IMF says it will support new programme for Pakistan if government asks for one

Credit: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

By Ariba Shahid

KARACHI, March 8 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will support formulating a new economic programme for Pakistan if its new government asks for one, a spokesperson said on Friday, and added that the fund encourages fair resolution of all electoral disputes.

Pakistan's cash-strapped economy is struggling to stabilise after securing a $3 billion standby arrangement from the IMF last summer, with record inflation, rupee devaluation and shrinking foreign reserves.

"...we look forward to engaging with the new government to complete the second review under the current Stand-by Arrangement and, should the government request, support the formulation of a new medium-term economic program," the IMF spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement.

The party of Pakistan's jailed former prime minister Imran Khan asked the IMF last month to ensure an audit of the disputed Feb. 8 elections is carried out before any more bailout talks with Islamabad.

The IMF said that while it does not comment on domestic political developments, the fund encourages the fair and peaceful resolution of all electoral disputes, given the importance of the institutional environment for economic stability and growth.

Pakistan's new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has asked his government to open talks with the IMF for a new programme after clearing its $3 billion stand-by arrangement.

(Reporting by Ariba Shahid; Writing by Shivam Patel; Editing by YP Rajesh)


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