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'No compromise' on Nuke program, says Pak's Finance Minister amid cash crunch

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Islamabad | March 17, 2023 7:04:58 AM IST
Amid the hike in prices of commodities and cash crunch, Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar asserted that they won't "compromise" on the nuclear and missile programmes, Dawn reported.

Speaking at the Senate session on Thursday, Dar said, "Let me assure you that [...] nobody is going to compromise anything on the nuclear or the missile program of Pakistan -- no way."

In the Senate, Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Raza Rabbani raised the question of the reasons behind the delay in the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which would offer a critical lifeline to tame a balance-of-payments crisis, according to Dawn.

The PPP leader lamented that the Senate had "neither before nor today been taken into confidence on what are the conditionalities of the IMF".

Terming the delay "absolutely out of the ordinary -- extraordinary", Senator Rabbani said that the question arises if the delay is being made because of some sort of pressure to be exerted on Pakistan's nuclear [programme].

Responding to Senator, the Finance Minister said that there won't be any compromise on Pakistan's nuclear programme and also promised that the "moment the staff-level agreement and the EFFP (Extended Fund Facility programme) would be finalised [...] it will be put up on the website of the finance ministry".

He added, "Nobody has any right to tell Pakistan that what range of missiles it can have and what nuclear weapons it can have. We have to have our own deterrence", reported Dawn.

"We represent the people of Pakistan [...] and we have to guard our national interests," he said.

Responding to the questions raised on the delay, Dar said the delay was "not on the part of the government". Indirectly blaming the PTI's government that signed the agreement in 2019, he said that "it seems as if the arrangements of 2019 with the IMF has been a different and [a] new program".

He added: "It looks like that each time, the review is a new program which is very uncustomary with the IMF.

"It has been an extensive engagement -- unusual, too lengthy, too long, too demanding -- but we have completed everything."

Asserting that the programme "should have been over by 2022", the PML-N leader said that the law amendments were passed by "this very parliament, after which the monetary policy has become too independent, in my opinion," as per Dawn.

Dar is assuring of "no compromise" in the nuclear programme and on the other hand seeks confirmation from Saudi Arabia for securing additional deposits of USD 2 billion and a USD 950 million loan programme from the World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for the signing of a Staff-Level Agreement (SLA) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) within the coming week, reported Geo News.

"We are hopeful," a government official dealing with the IMF replied when asked about the development.

Saudi deposits nod is crucial for clinching the IMF deal as Pakistan facing difficulty in its talks with IMF due to China-US hostility and IMF is reluctant to give any time frame for finalising the deal while the country is in economic chaos, reported Geo News.

The World Bank's Resilient Institution for Sustainable Economy (RISE-II) has offered AIIB lending of USD 950 million only if Pakistan secures the IMF bailout.

China had already re-financed two commercial loans of USD 1.2 billion in two instalments, USD 700 million and USD 500 million. Now two more instalments of USD 500 million and USD 300 million would be re-financed by Chinese commercial banks in the coming days. (ANI)

 
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