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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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‘General Bajwa contacted White House for help to prevent country from default’

After the Financial Times story about the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s funding on Friday morning, another story coming on later in the day gave the content to Pakistani media houses for the weekend’s prime-time shows.

According to Nikkei Asia, the Pakistani army chief has contacted Washington to ask for assistance in securing an early loan disbursement from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as Islamabad scrambles to avert a default due to declining foreign reserves.

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In a highly unprecedented move earlier this week, the commander of Pakistan’s army, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa spoke on the phone with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.

According to Nikkei Asia, sources who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak to the media, claimed that Bajwa appealed to the White House and Treasury Department to pressure the IMF to provide Pakistan with the approximately $1.2 billion which is due under a resumed loan program right now.

When it comes to politics in the country, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is an experienced politician, but outside of Islamabad, he lacks credibility and political clout, and is always under Imran Khan’s pressure. Experts claim that Gen. Bajwa, an infantry officer who was set to retire three years ago but was able to continue via years of alleged backroom politicking, holds the position of power.

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On July 13, the IMF gave Pakistan “staff-level approval” for the aforementioned loan. However, the transaction, which is a part of the IMF’s $6 billion Extended Fund Facility for Pakistan, won’t be carried out until the executive board of the multilateral lender gives its final clearance.

The IMF will be out of commission for the next three weeks, and its board won’t meet again until the end of August.

The economy of Pakistan, which has been devastated by inflation, would continue to bleed if a quick fix is not provided. Since the rupee has been falling against the dollar, the nation has less than $9 billion in remaining foreign reserves, which is just enough to cover two months’ worth of import costs. Pakistan’s outlook was downgraded by S&P Global on Thursday from stable to negative.

According to Reuters, multiple sources claimed that General Bajwa spoke on phone with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman this week.



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