regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Imran Khan to write for independent audit of Pakistan's problematic elections to IMF

Ex-PM and his party alleged that the polls, which did not return a majority for any party, were rigged

Reuters, PTI Islamabad Published 23.02.24, 05:08 AM
Imran Khan

Imran Khan File image

Pakistan’s jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan will write to the IMF urging it to call for an independent audit of the country’s controversial February 8 national elections before it continues talks with Islamabad, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Pakistan averted a default last summer thanks to a short-term International Monetary Fund bailout, but the programme expires next month and a new government will have to negotiate a long-term arrangement to keep the $350 billion economy stable.


Khan and his party alleged that the polls, which did not return a majority for any party, were rigged. Candidates backed by Khan won the most seats, but an alliance of his rival parties has more seats and is in a position to form the next government.

“The letter from Imran Khan we will say clearly that if the IMF wants to talk to Pakistan, they should place conditions of an independent audit (of the polls),” Khan’s lawyer, Ali Zafar, told reporters outside the jail where the former Premier and cricket hero is imprisoned.

Pakistan’s election commission denies widespread rigging and is hearing complaints by various applicants who allege irregularities.

Zafar said that multilateral agencies such as the IMF and international blocs such as the EU can only give financial assistance on the condition that there is good governance and democracy, including free and fair elections.

The IMF met political parties last year to seek assurances of their support of key objectives and policies under the bailout programme.

Zafar, who has also been nominated by Khan to contest intra-party election for the chairman’s post, also said that the IMF has laws that bar aid to countries not having democratic governments. He said a democratic government was only possible after having fair and free elections.

He rejected the impression that the letter would further jeopardise Pakistan’s fragile economy which, without assistance from the donors, may default on external liabilities.

Pakistan is heavily dependent on the IMF and currently implementing a short-term $3 billion agreement. The global lender has already provided two tranches of loan and the last tranche of $1.2 is expected by the end of March or April.

The statement by Khan drew criticism from his opponents, who said that the former Prime Minister was bent on damaging the country.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Atta Tarar condemned the statement about writing a letter to the IMF and said that the PTI founder was trying to harm the country. “The party has always tried to damage the country to save its politics,” he said.

Follow us on: