Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has lashed out at the PTI-led Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government for attempting to “sabotage” Pakistan’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ahead of the global lender’s executive board meeting.
“[K-P Finance Minister] Taimur Jhagra assured me that he did not send this letter to the IMF but they [IMF] must have got this letter since it’s circulating across the country,” he said while addressing a hurriedly called press conference in Islamabad Friday night.
Miftah was referring to the letter written by K-P Finance Minister Jahagra in which he said that it will be “next to impossible” for the provincial government to leave a surplus budget if the federal government did not resolve the issues of the K-P government.
1. This imported govt doesn’t need enemies. Their own party hierarchy & their chamchas in the press are enough to sabotage their own…
Why would the KP govt or I write to the IMF? Please read the letter I wrote to the Federal Finance Minister for yourself. pic.twitter.com/NTaPGoniym
— Taimur Khan Jhagra (@Jhagra) August 26, 2022
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Pakistan has committed to the IMF that it would generate a primary budget surplus of Rs153 billion in this fiscal year to achieve the global lender’s programme objectives.
Miftah slammed the PTI-led government, saying they are playing politics over matters of national interest at a time when the entire country is reeling from historic floods and heavy rains.
2. Note that when I last got time from the fed finance minister on July 5, I raised the same concerns; on the FATA budget; on NHP; but because it was in the national interest, returned the IMF MoU to Islamabad within 24 hours. Personally ensured that with the approval of the CM.
— Taimur Khan Jhagra (@Jhagra) August 26, 2022
“All other matters should take a back seat at this time… but no problem we will deal with it InshaAllah,” he added.
Miftah also said PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry in a recent statement admitted that the federal government would not be able to secure the IMF deal if their governments in Punjab and K-P did not cooperate.
“However, they asked Punjab too to write the such letter but Punjab secretary refused to do so,” he claimed.
Miftah said “power hunger” PTI could stoop to any level as their leader Imran Khan was not in power.
“You are writing this letter today could not wait for 10 more days. You want to destroy this country because Imran Khan is no more in power but we will not let you burn this country,” he added.
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Jhagra ‘s letter came just three days before the IMF board meeting on August 29 (Monday) to approve the disbursement of $1.18 billion to Pakistan under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
In the letter, the K-P minister while highlighting several issues including budget allocation for merged districts as well as devastating floods said without their resolution leaving a surplus budget “will be next to impossible” for the provincial government.
Responding to his statement, Miftah said he will hold a meeting with Jaghra on Saturday (today) and will resolve their issues.
“We will release funds for ex-Fata areas as they are our brothers… The IMF programme will be approved on Monday,” he added.
‘Flood of economic crisis’
Meanwhile, the coalition parties in a joint statement have come down hard on PTI’s government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for its efforts to derail the IMF deal and plunge Pakistan into a “flood of economic crisis”.
In the wake of unprecedented flash floods across the country, the K-P government it said has refused to implement the terms of the agreement with the IMF while playing dirty politics. In a joint statement on Friday, the ruling parties said that K-P Finance Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra’s letter to Finance Minister Miftah Ismail is a “ploy to plunge Pakistan into a flood of economic crisis”.
The coalition – mainly consisting of PML-N, PPP and JUI-F – said it was Imran Khan’s government that signed an agreement with the IMF on strict terms, “tying the hands and feet of Pakistan’s economy”, adding that he [Khan] then himself violated this agreement, suspended the programme and laid mines in the foundations of Pakistan’s economy by giving subsidies so that Pakistan becomes economically bankrupt.
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The statement said that the current government was forced to take extremely patient and difficult decisions just to save Pakistan from economic bankruptcy. “After four months of continuous hard work, the value of the rupee and the economic situation have started to improve. Although Imran Khan’s four years of economic destruction and inflation, the people are still drowning.”
The statement said that PTI is aware that the IMF board meeting is going to be held on August 29 in which the economic programme with Pakistan is going to be revived. “Under these circumstances, malicious action has been taken by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government. This move is proof that the foreign-aided party is committed to the agenda of bringing Pakistan to economic ruin. As before, we will thwart this conspiracy and defend Pakistan’s economic independence.”
The government’s full focus and priority at this time is the relief and rescue of the flood victims because the relief and rehabilitation of the flood victims should remain the national priority at this time, the joint communiqué further read. “We will not let anyone’s politics interfere with the process of saving the lives of the flood victims and alleviating the difficulties faced by them.”