ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has approached The White House seeking their intervention in the early disbursement of funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to Nikkei Asia.
General Qamar Javed Bajwa telephoned US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, according to the publication’s reporter Wajahat S Khan, and appealed to her to expedite the $1.2bn dispersal by the IMF.
The unusual move by the army chief comes as Pakistan faces a worsening economic crisis due to dwindling foreign reserves.
This is not the first time that the government has approached the administration of President Joe Biden to restore the $6 billion loan programme. Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail had met the US envoy in Islamabad seeking the US government’s influence over IMF in reviving the bailout package.
The country reached a staff-level agreement with the lender earlier this month but the delay in the disbursement has put pressure on the country’s faltering economy amid a deepening political crisis.
As per reports, the IMF’s board meeting is expected in the third week of August and the pressure on the local currency has sparked a debate about whether Pakistan could default.
Pakistan agreed to take some very tough measures in order to revive the stalled IMF programme, removing subsidies on petroleum products, hiking power and gas tariffs and increasing taxes.
These steps have taken a toll on the common man but the delay in the funds’ transfer has jittered the financial markets with the rupee has slid to the historic low in the interbank market, trading at around 240 to a dollar.
The Shahbaz Sharif-led government has been making hectic efforts to restore investor confidence but all the attempts have so far failed to bring stability.