Fri, 19 Aug 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], August 2 (ANI): COAS (Chief of Army Staff) General Qamar Jawed Bajwa's phone call to US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman kicked up a storm and shows that Pakistan's economy is in tatters.

It also goes to show that the situation has deteriorated to such an extent that even the country's army chief feels compelled to reach out to the people who matter to avert the danger of a default-like situation, reported Business Recorder.

General Bajwa's intervention in the economic matters of the country reveals that it would be catastrophic for Pakistan's economy unless the IMF (International Monetary Fund) bailout programme is revived and international borrowing unlocked along with it.

Amid the worsening crisis due to shrinking foreign reserves, Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has approached the US for help in securing an early disbursement of funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to prevent the south Asian country from a looming economic disaster.

In order to seek support on the economic front, Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif persuaded Bajwa to talk to US authorities and use his influence for the early disbursement of IMF funds.

The premier and COAS also discussed other options on how to secure the country's economy from getting into a crisis-like situation, The News International reported citing sources.

As per the report, Bajwa telephoned US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and appealed to her to expedite the USD1.2 billion disbursal.

Indeed, the finance ministry and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) are doing what they can to calm nerves, but when the country needs to cough up more than USD 40 billion in debt servicing in a single fiscal year, while it is bending over backwards for a mere USD 1.4 billion, it's no longer possible to just talk up the market, so to speak, like the old days.

It is also very clear that the market will remain shaky, and the rupee will not be able to find its feet till the staff-level agreement is followed by the money actually arriving in the central bank's vaults, reported Business Recorder.

Also, it's not just the COAS that's been making phone calls to Washington. Pretty much everyone in government has been stepping beyond the formal protocol of dealing with the Fund to try and get the American government to exert some influence.

Meanwhile, the country's political elite are spewing venom at each other; muddying the waters even more while its economy is collapsing and there is a desperate need to save Pakistan from default or else it will go Sri Lanka's way.

Pakistan politicians at least should have the good sense to come to some sort of an understanding about rescuing the economy in these very fragile times, reported Business Recorder.

The simple fact of the matter is that the country needs to borrow a lot of money to stay solvent in the near- to medium-term. And the trickle that will come from the Fund will open the floodgates to a lot more from other institutions as well as sovereigns.

Even a number of very friendly, and usually very reliable, countries have now disassociated from any further lending to Pakistan with the resumption of the EFF (Extended Fund Facility), reported Business Recorder. (ANI)

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