For the last few months, quite unnecessarily a fuss is being created by the opposition political parties about the federal government negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package of 8 billion dollars to overcome its inherited serious economic crisis.

Since December 1958, Pakistan has approached the IMF 21 times for financial assistance for varying amount and period for overcoming pressing financial requirements and budget deficits. Both the former ruling parties PPP and PML-N have also been Fund beneficiaries during their tenures. Has any opposition political leader gone through the agreements which Pakistan had signed with IMF during all these years?

Initially, Pakistan immediately required bailout assistance of about $12 billion but following hurricane trips of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia, UAE and China and timely financial assistance from these brotherly friendly countries brought the bailout package volume to $ 6 billion for which the negotiations have since been completed and IMF Board approval is awaited.

Every previous government has been complying with the conditions and providing all the information required by the IMF. This scribe remembers very well that during General Ziaul Haq’s regime, Pakistan had submitted a comprehensive report running in more than 20 pages in the early 1980s wherein all details were provided about what taxes and duties and budgetary measures were to be levied and taken during the next 3 years. So much so, even terms and conditions of setting up of an Agricultural Prices Commission were also duly submitted for approval by the IMF.

Furthermore, if all the eligible taxpayers, particularly those owning and living in palatial bungalows and driving costly luxury cars, were paying honestly and sincerely their due taxes then the country would have been economically strong and self-reliant many years ago even.

M.Z.RIFAT,

Lahore, June 9.