ISLAMABAD: Prior to the IMF’s Executive Board meeting on August 29, audio recordings of telephone conversations between PTI leader and former finance minister Shaukat Tarin and the finance ministers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab exposed the PTI’s scheme to sabotage the $6 billion loan package.
The audio leaks supported the theory that Taimur Saleem Jhagra, the finance minister for the KP, threatened to withdraw from the IMF pledge in a letter to Miftah Ismail last week in an effort to undermine the government’s efforts to stabilise the economy.
Fawad Chauhdry, the head of the PTI, had said in an interview that the Punjab and KP governments would not participate in the initiative.
In an interview with a news outlet on Thursday, he stated that the IMF programme hinged on the agreement that the province governments would provide the federal government the tax revenue they had earned. Fawad asserted that the IMF accord would fail if the provincial governments chose to renounce the arrangement.
In one of the audio leaks, Tarin is heard requesting that Punjab Finance Minister Mohsin Leghari inform the lender that the province “cannot honour” the commitment it made prior to the floods because of the province’s unprecedented losses.
“You and the IMF have agreed to a [surplus] commitment of Rs750 billion. Tell them that Punjab now needs to spend a lot of money on flood [repair] due to the promise you made before to the floods.”
In order to put more pressure on the current administration, Tarin told Leghari, “You need to say now that ‘we will not be able to honour our commitment’.”
The provincial minister was instructed by the PTI leader to draught a letter and submit it to him for review before sending it to the federal government and then the IMF representative in Pakistan.
Leghari questioned if Pakistan would suffer if Punjab pulled out of the agreement at Tarin’s request.
“Actually, given how they are abusing your chairman [Khan] and everyone else, isn’t the state already in trouble? IMF will undoubtedly inquire about their source of funding.” Tarin answered.
According to Tarin, this situation could not continue and the party could not tolerate being “mistreated” while remaining silent. The PTI leader declared, “We cannot be blackmailed.”
TALK: Tarin and Jhagra
Shaukat Tarin may be heard asking Jhagra if he wrote the letter in the audio that was released.
“I’m headed your way. I still have the last letter. The KP finance minister said, “I will send the letter to you after I have finished writing it.
Jhagra was instructed by Tarin to make the destruction caused by the floods in the province the main focus of his letter.
“The first point [of the letter] would be that we need huge financial aid for restoration of infrastructure and rehabilitation of flood affected people,” Tarin informed the KP finance minister, adding that he had already informed Punjab’s Finance Minister Muhammad Mohsin Khan Leghari about it.
He acknowledged that it was a form of blackmail and said that no one gave money.
Today, Tarin gave the KP finance minister instructions to send the letter. He insisted that the IMF would receive a copy of the letter.
Nothing is forbidden, claims Shireen Mazari.
Former human rights minister Shireen Mazari didn’t dispute that the PTI leaders’ conversation actually took place in response to the shocking audio leaks.
As a result, an audio call between Tarin and local FMs was leaked. The conversation is neither improper or unlawful in any way.
She claimed that the PTI had publicly criticised the conditions under which the imported government was accepting the IMF loan.
However, listening in on a discussion without a court warrant is against the law. an offence under the law.
“Tarin did not imply anything improper.”
In a later news conference, PTI Secretary-General Asad Umar said Tarin didn’t suggest anything improper since, as a former finance minister, he is familiar with the nation’s economics.
He instructed both of the finance ministers to inform the federal government to contact the IMF once more and explain that our provinces have experienced flooding, which is not typical for the region, Umar added.
According to the PTI leader, Tarin requested that the federal government ask for a concession in the budget surplus that was previously agreed upon. Tarin requested this information from the finance ministers.
“Will a reasonable person think that this was a bad idea? When COVID struck the nation, didn’t Imran Khan personally request budgetary room from the IMF? Not long ago, a programme to reduce debt for developing nations was established.” Umar inquired.