Pakistan’s Focus on IMF Deal Amid Rising Terrorism in Its Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province


The International Monetary Fund has approved a nine-month Stand-by Arrangement worth USD 3 billion bailout package to cash-strapped Pakistan for its economic stability. In addition, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and China also extended a lifeline of USD 2 billion, USD 1 billion, and USD 700 million respectively to the South Asian country. 

Despite financial help from other countries and the IMF deal, Pakistan is still under the woods and tweaking its tough financial policies on demands led by the Washington-based financial body, making it difficult for common people to survive in the crisis-hit country. 

Pakistan’s government has recently approved a massive hike in the electricity base rate through a circulation summary. The federal cabinet has raised the basic power tariff by ₹3 for some customers and by ₹7.5 per unit for others. 

The move came as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had reassured IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva that he would not tolerate an iota of violation of the agreement reached with the global lender.

The Pakistani rupee lost value to the US dollar in the interbank and open markets on Tuesday as the initial euphoria generated in the cash-strapped country by the approval and transfer of billions of dollars from the IMF and friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia, and UAE, subsided. 

In total, it has imposed an additional tax burden of ₹215 billion on its citizens for the IMF deal. However, the federal government, in its latest economic report, stated that the Pakistan government’s fiscal deficit is expected to narrow in the fiscal year 2024 from the previous year’s 7.9 percent of gross domestic product. 

On Global Hunger Index (GHI), the country has dropped from 38.1 in 2006 to 26.1 in 2022, revealing the extent of the crisis that gripped the country and its people. The GHI ranked Pakistan at the 99th position out of 121 countries surveyed.

At present, Pakistan is sitting on a large pile of debt taken from international organizations and countries like China. For the month of July, Pakistan’s external debt service obligations stand at $2.44 billion for the month of July 2023. The debt also includes $2.44 billion for the current month of July 2023 owed to China. 

Not just China, the Islamic nation has to pay back Saudi Arabia’s debt of around $ 195 million for the current month as well. The amount needed to be repaid to France by Pakistan is USD 2.85 million to Japan, which is USD 4.57 million.

Apart from repaying debt amounts to different countries, Pakistan has to repay the IMF to the tune of outstanding loans of USD 189.67 million including the principal amount of USD 165.02 million and markup of USD 24.65 million.

On the other hand, the cases of a bomb blast in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are on the rise. The province is continuously facing terrorists attack. In the past year, from June 18, 2022, to June 18, 2023, there were 665 terror attacks in the province, including 15 suicide bombings. But it seems that Pakistan is only focused on the IMF deal and the country’s economic situation. 

The report also revealed that most of these incidents occurred in North Waziristan, DI KhanIt added that the Peshawar district reported 56 acts of militancy, including 19 guns, 25 grenades, eight IEDs, and two suicide and rocket attacks each.

In a recent mosque attack, an additional Station House Officer (SHO) was killed and several others injured after a bomb blast in an under-construction mosque in the Ali Masjid area of Khyber district. The incident seems to be a suicide bomb blast, according to initial investigation. 

A Pakistan’s Public Service Commission’s director was also killed after he was targeted by unidentified men. The incident came amid a series of targeted attacks in Peshawar district in recent days. 

Source: Live Mint