| 2 December 2023, Saturday |

Pakistan finance minister cancels US trip due to political crisis

Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Saturday that he had postponed his trip to Washington for the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank on the prime minister’s directives owing to the country’s political circumstances.

Dar, on the other hand, stated that he will attend major bilateral and multilateral meetings online, and that a Pakistani delegation would be in Washington.

Pakistan is on the verge of defaulting on its debt, with an IMF rescue package frozen since November, and a bitter political war brewing between the administration and former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Dar said that the crisis had been compounded by a recent Supreme Court order striking down plans to delay elections to two provincial assemblies scheduled for next month. The order has created a standoff between the government and the court.

“We are stuck in a strange mess as a country… so under these circumstances, on the orders of the prime minister, I have dropped plans to be there [in Washington] physically,” Dar said in a televised address.

The minister rejected reports of the canceled trip being linked to a holdup in Pakistan’s IMF bailout programme.

He added that a “constitutional crisis” was created by the Supreme Court, which has demanded that the government provide 21 billion Pakistani rupees ($74 million) to the election authorities by Monday to conduct the polls.

  • Reuters