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Imran Khan urges IMF: Halt Pakistan loan extension pre-election audit

Photo: AFP

Imran Khan, leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), officially confirmed on Friday that he had written a letter to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), urging the organization to conduct an audit of the February 8 election results in Pakistan before approving any new loans for Islamabad. He expressed concerns about the potential consequences of acquiring a loan in the current situation, emphasizing the challenges of repayment. Imran Khan stated that obtaining a loan under such circumstances would further contribute to the country's debt and exacerbate poverty.

The confirmation from Imran Khan followed an announcement by PTI Senator Ali Zafar, who revealed that the party's founder had decided to write to the IMF, urging an audit of the February 8 election before continuing talks for a new loan program with Islamabad. According to news agency ANI, Imran Khan voiced his worries about the impact of the loan on the nation's financial situation.

Contrary to these concerns, a report in The News International suggested that the IMF had expressed willingness to collaborate with the new Pakistani government, seemingly ignoring Imran Khan's call for an election audit.

Meanwhile, Ishaq Dar, a leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and former finance minister, criticized Imran Khan for the letter to the IMF. Dar dismissed the letter's significance, labeling Imran Khan's actions as condemnable and accusing him of writing for personal gain.

The background context includes Pakistan securing a short-term USD 3 billion program from the IMF last year, which played a crucial role in preventing a sovereign debt default. However, this program is set to expire soon, and there is a significant emphasis on obtaining a new, larger one under the new administration.

The political landscape in Pakistan is marked by nationwide protests following a coalition agreement between the PML-N, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and their allies. These protests, led by PTI and other political parties, reject the election results. The PTI is specifically advocating for election results to be based on Form 45, representing individual polling stations, rather than Form 47, which consolidates results at the constituency level. The party alleges vote rigging, particularly as its independent candidates secured a majority in the national assembly.

Feb. 24, 2024 11:04 a.m. 1347

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