Days after requesting US assistance in securing the rapid release of a crucial $1.7 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) disbursement to Pakistan, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, has now reached out to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as part of its efforts to secure financial aid for the cash-strapped nation, according to a media report on Saturday.
With the IMF’s Executive Board due to meet later this month to formally approve the next $1.2 billion tranche, the international lender wants Pakistan to ensure it receives the pledge from its friends for financial aid, the Express Tribune newspaper reported.
The IMF is believed to have asked Pakistan to provide firm guarantees that its friends would provide $4 billion for its external needs.
Pakistan is in talks with key allies like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and China to provide the necessary funding, according to the report.
When Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited Saudi Arabia in April, he returned empty-handed because Riyadh had given no firm assurances. The United Arab Emirates was also reluctant to come to the rescue. Instead of providing loans, the UAE offered Pakistan to buy shares and assets.
“In this context, the army has reportedly requested financial assistance from the Saudi authorities and the United Arab Emirates,” the report said.
The media wing of the Pakistani army said in a statement on Friday that General Bajwa had received a phone call from the President of the United Arab Emirates Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan during which the Gulf leader expressed his deepest condolences for the tragic loss of precious lives due to the helicopter crash in Lasbela.
However, he made no mention of talks related to financial aid to Pakistan.
The latest development came days after Bajwa reportedly spoke to US Under-Secretary of State Wendy Sherman last July to seek help from Washington for an initial IMF board meeting.
Bajwa spoke by phone with Sherman and also called on the White House and the US Treasury Department to push the IMF to immediately accelerate the nearly $1.2 billion loan, the official Associated news agency reported. Press of Pakistan (APP), citing sources in Pakistan. the Pakistani army.
However, the Foreign Office had feigned ignorance if the two leaders were talking about the economy even as it confirmed Bajwa and Sherman had a phone conversation.
In the past, Bajwa acted as a key interlocutor on financial matters when he traveled to the Gulf countries seeking financial assistance for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government in 2018. This is in because of its military diplomacy that the UAE and Saudi Arabia have extended financial bailouts. , according to the Express Tribune report.
The reason the army chief had to play a role stemmed from the fact that other countries might not be ready to accept assurances from civilian leaders, he said.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and China have in the past always supported Pakistan in difficult situations, but this time they tied their aid under certain conditions. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are notably working in tandem with the IMF and other Western countries on financial assistance to Pakistan.
But with the help of the military, sources are confident that Pakistan would get the financial aid needed to pull the country out of the current economic crisis, according to the report.
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