Pakistan Under Pressure to Accept IMF Funding

Pakistan’s financial crisis continues to worsen by the minute, with security problems and dwindling foreign reserves trashing the south Asian nation’s credit rating and leaving them on the verge of bankruptcy. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari visited China last week and received a pledge of help but failed to receive a firm commitment of cash, leading to increased speculation that they may be forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for help.

IMF department director Mohsin Khan says that Pakistan has not formally approached the organization for loans, but that he encourages them to do so. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has insisted for months that his nation will not seek aid from the IMF. Such aid will come with conditions which may be politically unpopular for Zardari’s already tenuous coalition government. Pakistani adviser Shaukat Tareen said today they would approach the IMF, but only as a last resort.

Pakistani Defense Secretary Kamran Rasool has warned that the Pakistani government cannot abandon its unpopular war on terror for fear that US sanctions would lead it to economic ruin. US State Department spokesman Robert Wood has vowed US support for Pakistan’s faltering economy, but did not specify what form that aid will take. In a separate visit today, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher warned Pakistan against any peace talks with militant groups.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.