Help Pak Secure IMF Loan Tranche: Army Chief Appeals To U.S.
Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has requested the U.S. administration to help secure an early dispersal of a tranche of bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stabilise the dwindling economy of Pakistan. According to security sources, the army chief spoke by phone with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman earlier this week and appealed to the White House and the Treasury Department to push the IMF to immediately supply nearly $1.2 billion that Pakistan is due to receive under a resumed loan programme, as reported by The Express Tribune. The IMF has already granted Pakistan “staff-level approval” for the loan. But the transaction—part of the IMF’s $6 billion Extended Fund Facility—will be processed only after the multilateral lender’s executive board grants final approval. The IMF is going into recess for the next three weeks and its board will not convene until late August. No firm date has been set for announcing the loan approval, according to an IMF official who spoke on condition of anonymity. For Islamabad, time is of essence as the rupee has been plummeting against the dollar, and the country has less than $9 billion in foreign reserves left, covering under two months of imports. The army chief’s appeal comes in the wake of separate meetings between senior civilian Pakistani and American officials this month, none of which managed to negotiate an early disbursement of funds.