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Caretaker govt not going to make any long-term policy with IMF: Syed Ali Zafar

22 July, 2018

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Caretaker Minister for Information, Broadcasting, National Heritage Syed Ali Zafar Saturday said the interim government was working as per its constitutional mandate and making decisions of only for the sake of country.

He was addressing the ‘Media Conference On Election-2018 and Freedom of Expression’ organised by the Unified Media Club of Pakistan (UMCP) here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Responding to reporters’ queries, the minister said the caretaker government was not going to make any long-term policy or agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), binding the upcoming elected government to adhere to it. Any discussion with the IMF would be non-binding as the interim government did not have the mandate to make long-term agreements with international donors, he added.

The federal government, however, could take urgent decisions, which were indispensable to protect the country from any sort of crisis, he said, adding the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had included Pakistan in the gray list in February 2018 year, with a warning to black list it if the FATF’s objections were not removed till June.

Pakistan, he said, had removed most of the objections till June and the caretaker government took an urgent decision to give only a political commitment to the FATF regarding removal of the remaining ones, including legislation to curb terror financing, control money laundering and corruption. The government made that commitment just to save the country from being blacklisted, he maintained.

Regarding surge in dollar rate, Ali Zafar said normally, market forces played the role in that regard. There were two methods to control the rate of dollar, i.e., either let the market forces to decide or start withdrawing from the foreign reserves to artificially control the rupee’s devaluation. The second method affected the country’s exports. It had been in vogue for the last four to five years and reduced the foreign reserves up to 40 percent. The caretaker government had stopped the practice to save the foreign reserves, he added.

To a question about Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui’s remark, he said the matter should be probed by the judiciary, and there should be no comment on it from any other quarter.

To another query, he said the Punjab home minister had confirmed to him that facilities were being provided to Nawaz Sharif as per the Jail Manual and if anybody had the objection, he could approach courts in that regard.

About the merger of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under a constitutional amendment in May 2018, he said five years were required for infrastructural development, putting in place proper administration and provision of other civic amenities there. Since people of FATA had yet to get facilities at par with the residents of other cities, therefore, the federal government had exempted the FATA people from taxes, he added.

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