Jhagra rebukes Miftah’s IMF deal allegations

K-P finance minister says ‘floods take precedence over all else’

Our Correspondent August 27, 2022


Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra on Saturday said the province has a flood situation on hand which "takes precedence over all else" after Finance Minister Miftah Ismail accused the provincial government of conspiring to "derail the IMF programme" in a Friday night news conference.

On the war of words between Miftah and Jhagra, senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and General Secretary Asad Umar said the federal minister should not "blame others for his incompetence", adding that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was not happy with Miftah’s performance.

Speaking to media persons in Karachi, Umar said Miftah should not blame the PTI for being a hurdle in the IMF deal.

The PTI leader said they were in a better position to negotiate with the IMF than the incumbent government and the country had made significant progress in talks with the international lender under the PTI government but their "progress was brought to a halt four months ago".

However in a joint statement, the allied parties in the government stated that the country was bracing for a devastating situation caused by floods but at this difficult stage, the K-P government indulged in politics and refused to implement the condition laid down in the agreement with the IMF.

Read Miftah says PM wants further relief on electricity rates

The allied parties said the letter of the K-P finance minister to Miftah was a ploy to drown Pakistan in the flood of economic crisis.

They accused Imran of signing the agreement with the IMF on tough conditions and tied down the hands and feet of the Pakistani economy.

Then Imran himself violated the agreement and got the programme suspended and laid landmines in the foundation of the economy by giving subsidy so that Pakistan could economically default.

In the statement, the coalition partners said the government was compelled to take very determined and difficult decisions in order to save Pakistan from default.

After persistent efforts of four months, the value of the rupee and the economic condition started to improve though the people were still drowning in the four years of economic disaster and the deluge of inflation caused by Imran, they asserted.

They said the PTI government knew that the IMF would hold its board meeting on August 29 to revive the economic programme of Pakistan.

At this time, the government of K-P took a step with bad intention. This action proved that a foreign-aided party was bent upon pursuing an agenda for economic destruction of Pakistan, they said. “Like before, we will defeat this conspiracy as well and will defend the economic sovereignty of Pakistan.”

The allies said the government was fully focused and giving priority to the rescue and relief of the flood affectees. “As at this time assistance and rehabilitation of the flood affectees should be the national priority. We will not let the operation, of saving lives of flood affectees and mitigation of their difficulties, fall prey to politics.”

In an earlier letter to Miftah, Jhagra linked the provincial cash surplus in this fiscal year – which is part of Pakistan’s deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – with the clearance of Rs100 billion claimed liabilities.

The development comes a mere three days before the revival of the multibillion-dollar lending by the IMF. Under the IMF deal, the K-P government is required to generate Rs117 billion cash surplus, which it has already consented to provide through a memorandum of understanding. Miftah is a co-signatory of the Letter of Intent (LoI) dispatched to the IMF a few days ago for the revival of the programme.

“Please note that in these conditions [floods], and without the resolution of the issues highlighted previously, for the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to actually leave a surplus will be next to impossible,” Jhagra wrote in the communique sent to Miftah on Friday.

Jhagra said it was "interesting" that Miftah called and the two would now meet on Monday "to resolve our issues". The provincial finance minister, however, said it was "sad" that in "their Pakistan", one had to "shout to be heard".


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