- PTI’s hush-hush deal
What the opposition had been claiming about the PTI having already reached a secret deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has turned out to be true. Finance Minister Asad Umar told a gathering the deal was brokered at a meeting between the IMF head Christine Lagarde and Prime Minister Imran Khan in Dubai on Sunday. Umar also claimed that IMF did not demand a rise in gas and power charges as was being speculated. But it is difficult to believe the finance minister when a deal with the Fund has been brokered in total secrecy, something unheard of before.
During the last four months when the government was implementing key IMF demands it was pretending that no understanding had yet been reached with the Fund. The PTI administration devalued national currency, hiked power-cum-gas charges, announced a mini budget with a new set of tax reforms and increased the interest rate. It was a totally opaque and highly questionable way of brokering a deal with an international body that is bound to affect the entire population of the country. The idea of a government conducting deals of the sort in a cagey way simply scares one. What role was played by the US in the deal and what the government agreed to as quid pro quo also remain a secret.
There is an urgent need to present the full details of the agreement before Parliament for debate and discussion. This is what the PTI too had been demanding in the past despite the details of the deals were generally made public before these were signed. The government was desperately looking for a bailout to address the mounting balance of payments crisis. Many would like to know what the government has given in return for the facility. After meeting Imran Khan the IMF chief called for “decisive policies and a strong package of economic reforms.” It is the right of the public to be told whether their interests have not been compromised and what awaits them in months and years to follow.