‘No compromise’ on Pakistan’s nuclear programme for unlocking IMF deal, says Ishaq Dar

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance and Revenue Ishaq Dar said that Pakistan would not compromise on its nuclear programme for reviving the stalled International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan facility.

The finance minister’s comments came in response to Senator Raza Rabbani’s concerns that he raised during a Senate session, wherein he asked whether the IMF programme was being delayed to force the government into resorting to moves that were against state interests.

“I believe in transparency and fiscal discipline […] let me assure you that nobody is [ready] to compromise on the nuclear or missile programme of Pakistan. No way!” he stressed.

The finance minister said nobody has any right to dictate to “Pakistan what range of missiles and what nuclear weapons it can have; we have to have our own deterrence”.

Dar said that the incumbent government did not enter into the ongoing agreement with the IMF and noted that it was the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led administration that had entered into the programme in 2019.

“This programme should have been completed in 2022,” he said, castigating the PTI regime for succumbing to IMF demands including the autonomy of the State Bank of Pakistan.

He further said that previously, there were reviews that were completed, but now, it seems that every review has become a “new programme, which is very uncustomary with the IMF”.

The finance minister said the delay is not on part of the incumbent government and claimed that they have been involved in extensive engagements with the IMF which are “unusual, too lengthy, too long, too demanding”.

“We have completed everything. Let me tell you […] that some friendly countries made commitments to bilaterally support Pakistan and IMF is now asking that they should actually complete and materialise those commitments.”

“That’s the only delay and I can assure the house that the moment it is done and the staff-level agreement is signed, I will make sure that the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP) is uploaded on the website,” the finance minister said.

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