ISLAMABAD - Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday clarified that his statement regarding Pakistan’s Nuclear Program is being quoted out of context and neither International Monetary Fund (IMF) nor any other country has attached any conditionality with regard to the nuclear capability. “My statement on the floor of the Senate of Pakistan on 16th March, 2023, in response to a query regarding reasons for delay in IMF Program, is being quoted out of context,” said the minister in a statement yesterday. “My comments with regards to Pakistan’s Nuclear Program was in response to a colleague Senator’s specific question, wherein, I emphasized that Pakistan has sovereign right to develop its nuclear program, as it best suits our national interests, without any external dictation, which should be linked with the ongoing negotiations with the IMF”.
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“The delay in IMF staff level agreement is purely due to technical reasons, for which we are continuously engaged with the IMF in order to conclude it at the earliest”. Last week, the finance minister, in his address to the Senate, had said that Pakistan would not compromise on its nuclear programme for reviving the stalled IMF loan facility. Meanwhile, in a statement released to the media, IMF resident representative in Islamabad Esther Perez Ruiz denied attaching any strings to the External Fund Facility (EFF). “Regarding the recent speculation that programme discussions with the authorities for the ninth review under the IMF-supported programme may have covered Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, I want to be categorical that there is absolutely no truth to this or any insinuated link between the past or current IMF supported programme and decision by any Pakistani government over its nuclear programme,” the official said.
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The IMF official further said that the discussions have exclusively focused on economic policies to solve Pakistan’s economic and balance of payments problems, in line with the Fund’s mandate for promoting macroeconomic and financial stability.