In response to questions from PPP Senator Raza Rabbani, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Thursday that there would be “no compromise” on the country’s nuclear and missile programs.
Regarding delays faced by the government on the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF, he said, “It has been an extensive engagement — unusual, too lengthy, too long, too demanding — but we have completed everything,” adding that the program “should have been over by 2022”.
Senator Rabbani questioned the reasons for the delay in reaching an agreement with the IMF, which would provide a vital lifeline to avert the recurring balance-of-payments crisis. The senator called the delay “absolutely out of the ordinary — extraordinary,” and questioned whether it was due to pressure being applied to Pakistan’s nuclear program.
Dar assured the Senate that nobody is going to compromise anything on Pakistan’s nuclear or missile program. “Nobody has any right to tell Pakistan what range of missiles it can have or what nuclear weapons it can have,” he said, emphasizing that the country has the right to have its own deterrent.
He further promised that news of the IMF’s staff-level agreement and the Extended Fund Facility program will be put up on the website of the finance ministry once finalized. Revealing one of the reasons behind the delay in the IMF agreement, Dar said certain friendly countries had made commitments to bilaterally support Pakistan at the time of previous reviews. Now, the lender is asking that Pakistan complete and materialize those commitments. “That is the only delay,” he claimed.
It bears mentioning that Ishaq Dar last week voiced his hopes to soon reach an agreement with the IMF. He said at the time that the country was facing numerous economic challenges and the process of preparing economic and fiscal frameworks for the fiscal year 2023-24 will start very soon.