New govt will have to pursue another IMF programme: Shehbaz Sharif  

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday asserted that a new government following elections would have to pursue another programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), emphasising major decisions to strengthen economy, ARY News reported.

Speaking to a private news channel, the former prime minister said that the new government following elections will be compelled to undertake major decisions, urging voters to choose his party for economic stability.

Shehbaz Sharif emphasised the need for comprehensive economic reforms, saying that the restructuring of the economy is the need of the hour to address broader issues facing the national economy.

Expressing deep concern over terror attacks in Balochistan, he noted that such incidents wanted to instill fear among voters. He highlighted that past decisions inadvertently provided opportunities for terrorists, emphasising the collective sacrifices made by Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.

The PML-N president acknowledged the sacrifices made by security forces in fighting terrorism and emphasised Pakistan’s role in global peace efforts.

Shehbaz Sharif painted a bleak picture of Pakistan’s economic situation, cautioning that the nation’s economic foundation remains fragile, potentially requiring another IMF programme if his party does not win the elections.

He pointed out that the PDM-led federal government saved Pakistan from default. “The country s economy has to be built on a strong foundation”, he added.

The PML-N president further said that whoever gets the opportunity to rule, should privatise the loss-making institutions.

In response to a question, Sharif said that Nawaz Sharif will be the prime ministerial candidate for the party if the PML-N secures a simple majority.  “And if we failed to secure a simple majority, consultation will be held for premier slot,” he added.

Earlier in Jan, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) board approved a roughly $700 million loan for Pakistan under a $3 billion bailout.

The IMF’s completion of its first review of the programme and the board’s decision brings the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to about $1.9 billion, the fund said.

Pakistan is operating under a caretaker government and the IMF loan programme, approved in July, helped avert a sovereign debt default.

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