Ishaq Dar ‘responsibly’ rules out financial emergency in Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD, MAR 3 /DNA/ – Amid constant criticism over the current economic turmoil, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Ishaq Dar on Friday berated Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for spreading “fake news” regarding Pakistan heading towards default.
Dar — who was sworn in as the finance czar in September last year — blamed the previous PTI government for pushing the nation of 220 million people on the brink of default; claiming that it was the coalition government that saved the country by prioritising the state over their politics.
The finance minister recalled that when the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — a multi-party alliance — ousted Khan through a no-confidence motion, the leaders of the coalition government had decided to keep aside all political interests in the wider interest of the state.
“My presser today would be a reality check for Imran Khan,” Dar said angrily as the PTI leaders have been calling him out since the rupee plunged to a historic low of 285.09 a day earlier while February’s inflation hit nearly a 50-year high of 31.5%.
A day earlier, the deposed prime minister took to Twitter to censure the PDM-led government for slaughtering the rupee bringing back his “regime change conspiracy” narrative imposed on Pakistanis by former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa.
“Rupee slaughtered — lost over 62% or 110/$ in 11 months of PDM. This has increased public debt alone Rs 14.3 [trillion and] historic 75 [year] high inflation 31.5%,” Khan tweeted. Expressing his surprise and concerns over Khan’s continuous criticism of the coalition government, he said: “I am unable to understate whether he (Khan) has a problem in his leg or brain.”
Instead of protecting the national interest, PTI’s leadership tried to sabotage the International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal, Dar said. “Khan’s attitude is selfish.”
Pakistan is desperately trying to convince the Washington-based lender to release an overdue tranche of $1.1 billion which will open other financial avenues for Pakistan.
Dar — who has served as the finance minister three times in the past — reiterated that Pakistan has neither defaulted in the past nor will it default in the future.
Referring to Khan’s remarks about default, the finance minister said that the PTI chairman’s statements adversely affect the country’s financial markets.
He, however, admitted that the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) reserves fell below $3 billion.
It should be noted that the liquid foreign reserves held by the country stand at around $9 billion as of February 24 while the net reserves held by commercial banks stand at around $5.5 billion.
Commenting on the economic crisis being faced by the country, he said that the unprecedented floods triggered by the above-normal monsoon rains last year causes losses worth over $30 billion.
Pushed to the brink by last year’s devastating floods, Pakistan has reserves barely enough for three weeks of essential imports.
The country needed over $16 billion for the rehabilitation of the flood affectees, Dar said, citing a report compiled by the World Bank. He recalled that the country secured flood pledges of more than a targetted $8 billion at the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan in Geneva.

Sharing a numeric comparison of the performance of nearly four years of PTI and almost 11 months of PDM-led government, Dar said that Khan and Co. did everything to “destroy the country”; however, the numbers show who is sincere with the country.=DNA