IMF Warns of Unrest in Pakistan as Imran Khan Blasts 'Imported' Gov't for Economic Disaster
On Monday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to release $1.1 billion under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for Pakistan. The Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition government has hiked fuel prices to a record level to secure the fund for the cash-strapped country.
The Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned of serious "social protests and instability" in Pakistan if the government fails to control the prices of essential commodities such as food and fuel.
The observations of the fund come at a time when retail inflation has accelerated to 27.3 percent in August, a level last seen in May 1975.
The lender has also asked Pakistan to take several measures to ensure macroeconomic stability after it received a $1.1 billion loan from the IMF earlier this week.
The IMF observed that "socio-political pressures"
could weigh on policy and reform implementation, especially given the tenuous political coalition and their slim majority in parliament.
"All this could affect policy decisions and undermine the program's fiscal adjustment strategy, jeopardizing macro-financial and external stability and debt sustainability," the fund said.
The relief package announced by the previous Imran Khan government in February this year had attracted sharp comments from the IMF, as the latter views such measures as responsible for the fiscal trouble.
The PTI chairman had announced reduced petrol and diesel prices and lowered electricity tariffs to provide relief to the poorer segments of society.
On Thursday, Khan, who was ousted in April through a parliamentary vote of no-confidence
, said that he possessed a recorded tape of people who conspired against his government.
"I have been patient for four months…for the country's sake. The nation is with me…[and] I can always shut down Islamabad [on one call], but I am not doing it because of the poor economic situation," Khan said during a massive public rally in the Punjab province.
He listed economic indicators to show the progress made under his tenure. "I ask who is responsible for imposing the crooks on the country and creating this chaos," Khan said while mentioning inflation reaching a 47-year high.
Describing the Shehbaz Sharif-led government as "imported," Khan said the coalition government blamed the IMF's bailout package for its failure.
Since April this year, the cricketer-turned-politician has been conducting massive rallies across the country to target the coalition government. Khan accused Washington of conspiracies to oust him, a charge denied by the US.