Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday said Pakistan is the only country founded in the name of Islam and Allah is responsible for its development and prosperity, as the cash-strapped nation faced an acute balance of payments crisis.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Green Line Express Train service here, the senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader said that he had full faith that Pakistan would progress because it was created in the name of Islam.
“If Allah can create Pakistan then He can also protect, develop, and make it prosper,” Mr Dar said.
The finance minister said, “they are trying their best to improve Pakistan’s condition under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s leadership”.
Mr Dar reiterated the incumbent government inherited several problems from the previous government led by Imran Khan, adding, the government was working day and night.
“The team is trying to improve the situation ahead of the elections.” He said the country is still suffering due to the “drama” that started five years ago and insisted that the economy was strong during former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s tenure from 2013-2017.
The finance minister claimed that Pakistan Stock Exchange was the best-performing capital market in South Asia and ranked fifth in the world during Nawaz Sharif’s era and the sights of the world institutions were set on it.
Mr Dar said that Pakistan was now paying the price for the “Panama drama”, the ouster of the PML-N government, and similar issues it faced over the last five years. “Pakistan was on the growth track during Nawaz’s tenure, but it was derailed,” he said.
“People can see the destruction the country suffered in the last five years, and they know who has delivered in the past,” he added.
Facing an acute balance of payments crisis, Pakistan is desperate to secure much-needed external financing, with less than three weeks’ worth of import cover in its foreign exchange reserves, which fell USD 923 million to USD 3.68 billion.
Pakistan secured a USD 6 billion IMF bailout in 2019. It was topped up with another USD 1.1 billion in 2022 to help the country following the unprecedented floods. But the IMF suspended disbursements in November due to Pakistan’s failure to make more progress on fiscal consolidation amidst political turmoil in the country.
Meanwhile, the Washington-based global lender announced on Thursday that it was sending a staff mission to Islamabad this month to discuss resuming the bailout programme.
Despite repeated claims by the finance minister, who replaced Miftah Ismail, to bring the dollar rate under Rs 200, the greenback surged to a record high of Rs 268.30 in the interbank market.
The Pakistani rupee extended its downward trend on Friday with the local currency plunging over Rs 12 against the US dollar in the interbank market as the government eased its control over the currency in order to convince the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release pending loan tranche.
The local unit was trading at Rs 268.30 compared to Thursday’s close of Rs 255.43 in the interbank market.
A day earlier, the rupee shed 24.11 in the interbank market, falling as low as Rs 255.43 to the dollar. The 9.6 per cent decline is the second-biggest drop in a single session.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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