At a cabinet meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Sheikh Baz Sharif hailed Army Chief of Staff General Asim Munir for his “key role” in securing $3 billion in funding from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, ultimately securing the IMF’s Contributed to the rescue of the organization.
“Army Chief Asim Munir played a key role in bringing in $2 billion from Saudi Arabia and $1 billion from the UAE,” the prime minister told his cabinet in a teleconference.
He briefed the cabinet on a nine-month stand-by deal the government struck with the Washington-based bank last week. He also thanked IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva for her role in the rescue package.
“The first tranche from the IMF will be received in July,” Prime Minister Sheikh Baz told ministers. He added that China had helped Pakistan months before the deal, as it has done in the past, adding that the situation would have been different had Beijing agreed to an extension of $5 billion.
“If there hadn’t been an agreement with the IMF, then things would have been different,” he added.
However, the prime minister said the nine-month agreement was a “temporary reprieve” for the country, adding that it was a time of concern rather than a matter of “pride”.
He also urged all state agencies to work together to eliminate the country’s loans and bring them under the auspices of the government.
Of course we must improve.
“While maintaining their respective jurisdictions, these agencies should work together for at least the next 15 years to address the nation’s economic woes,” he continued. He added that it would take vision, solidarity, hard work and sacrifice of the wealthy people for the country to emerge from loans.
“If we choose this route, no one can stop Pakistan from making progress,” he said.
“I pray this is the last IMF deal. But it’s easier said than done,” he commented, mentioning that state-owned enterprises such as steel mills and PIAs consume about Rs 60,000 crore a year.
Prime Minister Sheikh Baz said that during the remaining 40-42 days of the government, Cabinet members should strive to leave behind a policy framework that provides a roadmap and vision for future developments.
The prime minister said that the entire Muslim world, including the government and people of Pakistan, strongly condemns the burning of the Koran in Sweden.
“We demand that immediate action be taken against the perpetrators. Unfortunately, this is not the first time something like this has happened,” he said.