Saturday May 28, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Underscoring the need for early elections in the country, PPP senior leader Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, while deviating from his party line, suggested that the decision to go to the International Monetary Fund should be taken by a government with a fresh mandate.
Taking to his Twitter handle, Khokhar said, “The decision to go to IMF should be taken by a government with a fresh mandate.”
When The News contacted him, he said that it was his personal opinion.
"We will be facing very tough conditions and a government with a fresh mandate will be in a better position to negotiate and perhaps get better terms," said Khokhar, adding, “Why should we carry the burden of Imran Khan’s failures?”
Khokhar's views reflect the difference of opinion among the coalition partners over the high political price of tough economic decisions taken under the IMF's pressure and many have stated this publicly.
PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz is among those who were of the view that the government should not burden the masses with a massive hike in the prices of petroleum products.
However, the coalition parties decided to go ahead with the decision to stabilise the economy.
On Thursday, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail announced the increase in the price of petroleum products after the IMF emphasised abolishing the subsidies on commodities.
In a press conference, the finance minister said the government has decided to hike the price of petrol, diesel, kerosene oil, and light diesel by Rs30, effectively from May 27.
The finance minister noted some burden had to be shifted onto the masses, but despite the massive increase in the price of petroleum products, the government was still bearing losses but vowed to soon strike a staff-level agreement with the Fund.
Pakistan and the IMF could not reach a staff-level agreement a day earlier after the global lender said there were deviations from the policies that were agreed between both sides.
The IMF late Wednesday delayed the revival of the stalled $6-billion programme under the External Financing Facility (EFF) for Pakistan.
The revival was expected to bring stability to the financial markets, the fast-weakening Pakistani rupee, and the depleting foreign exchange reserves, as the government had pinned hopes on the programme's resumption.
Pakistan failed to convince the IMF, as both sides could not reach a staff-level agreement despite week-long negotiations in Doha, Qatar, from May 18-25.