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IMF bailout a bitter pill to swallow for Pakistan’s Imran Khan

19 3 0
LAST month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced a staff-level agreement for a new three-year, US$6 billion bailout package for Pakistan.If the deal is finalised as expected, this will be the 13th time in the last 30 years that Pakistan has received an IMF assistance package.

IMF loans are always a delicate matter in Pakistan. This is not because of any embarrassment about having to ask for external support to stabilise a flailing economy (Pakistan has frequently, including in recent months, requested and received new funding from Saudi Arabia, China, and the UAE).

Rather, IMF programs are a sensitive issue in Pakistan because of the austerity and other politically risky measures typically demanded by them.

SEE ALSO: India’s Modi and Pakistan PM highlight need for ‘peace,’ after vote

For the current Pakistani government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the political risks of a fresh IMF package are particularly high.

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party — which took office less than a year ago — casts itself as a breath of fresh air for Pakistan’s political environment. Above all, it projects itself as a party that abjures corruption and dynastic politics, two hallmark features of the two political parties that have run Pakistan’s government during most years of civilian rule.

This emphasis on bringing something new........

© Asian Correspondent