During a session of the Senate on Thursday, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stated unequivocally that there would be no compromise on the country’s nuclear and missile programs. The assurance came in response to questions posed by PPP Senator Raza Rabbani, who had raised concerns about the delay in Pakistan’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Rabbani had suggested that the delay might be due to pressure being exerted on Pakistan’s nuclear program.
In response to Rabbani’s questions, Dar stated that the delay was not due to any action by the current government, but rather to the fact that the IMF had requested that certain friendly countries fulfill commitments they had made to support Pakistan. According to Geo, Dar promised that once the staff-level agreement and the Extended Fund Facility program were finalized, the details would be posted on the finance ministry’s website.
Dar also expressed his belief that Pakistan’s nuclear program was a matter of national security and emphasized that no one had the right to tell Pakistan what range of missiles or nuclear weapons it could have. He argued that the country’s nuclear and missile programs were essential for deterrence and for guarding Pakistan’s national interests.
The delay in the IMF agreement has been a cause for concern, as it is seen as critical to taming a balance-of-payments crisis. The agreement, which was approved by the IMF in 2019 and is worth $6.5 billion, includes $1.1 billion that would be released once the agreement is signed. Dar had previously blamed the delay on the previous government, which he said had failed to meet commitments and created a trust deficit. Despite the delay, Dar stated that Pakistan was “very close” to signing the agreement.