Imran Khan Supports IMF Bailout Deal in Meeting with Officials

In a significant development, Imran Khan, the chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and former prime minister, has expressed his support for a recently-reached bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This announcement came after a productive meeting between Imran Khan and IMF officials on Friday, as confirmed by his party.

As Pakistan gears up for general elections in the upcoming autumn, the IMF is actively seeking the support of major political parties, including PTI, for a new nine-month $3 billion stand-by arrangement and the associated policies. Hammad Azhar, a PTI leader, and former finance minister, who attended the meeting virtually, took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the discussion. He mentioned that the former premier and his economic team had engaged in talks regarding the staff-level deal reached between the IMF and the government the previous week.

Hammad Azhar expressed PTI’s overall support for the objectives and key policies of the agreement. The meeting, held at Imran Khan’s residence in Lahore, witnessed the presence of IMF officials in person, while Mission Chief Nathan Porter joined virtually.

The meeting spanned over an hour and revolved around the staff-level agreement reached between the IMF and the Government of Pakistan for a nine-month $3 billion standby arrangement. Azhar emphasized that PTI welcomes this arrangement as it aims to preserve macroeconomic stability and ensure external financing and sound policies until a new government is formed following the national elections scheduled for later this year.

In addition, Azhar stressed the importance of implementing programs that safeguard the lower-income segments of the population from the impact of high inflation. PTI considers political stability and the rule of law as integral factors in maintaining Pakistan’s economic stability. After free, fair, and timely elections, a new government, mandated by the people, will initiate reforms and engage with multilateral institutions to foster economic transformation, higher growth, and inclusivity.

Azhar also shared that Imran Khan will soon deliver an address on this matter, further elucidating their stance and plans.

Esther Perez Ruiz, the IMF’s resident representative, stated in a recent statement that meetings with political parties are being held to secure their support for the key objectives and policies under the new IMF-supported program, considering the approaching national elections.

The approval for the new deal, which holds immense significance in stabilizing Pakistan’s struggling $350 billion economy, will be sought from the IMF board on July 12.

The previous government deviated from the agreements made under an earlier IMF program shortly before being ousted in a parliamentary vote last year. This deviation led to delays in program implementation and heightened economic uncertainty.

Azhar emphasized that political stability is of utmost importance for the Pakistani economy. He called for “free, fair, and timely” elections, after which a new government will initiate reforms and establish long-term engagement with multilateral institutions.