IMF trashes attaching any ‘nuclear’ condition to Pakistan loan deal
Representative Perez Luiz says talks with Pakistan govt chiefly centered on economic policies
March 20, 2023 09:57 AM
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has trashed speculations that the global lender had attached any conditions to Pakistan’s missile or nuclear programme as part of the ninth review of the IMF-supported $7 billion loan programme, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
The IMF statement coincided with remarks of Commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) General Michael E Kurilla during a testimony before the US Senate Arms Services Committee in which expressed satisfaction regarding Pakistan nuclear security procedures.
Stating that there was “absolutely no truth” to any such insinuations, IMF Resident Representative Esther Perez Luiz declared that discussions with the Pakistani authorities have exclusively focused on economic policies to address the country’s economic and balance of payments issues which were as per the Fund's mandate.
The IMF official said there had never been any talk on Pakistan’s nuclear assets. “Nothing was discussed in the past not is was on the table now,” the official added.
Perez Luiz outrightly denied speculations that the lender has put pressure on Pakistan’s nuclear programme during the talks for the ninth review under IMF-supported programme. “Our discussions have exclusively focused on economic policies to solve Pakistan’s economic and balance of payments problems, in line with the IMF’s mandate for promoting macroeconomic and financial stability,” the statement added.
Earlier on March 17, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Fawad Chaudhry had alleged that the IMF had asked Pakistan to halt its long-range missile programme.
However, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had claimed that nobody in Pakistan can compromise on the nuclear and missile assets of the country. “We are responsible citizens of Pakistan, we represent the people of Pakistan and we are here to guard the national interest of the country” he had said while addressing the Senate Committee of Whole last week.
Ishaq Dar had assured the senators that details of the staff-level agreement with the IMF will be made public. He had said once the staff agreement is signed, it will be put on the website of the Finance Ministry and nothing will be concealed.
“Nobody has any right to tell Pakistan what range of missiles it can have and what nuclear weapons it can have. We have to have our own deterrence,” said Dar.
It is for the first time that the finance minister had brought the issue of the range of nuclear missiles into the public sphere.
Dar assured that “nobody is going to compromise anything on the nuclear or missile programme of Pakistan — no way”.
Meanwhile, Commander of US Central Command (Centcom) General Michael E Kurilla during a testimony before the US Senate Arms Services Committee has expressed satisfaction regarding Pakistan nuclear security procedures.
General Kurilla said “I am confident in their (Pakistan) nuclear security procedures and the US is satisfied with Pakistan nuclear programme.” He stated this while responding to a question by a senator whether Pakistan’s nuclear programme was secure against the backdrop of ongoing political instability and economic crisis.
General Kurilla said “I have a great relationship with Chief of the Army Staff General Asim Munir.” He said “I think the concerns right now in Pakistan are their budget, their financial situation, the current political situation and the counterterrorism situation.”
He also referred to the resurgence of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as attacks by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan have increased significantly since the end of a ceasefire with the outlawed group.