Going to IMF an admission of failure: Abbasi

Former PM likens bailout programmes to ICU treatment

Our Correspondent April 28, 2024
Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. PHOTO: EXPRESS NEWS


Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has stated that all indicators of the economy are negative, and the government's decision to seek another bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an admission that "we have failed."

Addressing the Asma Jahangir Conference in Lahore on Sunday, Abbasi remarked, "Economic growth stalls and inflation rises due to such agreements with the IMF." He added, "The IMF keeps you alive, but your economic condition deteriorates on every parameter."

He emphasised that people often inquire about relief in the annual budget, but governments resort to borrowing for everything. He asserted that no investment will flow into the country until the justice system is rectified.

Indirectly criticising recent government initiatives, he highlighted that governments often distribute flour as a solution to poverty, yet 40% of it gets misappropriated in the process.

"Your industry cannot thrive if political issues remain unresolved, as everything is interconnected. Do not harbour the illusion that things will improve spontaneously," he cautioned.

Abbasi pointed out that IMF agreements impede growth and exacerbate inflation. Likening IMF bailout programmes to treatment in an intensive care unit (ICU), he expressed concern over the country's repeated recourse to such measures. "This prolonged stay in the ICU won't cure the disease. Show me one dollar of aid that has been utilised to generate revenue," he challenged.

Read also: PM discusses new loan programme with IMF chief on WEF sidelines

Identifying internal debt as the nation's foremost challenge, Abbasi lamented the government's inability to address its own problems.

In his address, BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal remarked that neither martial law nor democracy prevails in the country. "It is a dictatorship veiled in the green flag," he asserted.

He noted that all political parties in Pakistan now espouse nationalist agendas, with the PML-N championing Punjabi nationalism and the PPP representing Sindh.

Referring to PTI's Ali Amin Gandapur's recent statements, he suggested that even the PTI has veered towards Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa nationalism.

Commenting on PTI founder Imran Khan's reported willingness to hold negotiations with the military establishment, Mengal predicted relief for the PTI in the days ahead.

Read: Imran gives PTI go-ahead for talks

“If the events of May 12 can be ignored then the events of May 9 can also be ignored,” he added.

On May 12, 2007, dozens of people were killed in Karachi allegedly by the MQM on the implicit desire of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf during a visit of a sacked chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

On May 9, 2023, violent protestors allegedly belonging to the PTI attacked state and army properties, acts of vandalism that were followed by a massive crackdown against the party.

Mengal, who belongs to Balochistan, said the people of the province are not even allowed to hold peaceful protests in Islamabad against the enforced disappearance of their family members.

"When the prime minister talks about the missing persons, he refers to the [role of] ‘powerful people’. I am disappointed with Pakistan's parliament, judiciary and political parties.

“The state is completed with parliament, judiciary and constitutional institutions. Until the political people of Balochistan are not considered humans, the matter will not move forward," he added.


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