Pakistan already bankrupt, IMF bailout won't help: Defence Minister Asif
Pakistan has already gone bankrupt, the country's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said while addressing an event in Sialkot on Saturday amid a massive cash crunch and decades-high runaway inflation. He blamed the establishment, bureaucracy, and politicians for the state the country is in right now. He even asserted that the solution wouldn't come from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but from within the country.
Why does this story matter?
- Pakistan's forex reserves have depleted as last year's devastating floods worsened its economic crisis.
- Under the IMF's pressure, Pakistan last month removed its unofficial exchange price cap, triggering its currency's biggest single-day decline of nearly 10%.
- Laden with debt, Pakistan secured a $6 billion bailout from the IMF in 2019. However, the IMF held an additional installment of $1.1 billion, demanding economic reforms.
Imran Khan's government brought terrorists into country: Asif
In Sialkot, Asif said the law and Constitution aren't followed in Pakistan, which is a reason for the current economic crisis. He said he spent 32 years in the opposition camp and witnessed the country's politics being disgraced. Attacking the previous Imran Khan-led government, he said the current wave of terrorism was a result of bringing terrorists into the country around two-and-a-half years ago.
Asif's statements have gone viral since
Selling 2 golf clubs will clear one-fourth debt: Asif
Mentioning two golf clubs sitting on government land, Asif further said that selling those would reduce the country's debt by one-fourth. He also called on the nation to stand on its feet. Pakistan's foreign reserves reportedly have less than three weeks worth of import cover.
Mini-budget recently presented in parliament
Notably, the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2023, also called the mini-budget, was presented in both houses of Pakistan's parliament on Wednesday as the country struggles to fulfill the IMF's conditions. Meanwhile, milk prices in Pakistan have soared to PKR 250 per liter, while chicken costs Rs. 780 per kg. Simultaneously, the price of petrol and diesel was hiked by Rs. 22.20 and Rs. 17.20, respectively.
Opposition TLP gives 72-hour ultimatum to withdraw fuel price hike
Opposition party Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) gave the incumbent Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government a 72-hour ultimatum to roll back the latest hike in fuel prices. TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi warned the government saying that if the price isn't withdrawn, the party will do "what it's known for," referring to recent protest marches that resulted in the national capital being brought to a standstill.