The International Monetary Fund (IMF) rejected Pakistan’s assertion that one of the reasons for the Punjab elections’
She also said, “The IMF sets aggregate general government targets (aggregating across federal and provincial government levels) and within these, there is fiscal space to allocate or reprioritize spending and/or raise additional revenues to ensure constitutional activities can take place as required”.
This declaration follows the Punjab elections’ postponement announcement by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). For what it’s worth, the IMF has also denied Pakistan’s assertion that it meddled in affairs unrelated to the $6.5 billion rescue package for the second time in four days, refusing to back the coalition government’s claim as it fights to maintain power.
postponement on Thursday was due to programme conditions, noting that Islamabad had the right to reprioritize spending or levy additional taxes to fulfil its constitutional obligations.
According to the lender’s resident representative, Esther Perez Ruiz, “there is no condition under Pakistan’s EFF [Extended Fund Facility]-supported programme, which could interfere with Pakistan’s freedom to engage in constitutional activities.”
She reminded the government that “decisions on the constitutionality, practicality, and timing of the province and general elections lay solely with Pakistan’s institutions” in her statement, which further hinted at the lender’s adamant insistence on staying out of domestic politics.
According to the global lender’s mandate to advance macroeconomic and financial stability, the IMF programme negotiations have thus far only been concerned with economic strategies to address Pakistan’s challenges with its economy and balance of payments. Yet, communication breakdowns, delays, and unjustified narrative-building gimmicks have prevented Pakistan and the IMF from moving forward in their negotiations.