Pak PM terms financial pledges in Geneva as testament to his govt’s credibility

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The positive response from international donors and countries on Pakistan’s appeal for flood relief aid has certainly been one of the most significant achievements for the country. But for Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the positive response is also testament to what he believes is the confidence in his Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government.

A big thank you to the heads of states and governments, European Union (EU), our development partners, and the UN for making ‘Resilient Pakistan Conference’ a resounding success”, said Sharif after his return from Geneva.

This comes after Pakistan put out a plea at the Geneva conference stating that it needed at least $8 billion for recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of the flood-hit people and the affected areas by the unprecedented floods.

The call for international flood relief aid was responded with pledges from international donors and countries of over $10 billion, which would be utilised through implementation of various development projects in the flood-hit areas over a span of at least three years.

But the statement of Sharif, linking the success at the Geneva donors conference to his current ruling political government of PDM, is being seen as more of a political point scoring tactic as the pledges by donors is confined to the flood relief work allocations and does not cater to Pakistan’s desperate position on its economic situation in the country at large.

Some analysts say that the pledges are also linked with Pakistan’s position in the IMF programme, which is faced with delays and has triggered threats of a financial default.

Pakistan’s most latest round of negotiations with the IMF ended without any positive outcome as no date of the pivotal visit of the IMF team to Pakistan was announced.

Pakistan has been asking IMF team to come, review and approve the ninth assessment to release the next tranche of $1.1 billion.

Sources in the finance ministry of Pakistan said that IMF has asked Pakistan to take certain measures before it sends its staff-level mission.

Sources also stated that IMF has put forward some tough conditions for Pakistan to undertake, which the IMF says cannot be considered as new demands.

“The IMF team does not make any fresh demand,” said the source.

In fact, the IMF demands are only reminders to the previous commitments Islamabad made and which are still pending to be implemented, which includes exchange rate policies, taxes and letting the rupee value be determined by the market.

The IMF plan is being seen as the only way forward for Pakistan, for which, the government will have to make more unpopular decisions, further swelling the already enlarged levels of inflation in the country, which experts say, are a difficult task as it will further weaken the PDM government’s political position and give more weightage to its arch rival political opponent Imran Khan’s anti-government narrative.

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