Government’s best strategy pulled Pakistan out of crisis, says Finance Minister

The Minister of Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar said on Wednesday that the “best strategy” employed by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government to get the country out of its economic crisis was successful.

The minister made his remarks at a gathering in Madina, Saudi Arabia, as the $350 billion economy struggles with one of its biggest political and economic crises and a looming default danger.

Criticizing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), he said that the previous administration had “brought the nation to the verge of default,” but that the present administration “preferred” to preserve the country rather than its votes.

The minister said, “To all those chanting ‘default’, listen, Pakistan will never default,” pointing out that the government had paid off $11 billion in debt in the previous six months.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) program, which has been on hold since last year and caused a halt in funding from bilateral and multilateral sources, is a significant barrier to taming the economic crisis.

The Finance Minister, however, reiterated the claim made by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, saying that Pakistan had fulfilled all requirements for the restart of the IMF program.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have reiterated their pledges to the Fund of $2 billion and $1 billion, respectively, while China has rolled over around $2 billion.

Since the beginning of February, Islamabad and the IMF have been haggling over the release of $1.1 billion from a $6.5 billion rescue package decided upon January 2019.