Pakistan was expected to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to seek help for its crumbling economy. And it did. While help is not certain as yet, the country managed to get some relief after asking Saudi Arabia for assistance. Now, Islamabad has defended its decision to approach foreign countries rather than wait for IMF's decision by explaining that there was a need to not over-depend on any one source.
While it is widely predicted that IMF could turn down Pakistan's request under US pressure, the Imran Khan-led government appears to have kept 'friendly countries' like Saudi Arabia, China and Indonesia as 'back-up.' The country's finance minister on Tuesday refuted charges that he was not confident of an IMF bailout package coming. Asad Umar, according to Dawn, explained to his fellow parliamentarians that the country should not depend on any one source for financial help.
Umar has been in the line of fire as rival parties have accused the new government of wasting time in approaching IMF even as the country's stock markets crashed. Then there is the suspicion that IMF will reject the request all-together because US has already stated it won't allow IMF money to be given to Pakistan so that it can pay off Chinese debts. While Umar admitted that Pakistan's biggest trade deficit is with China, he also said that Beijing has assured him of working together towards a solution.
Local media reported that members of the opposition were not entirely convinced by the logic and arguments put forward by Umar and called his speech 'a lecture.' Instead, they wanted a debate which never happened. Meanwhile, Pakistan's economy - even with the promise of Saudi assistance - continues to be in absolute tatters.