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March 16, 2024 (EIRNS)—The International Monetary Fund is demanding Pakistan implement harsh austerity measures in return for release of a final tranche of $1.1 billion in their loan agreement. Sources from the Finance Ministry cited by SAMAA TV revealed that Pakistan has committed to increasing electricity and gas tariffs, as well as abolishing tax exemptions and restructuring the tax system in order to increase the tax revenue. The IMF is also demanding a continued tight monetary policy and adhering to a market-based exchange rate policy. Everything that amounts to harsh austerity for the majority of the population.

On March 15 members of the PTI, the party of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is currently imprisoned, held a demonstration in front of IMF headquarters in Washington where they attempted to deliver a letter urging IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva to “withhold any further financial assistance or loan disbursements to Pakistan until a credible investigation by an independent body” clears the party and its leader Khan of all rigging allegations. The Fund refused their request and told them to send it by email. The protest was organized by a human rights group, First Pakistan Global, with the majority of protesters being PTI supporters.

Shahbaz Gill, Imran Khan’s former chief of staff, addressed the demonstration, saying that the IMF’s mandate requires Pakistan to promote democracy and good governance. He further criticized the IMF for cooperating with the establishment that he said was installing puppets, only to discard them when convenient.