Islamabad: Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan has sought a “guarantee” from the International Monetary Fund that the general elections in the country will be held on its scheduled time.
Days before the IMF executive board meeting to review and possibly endorse the Standby Arrangement (SBA) for Pakistan, a delegation of the global lender met Khan Friday in Lahore to seek assurance and support for the key objectives and policies under the recently announced $ 3 billion bailout programme, Geo News channel reported Saturday.
Pakistan and IMF reached a long-awaited staff-level agreement June 29 to inject $ 3 billion Standby Arrangement into the ailing economy after months-long negotiations that pushed the country to the brink of default. The Executive Board of the IMF will meet July 12 to review the SBA for Pakistan.
Quoting sources, Geo News reported that Khan asked the IMF to ensure that the general elections, scheduled to take place in October, will be held on time.
“What guarantee can you (IMF) give that the elections in the country will be held on time,” the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief was quoted as saying in the huddle.
The IMF representatives, as per insiders, responded by saying that the Washington-based lender keeps a close eye on the situation in the country but “we cannot interfere too much in internal political matters”.
The IMF delegation further added that the short-term bailout package has been chalked out in such a way that the transition of power is expected to take place on time, the report said quoting sources.
The insiders added that the IMF officials expressed hope that the interim set-up will hold general elections in the country within the constitutionally-mandated time period.
The meeting was attended by IMF country chief Nathan Porter who joined virtually from Washington and Resident Representative Ester Perez Luis who was physically present.
The IMF meeting has come under scanner in Pakistan where some leaders termed it as interference in domestic affairs of the country.
However, the IMF’s resident representative Esther Perez Ruiz in a statement said that the meetings with political parties were to “seek assurances of their support for the key objectives and policies under a new IMF-supported programme ahead of the approaching national elections”.