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Pakistan to Ink an ‘Integrated’ Deal with China

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan is seeking an integrated economic package from China envisaging financial support, increase in trade and investment and cooperation in agricultural research and will go ahead with an arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) among various other funding avenues, Dawn News reported Friday.
Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar said the financing support package from Riyadh is not based on any conditions, adding that Pakistan would stand behind Saudi Arabia under difficult circumstances, he announced this at a joint news conference after a meeting of the federal cabinet Finance, where he was accompanied by Power Minister Omar Ayub Khan and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.
On the other hand, the finance minister formally announced an increase in power tariff after cabinet approval and responded to criticism over ‘indecisiveness and lack of planning’ of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government over the past two months. He said it would have been easier to request for an IMF bailout and increase utility prices at the outset like previous governments, but that was not what his party had promised before coming to power.
Dawn News further reported that the Finance minister said that Saudi bailout package is not based on any conditions.
“Instead, we have been planning since day one in office and working on various sources [to secure funds] and we are still working on multiple avenues and not only the IMF; but it would become clear in the days to come how much support is required from the IMF when we enter into formal dialogue by Nov 7.”
The minister said more than the amount of the loan, the IMF engagement was important to access international capital market for bonds, enable flows from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, World Bank and Asian Development Bank and encourage foreign direct investment.
He said there was no direct link between Saudi Arabia and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that was a strategic mutual arrangement between Pakistan and China. But there are projects emerging out of the CPEC for which Saudi Arabia has been requested (to invest) with prior discussions with China, and others could also join such projects.
He said Pakistan would play the role of a bridge to promote peace, harmony, unity and friendship among the Muslim Ummah and it could not become part of any conspiracy.
Moreover, the information minister said the cabinet had decided to grant “official passports” to officials of the National Accountability Bureau to facilitate them in foreign visits and bringing back thieves from anywhere in the world.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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