Pakistan is a "hostage" to the IMF which is treating the cash-strapped country like a "colony", senior leader of PML-N Maryam Nawaz has said while lambasting former prime minister Imran Khan for flouting the previous agreements with the global lender.
Pakistan's economy is in dire straits. The country is awaiting a much-needed USD 1.1 billion tranche of funding from the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“The IMF is not ready to trust us. Pakistan is a hostage to the IMF and it is treating the country like a colony. Even if we try to come out of its clutches, we can’t,” Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N) leader Maryam said while addressing the youth and social media activists in Model Town here on Monday.
She castigated Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan for flouting the previous IMF agreement, the Dawn newspaper reported.
“Because of this today we are begging for Rs 1 billion,” the 49-year-old leader said.
She drew the comparison of her father Nawaz Sharif’s government with that of Khan, saying the cricketer-turned-politician was "launched to destroy the country".
Maryam, who is the daughter of former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif, has launched several attacks on Khan for selling off gifts presented to him when he was the prime minister and has accused him of pushing Pakistan to the brink of default.
She also said Imran should be arrested.
“Why is he hiding behind the party workers? He again wants to become the prime minister. I ask what he has done that they (a reference to the establishment) make him prime minister again. Imran Khan tried to have the support of a few generals and judges. Now he is banking on the judiciary to return to power,” she said.
Pakistan will need to pause debt repayments if it does not secure funding from the IMF soon enough.
Pakistan entered a USD 6 billion IMF programme during Khan's government in 2019, which was increased to USD 7 billion last year.
The programme's ninth review is currently pending with talks being held between IMF officials and the government for the release of USD 1.1 billion.
Pakistan and the IMF have been holding virtual talks after the two sides held 10 days of intensive negotiations with an IMF delegation in Islamabad from January 31 to February 9, which failed to reach an agreement.
Pakistan, whose foreign exchange has dropped below USD 3 billion, is in desperate need of financial assistance and a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund in order to avoid an economic collapse.
The country has implemented a series of policy measures, including increased taxes, higher energy prices and increasing interest rates to the highest in 25 years to unlock funding from its stalled IMF USD 7 billion loan programme.