Finance Minister Miftah says will try to clinch favourable deal with IMF 

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has said that he is going to Doha and will not return country without clinching a favourable deal with the International Monetary Fund while lashing out at the previous government for agreeing to the preposterous conditions put forward by the global lender that are proving a landmine for the government and calamitous for the economic wellbeing of people.

Mr Ismail was talking to media outside Karachi Airport on Monday before leaving for Doha where he would hold final round of talks with the IMF for the release of $1 billion tranche of Extended Fund Facility. The IMF has stalled its loan programme for Pakistan when the former prime minister Imran Khan announced a subsidy package for the POL and energy prices in March.

The finance minister told reporters that the IMF wanted Pakistan to hike its interest rate and there was likelihood that the central bank might increase the policy rate expected to be announced later today.

Hitting out at Imran Khan, Mr Ismail said that economy was in crisis due to ex-premier and his then-finance minister Shaukat Tarin who struck a deal with the IMF at the risk of country’s economic survival.

He said Imran Khan had laid landmines everywhere for the current government. He stated he couldn’t stop laughing when he heard claims made by ex-finance minister Tarin. He held that both Imran and Tarin agreed to the IMF condition that they would raise the POL prices by Rs1oo/litre.

“Now the government is compelled to increase the POL prices by Rs150/L but as directed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif the government will not hike petrol prices because people can’t afford such enormous hike,” he maintained adding that the government had been sticking to the subsidy since last month.

Mr Ismail expressed his wonder where the former premier and his foreign minister had left money in the national exchequer as the duo was claiming. He said Imran took loan amounting to $21 billion which the new the government had to repay now.

Commenting on Imran Khan’s long march call, the finance minister took a swipe at him saying that Imran always preferred personal politics to the national interests.

“Imran is always hell bent on hindering country’s economy in every regime,” the finance minister alleged adding that his march call was actually an attempt to save Farah Khan Gogi. He asked why Ms Gogi and former SAPM Akbar Shahzad had fled the country.

He accused former Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar of selling licences of 16 cement factories for kickbacks. He also alleged that PTI leader Ali Zaidi was also involved in corruption.

He lamented that Imran was playing march politics which would prove disastrous for country.