By India Today World Desk: Pakistan Army Chief Syed Asim Munir has highlighted the need to make the country self-reliant in order to end dependency on foreign aid and loans to stabilise its crumbling economy.
He made the remarks at a time when cash-strapped Pakistan recently secured bailout agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to infuse life in the economy, which has been left in tatters due to the political and economic crisis and adverse weather conditions.
Addressing the opening ceremony of Khanewal Model Agriculture Farm in Punjab province on Monday, Munir asserted that Pakistan is a “proud, zealous and talented” country.
“All Pakistanis must throw out the beggar’s bowl,” he was quoted as saying by Geo News.
Pakistan is set to receive another loan of USD 600 million from its all-weather ally China to help shore up the country’s foreign exchange reserves on the back of an IMF deal, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif earlier said.
The USD 600-million loan is in addition to the over USD 5 billion in loans that China has rolled over for Pakistan in the past three months, helping the debt-ridden nation avert a default.
On June 30, Pakistan secured a last-gasp USD 3 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which later disbursed an initial upfront installment of about USD 1.2 billion.
Apart from the IMF bailout and the Chinese loan, USD 2 billion of financial support from Saudi Arabia and USD 1 billion from the UAE after the IMF pact has helped steady Pakistan’s economy, according to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, The Dawn reported.
A recent assessment from the IMF said that Pakistan’s economic challenges were complex and multifaceted and risks were exceptionally high. It said the country’s economy is expected to be in flux for the next two to three years at least and faces significant risks.
The global financial body has projected an increase in Pakistan’s external debt to reach USD 130.850 billion in 2023-24, up from USD 123.574 billion in 2022-23.