Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday assured the Senate that he will make public the staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) once it has been finalized.
Speaking on the flood of the House, he said the agreement—which has been repeatedly delayed as negotiations between Islamabad and the global lender continue—would be uploaded on the Finance Ministry’s website once it had been signed. “Nothing will be concealed,” he said, stressing that he believes in transparency and fiscal discipline in the country.
He also responded to a point of order raised by PPP Senator Raza Rabbani, who had said that Parliament must exert its authority to prevent other forces from indulging in the affairs of the legislature. He said the Parliament should not bow before the dictates from any quarters, adding that it was unfortunate that the Senate had not been taken into confidence over the IMF’s conditionalities. He also questioned the delay in finalizing the deal.
Responding to him, Dar said “nobody is going to compromise anything on the nuclear or the missile program of Pakistan,” adding that no one has the right to tell Pakistan what range of missiles it could have or what nuclear weapons it could have. “We have to have our own deterrence,” he said. “We represent the people of Pakistan … and we have to guard our national interests.”
On the delay, the finance minister said it was not the government’s fault. “It looks like that each time, the review is a new program which is very uncustomary with the IMF,” he said, indirectly blaming the PTI for reneging on the agreement it had signed in 2019. “It has been an extensive engagement—unusual, too lengthy, too long, too demanding—but we have completed everything,” he vowed, adding that the ongoing program should have been concluded last year.
Noting that he believed the monetary policy had become “too independent,” he said one of the reasons for the delay was that certain friendly countries had committed to bilaterally support Pakistan in previous reviews. “But IMF is now asking that they should actually complete and materialize those commitments. That’s the only delay,” he said.