Imran Khan’s party urges IMF to consider Pakistan’s instability in talks – sources

By Thomson Reuters Feb 28, 2024 | 5:59 AM

By Asif Shahzad

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The party of Pakistan’s jailed former prime minister, Imran Khan, has asked the International Monetary Fund to factor in the country’s political stability in any further bailout talks, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has sent a letter to the IMF detailing its position, two senior sources in the party said, adding more details would be made public in due course.

The IMF didn’t respond to an email for a comment on the letter.

The IMF also declined to comment on the country’s political situation last week after Khan’s aides said they would urge the lender to call for an independent audit of Pakistan’s disputed Feb. 8 elections before engaging in further talks with Islamabad.

Pakistan’s cash-strapped economy is struggling to stabilise after securing a $3 billion standby arrangement from the IMF last summer.

Analysts say a new government – which Khan’s opponents are expected to form – is likely to need more funds from the global lender after the standby arrangement expires in April.

Khan, ousted in April 2022 in a parliament vote of confidence, was accused by opposition parties of scuttling an IMF deal under a $6 billion Extended Fund Facility days before leaving his office, a charge he denies.

An IMF spokesperson said last week that it was focused on the completion of the standby programme but was available to support the post-election government through a new arrangement to address Pakistan’s ongoing challenges if requested.

(Additional reporting by Ariba Shahid in Karachi; Writing by Shivam Patel; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Christina Fincher)