On Thursday, US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome reassured Finance Minister Ishaq Dar that Washington would continue to assist Islamabad in unlocking a long-stalled International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout. This bailout is intended to help the liquidity-challenged country’s economy avoid imminent default. The assurance was given during a meeting between the finance minister and the ambassador in the federal capital.
According to details, the envoy was briefed on the progress of the Washington-based lender’s programme. During the meeting, FinMin Dar requested the US ambassador’s assistance in unlocking the bailout programme. He also informed him about a $2 billion commitment from Saudi Arabia and ongoing talks with the United Arab Emirates for financing $1 billion. The minister expressed the need for additional resources and financing, to which Blome promised cooperation from the United States.
According to an official statement from the Ministry of Finance, Dar briefed the envoy on the country’s economic outlook and the challenges faced by the nation. He also shared the government’s pragmatic policy decisions aimed at stabilising and growing the economy.
The statement noted that Blome expressed confidence in the government’s policies and programmes, supporting them for the economic sustainability of the country and the socio-economic upliftment of the masses. He extended his support to promote bilateral economic, investment, and trade relations between both countries.
The two sides discussed matters of common interest and showed an interest in enhancing the existing bilateral relations between both countries. They also talked about various economic avenues through which both countries can strengthen their ties. This meeting with Blome took place days after FinMin Dar met with UAE’s ambassador to Pakistan, Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salim Al-Zaabi, to discuss economic relations.
Since early February, Islamabad has been hosting an IMF mission to negotiate a series of policy measures aimed at securing $1.1 billion in funding for the cash-strapped economy, which is on the verge of collapse.
The IMF has requested Pakistan to secure assurances on external financing from friendly countries and multilateral partners to fund its balance of payment gap for this fiscal year, ending in June. The funds are part of a $6.5 billion bailout package the IMF approved in 2019, which analysts say is critical for Pakistan to avert defaulting on external payment obligations.