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IMF to send SOS mission to Pakistan on 16th

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ISLAMABAD: In the wake of worsening fiscal front of the economy, the IMF has decided to send its SOS (Save Our Soul) mission to Pakistan this month for suggesting ways and means to curtail the yawning budget deficit.
The IMF team will discuss fiscal issues with special focus to restrict target of primary deficit within the desired limits. Pakistan has initially tabled option of renegotiating targets envisaged under the IMF programme in the context of emerging new realities on fiscal front as the FBR’s quarterly target has been requested to revise downward from Rs1.071 trillion to over one trillion rupees for end September 2019.
A video conference held between Pakistan and the IMF team on Wednesday night in which the Fund staff expressed its serious concerns over sharp rise in the budget deficit in the last fiscal year ended on June 30, 2019 that proved all projections wrong made by IMF and Finance Ministry at the time of negotiating IMF deal of $6 billion under the 39-month Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
The IMF team will conduct a staff visit to Pakistan during September 16-20, Teresa DabánSanchez, IMF Resident Chief in Pakistan, confirmed to The News on Thursday night. “An INF technical team is scheduled to visit Pakistan after Ashura Moharram probably from September 17 for staying here for 10 days,” said the official sources. The IMF’s review was expected to take place in November but the decision of dispatching this and address citizens today.
The country is observing Defence and Martyrs Day today. This year, Defence and Martyrs Day is also being observed as Kashmir Solidarity Day.
Tensions between Pakistan and India are high since last month, when ISPR said that Indian forces had used cluster munitions to target the civilian population in Azad Jammu and Kashmir from across the LoC; in violation of the Geneva Convention and international law.
Relations worsened when New Delhi repealed Article 370 of the Indian constitution, stripping occupied Kashmir of its special status. Instances of ceasefire violations by Indian forces from across the LoC have also increased and have resulted in casualties of both, civilians and soldiers