Pakistan’s finance minister cancels US trip due to political crisis – Times of India

Karachi, Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Saturday that he has canceled his trip washington For the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on the orders of the Prime Minister due to the political situation in the country.
However, Dar said he would attend important bilateral and multilateral meetings and a Pakistani delegation would be present in Washington.
With the International Monetary Fund bailout program stalled since November, Pakistan is at risk of defaulting on its debt, while a fierce political battle rages between the government and former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Dar said the crisis has been exacerbated by a recent order by the Supreme Court, which scrapped plans to delay elections to two provincial assemblies scheduled for next month. The order has created a standoff between the government and the court.
“We are caught in a strange predicament as a country … so under these circumstances, on the orders of the Prime Minister, I have abandoned plans to remain there [in Washington] Physically,” Dar said in a televised address.
Minister dismisses reports that canceled trip was linked to holdup in Pakistan International Monetary Fund relief program.
He said a “constitutional crisis” had been created by the Supreme Court, which demanded that the government provide 21 billion Pakistani rupees ($74 million) to election officials by Monday to conduct the elections.
imf bailout
Dar said Pakistan, on its part, has met all the requirements of the IMF’s program review to release critical funding of over $1.1 billion for the cash-strapped country.
He said all that was left was a confirmation by one country that it would provide $1 billion to Pakistan to meet its external account requirements. He said that another country had already confirmed that it would provide $2 billion.
While Dar did not name the two countries, Pakistan’s junior finance minister said on Thursday that Saudi Arabia had conveyed to the IMF its commitment to provide financing to Pakistan.
Local media widely reported that $2 billion had been paid by Saudi Arabia, while $1 billion was awaiting confirmation by the United Arab Emirates.
The minister said that once the $1 billion is confirmed, a staff-level agreement will be done. He denied that there were any other pending issues.
Pakistan is in dire need of funds with its foreign exchange reserves, which stand at around $4.2 billion, barely providing a month’s import cover.