Washington urges Islamabad to work with IMF for economic reforms

The US State Department has conveyed a clear message to Pakistan’s new leadership, emphasizing the importance of collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and economic reforms for stability.

Responding to inquiries from Dawn, a State Department spokesperson underscored the enduring partnership between the two nations, stating, “We value our longstanding partnership with Pakistan and have always seen a strong, prosperous, and democratic Pakistan as crucial to US-Pakistan interests.”

The spokesperson also highlighted shared interests, including “strengthening the country’s economy through trade and investment, enhancing security cooperation, advancing democratic institutions, improving social outcomes, and promoting respect for human rights.” On Pakistan’s economic challenges, the State Department official expressed support, stating, “We support Pakistan’s efforts to manage its daunting debt burden and reduce reliance on international financing. We urge Pakistan to continue working with the IMF and other international financial institutions to implement long-overdue macroeconomic reforms.”

Regarding food security, the spokesperson mentioned extensive collaboration between the United States, Pakistan, and humanitarian partners to ensure vital food assistance reaches those in need.

When asked about encouraging more investments in Pakistan, the spokesperson noted American investments of $250 million in 2022 and announced plans totaling over $1.5 billion since 2019. However, challenges faced by investors were acknowledged, with emphasis on the need for economic reforms and an improved business climate.

Regarding potential military assistance resumption, the State Department spokesperson highlighted ongoing anti-terrorism cooperation instead of directly addressing military aid, emphasizing collaborative efforts against terrorism as a bilateral priority.

Regarding US assistance in negotiating with the IMF, the spokesperson reiterated support for Pakistan’s economic challenges and structural reforms, which the current government has prioritized.

Addressing concerns about bureaucratic hurdles and over-regulation, emphasis was placed on treating current investors well and facilitating repatriation of profits to attract new investment.

Regarding water disputes between India and Pakistan, the US emphasized diplomatic solutions, stating that the pace and character of any dialogue are for the two nations to determine.

In response to inquiries about resolving disputes over the Indus Water Treaty, the US encouraged both countries to resolve issues under the treaty.

Regarding a proposed food bank to aid the poor, the spokesperson reaffirmed the US government’s commitment to addressing food security as a top priority, highlighting comprehensive support through governmental and private sector contributions.

The conversation highlighted the US State Department’s stance on economic challenges, investor concerns, counterterrorism efforts, and regional diplomacy, demonstrating a nuanced and cooperative approach to its relationship with Pakistan.

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