Pakistani delegation leaves for China to finalize relief package
Islamabad, Nov 8 (IANS) A high-level delegation from Pakistan left for China on Thursday to finalize a potential economic package to inject into the cash-strapped country, in a follow-up to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s five-day visit to Beijing, the media reported.
The delegation included the Secretaries of finance, trade and planning as well as the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, according to Geo News.
The delegation will hold talks with Chinese officials to finalize the relief package following Khan’s visit to China last week to seek loans to tide over Pakistan’s economic crisis.
Discussions will also be held pertaining to Pakistan-made products’ access to the Chinese markets, Geo cited sources as saying.
Finance Minister Asad Umar earlier this week confirmed that talks were held with China for a relief package during the Prime Minister’s visit and that the two sides agreed on continuing discussions in this regard.
He said that the talks were not limited to a financial package, but also encompassed long-term partnership and investment with China.
Umar said that national security will not be compromised in any deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) despite the country’s economic crisis.
The body had earlier said that a bailout deal with Pakistan would require "absolute transparency" of its debts, many of which come from China’s landmark Belt and Road Initiative.
An IMF delegation is currently in Pakistan for two weeks and Umar said a bailout of at least $5-6 billion would be negotiated.
The Minister said that Pakistan was going to friendly countries including Saudi Arabia and China for financial assistance to ensure "that if the IMF presents terms of agreement for a bailout package that are not amenable to us, the country will not have to compromise".
Calling the IMF a "lender of the last resort", he added that going to the IMF was not a desirable option.