Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the Pakistan government`s decision to reverse its recent increase in petroleum prices was a mistake and amounted to going back on economic reform.
Clinton said Pakistan needs to undertake necessary economic reforms for the overall health of the country`s economy.
"We have made it clear, as I did in a meeting with their ambassador, that we think it is a mistake to reverse the progress that was being made to provide a stronger economic base for Pakistan, and we will continue to express that opinion," Clinton told reporters at a joint media availability with her Japanese counterpart.
"I have said on many occasions, we believe that the government of Pakistan must reform its economic laws and regulations, including those that affect fuel and its cost," she said.
Clinton was responding to questions about the rollback of gas price hike in Pakistan, thus endangering its ability to continue to receive funds under the International Monetary Fund`s USD 11 billion loan programme.
"What we`ve tried to make clear all along... is that we believe that there`s hard reforms that the Pakistani government needs to take, and we do recognise that these are difficult, but they`re in the long-term interest of Pakistan`s economic stability and growth," State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters earlier in the day. "I`m not going to weigh in to Pakistani domestic politics, but we believe that, these reforms, though difficult, are necessary," Toner said.
Toner said Pakistan needs to undertake difficult economic reforms that might require some politically painful but necessary decisions. "But beyond that, I`m not going to weigh into what is a domestic political debate in Pakistan," he said in response to a question.