ISLAMABAD: Pakistan remains optimistic that countries grouped under a U.S. initiative known as “Friends of Pakistan” will help to pull it out of its economic crisis even though no commitments were made at a meeting held in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
A statement from the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said the meeting, attended by senior officials of member countries, had affirmed that the “Friends of Pakistan stand shoulder to shoulder with it in its journey to build a strong and prosperous Pakistan.” The Ministry said the meeting adopted a “work plan” that cooperation with Pakistan was required in the areas of development, security, energy and institution-building. The officials finalised a calendar of meetings from January 13-16, 2009, to make recommendations. The possibility of a Trust Fund for Pakistan is under consideration, said the Ministry.
The IMF will loan $7.6 billion over the next 23 months, but Pakistan is looking for as much support as it can get. Dawn newspaper reported on Monday that one of the conditions of the IMF loan may be the imposition of an agricultural tax that could end up making the government extremely unpopular with an important constituency.
In previous arrangements with the IMF, Pakistan resisted this condition, but the Dawn said this time there may be no choice as money from other sources, including Friends of Pakistan, was not forthcoming.
6 months ago