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif reached out to IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, seeking support in securing the remaining tranches worth $2.5 billion; friendly countries like Turkey, China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also seem to be changing their gestures.

"One major reason for IMF snub towards Pakistan is the political unrest in the country. PDM government has not only failed to meet the IMF demands but has also failed to stabilize the political situation. IMF itself has mentioned this concern in its most recent statement about Pakistan. A political unstable country cannot be considered a reliable one, at least not in the eyes of the IMF, " said Adnan Shauqat, senior political analyst.

"And in time, Islamabad's failure to secure IMF deal has now started to show its effects on the country's image internationally. Shehbaz tried to show a friendly gesture to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the latter's re-election. And we all saw how reluctant Erdogan was to reciprocate the gesture. It's all because Pakistan currently stands on the verge of a political and financial meltdown. And the government looks insanely clueless."

It is believed that Pakistan's only option banks on to announce elections in October, dissolve Assemblies in July and use this announcement to convince the IMF to reconsider the revival of its bailout programme.

With friendly countries slipping away from supporting or assisting Pakistan, the government is faced with an embarrassing situation on ground and at the global stage, where it is being viewed as a country in economic and political shambles.

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