(Disclaimer: this is a work of fiction. Learn to take a joke; you’ll live longer.)
ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan had to turn down the draft of a staff-level agreement between the Ministry of Finance and International Monetary Fund (IMF) over the weekend, after Finance Adviser Abdul Hafeez Shaikh had undersigned it as the lendor, sources within the Finance Ministry informed The Dependent on Monday.
Pakistan and the IMF finalised the bailout on Sunday after months-long talks pertaining to the size of the bailout package as well as conditions attached to it, two days after Hafeez Shaikh’s erroneous signature had threated to derail the $6 billion package.
Speaking to The Dependent, Prime Minister’s Advisor on Finance Sheikh said that it was an ‘honest mistake’ that ‘could’ve happened to anyone’.
“Honestly, throughout the past three weeks, there has been so much confusion for all of us that quite often I feel as though we’re all talking to ourselves,” Shaikh said, speaking about the negotiating teams for the bailout.
“In fact, till Friday morning [the day the bailout was to be finalised originally] I was convinced that we are the ones giving out the $6 billion,” he added.
“Hence, it was natural for me to undersign as the lendor and not the recipient.”
Adding that the negotiations took place in the friendliest conditions possible, Shaikh maintained that technically he wasn’t wrong in feeling that he’s representing the party that will be paying $6 billion.
“Well in addition to the fact that all those involved in the talks are chums, the two represented sides include one that will be paying $6 billion and the other that will be paying back $6 billion,” Shaikh said.
“So, technically I just got the sequence wrong.”