Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar conducted a press briefing today to announce the recent $3 billion staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Expressing gratitude to the IMF, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif acknowledged the sacrifices made by Pakistan to avoid default. He revealed that Pakistan has secured $4 billion, surpassing the IMF’s identified $2 billion gap. During a visit to Paris, discussions with the President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) resulted in a commitment of $1 billion from the IDB, providing much-needed support.

A staff-level agreement has been reached, and the Executive Board meeting is scheduled for July 12. Pakistan will receive $3 billion under this nine-month program, with installments commencing after the board meeting. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif appreciated the efforts of the IMF, Ishaq Dar, and their team, but emphasized that this should be a moment of concern rather than pride.

He highlighted the need to break free from the cycle of loans and mentioned the progress made under Nawaz Sharif’s leadership until 2018, including the end of load shedding and the swift progress of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. The Prime Minister criticized the previous government for mismanagement, corruption, and pocket-filling at the expense of the people. He expressed hope that this would be the last IMF program for Pakistan and urged the public to pray for economic stability.

The Prime Minister announced an agreement with Azerbaijan for liquefied natural gas (LNG), showcasing efforts to diversify partnerships and boost economic growth. He acknowledged the support of friendly countries, including China, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the Islamic Development Bank. By securing financial assistance, Pakistan has avoided the threat of default.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif dismissed claims that Pakistan was becoming another Sri Lanka, and he addressed a conspiracy targeting Pakistan’s economic stability involving internal and external adversaries. The Army Chief played a significant role in completing the loan program and supporting the country’s recovery efforts. The Prime Minister outlined a comprehensive five-point plan for economic recovery, emphasizing collaboration between civilian and military leadership and support from allied parties.

Minister of Finance, Ishaq Dar, mentioned the importance of securing $2.5 billion to avoid financial imbalances and highlighted Pakistan’s substantial assets. He assured that Pakistan is not a beggar but a proud member of the IMF. Minister Dar unveiled a roadmap to halt economic decline and affirmed that Pakistan will not face default. Progress has already been made in repaying commercial bank loans and increasing reserves. The focus now is on achieving economic stability and financial integrity.

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