KARACHI: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on Thursday denied a Financial Times story, which quoted him as saying that Pakistan was leveraging its cooperation with the US military to win concessions from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“Let me clarify … it was an hour long interview based on some 19 points, and there was just one mention of the US wherein the interviewer asked about Pakistan’s relations with America, to which, I responded that the US has earmarked some amount for our military training. Besides, neither have they reserved any other allocation nor do we want it,” he explained, in response to a question after presenting the Pakistan Economic Survey 2020-21.
The Financial Times, in its story, quoted Tarin as saying that military co-operation with the US over America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan had given Imran Khan’s government “some space” to delay unpopular IMF reforms.
The finance minister, according to the FT report, said “What we do not need is more burden on our poor people and we have been talking to the American officials and they’re willing to help.”
However, Tarin, during the presser today, said he had just told the interviewer that the US had earmarked some amount for “our military training, and apart from that they didn’t make any other allocation, nor do we want it.”
He added that he had stated during the interview that Pakistan intended to do more business with the US and was looking for investments in the country’s oil, gas and IT sector. “That was all that I talked about the US,” he insisted.
The minister said the interviewer also asked him about the progress of Pakistan-IMF negotiations, saying, “Even in that response, I didn’t make any mention of the US.”
He reiterated that “the publication tried to link that point with another story [which was false] and we are issuing its rebuttal today.”
The FT story also quoted Tarin as saying that “In 2008, we obviously had the US and everybody else on my right side because of the war on terror . . . Today things are different”.