Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar called for making an “example” out of those who were involved in the May 9 attacks as Pakistani politics is being monitored by international financial institutions.
“Example should be made so incidents like May 9 do not happen again,” said the finance minister during an interview with a private TV channel on Wednesday.
Enraged by PTI chief Imran Khan’s arrest from the premises of Islamabad High Court (IHC), party workers and supporters allegedly pillaged government and military installations on May 9.
To contain the violence, the government called in the army and announced that the protesters would be tried under army laws.
A large number of PTI workers and leaders have been arrested in a countrywide crackdown.
Senator Dar shared that investigation is ongoing on the May 9 incidents and it was pre-planned. He added that action will be taken against those involved in the attacks on May 9.
Interestingly, the finance minister’s comment on international finance institutions comes hours after State Minister for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha slammed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for “intervening” in Pakistan’s internal matters.
“Pakistan’s conduct is in line with the law,” the state minister said, terming IMF Mission Chief for Pakistan Nathan Porter’s statement — regarding the political situation in Pakistan — “extraordinary”.
While the IMF does not comment on domestic politics, Porter had said that the Fund hopes “a peaceful way forward is found in line with the Constitution and the rule of law.”
Hoping that both sides will reach a staff-level agreement before the announcement of the federal budget — expected to be unveiled on June 9 — for the fiscal year 2023-24, the state minister said that the delay is neither good for Pakistan nor the Fund.
Dr Pasha confirmed reports that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif contacted IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, adding that the premier assured the fund’s chief that Pakistan will meet all its obligations.
On May 27, PM Shehbaz contacted Georgieva, requesting her to help Pakistan revive the stalled $6.5 billion facility.
PM Shehbaz — according to sources — requested her to intervene to complete the pending ninth review — which would unlock $1.1 billion in financing for the cash-strapped nation.
The coalition government has been negotiating with the Washington-based lender to revive its bailout programme since November, with the financing gap among the biggest roadblocks. There’s about $2.7 billion left to disburse from the $6.5 billion programme that’s scheduled to expire next month.
The minister, in response to a question regarding Pakistan’s plan of action in case it fails to convince the fund before the expiry of the programme — June 30 — said: “The Ministry of Finance is not sitting with its eyes closed, there is always a Plan B but our priority is to revive the IMF programme.”