IMF employee's appointment as SBP governor akin to 'colonisation of Pakistan': Rabbani

Updated 06 May 2019

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Dr Reza Baqir of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was named the new SBP Governor on Saturday. — Photo courtesy The British University In Egypt (bue.edu.eg)
Dr Reza Baqir of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was named the new SBP Governor on Saturday. — Photo courtesy The British University In Egypt (bue.edu.eg)

Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Raza Rabbani on Sunday branded the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the "new East India Company", adding that the appointment of the Fund's Dr Reza Baqir as new governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) was "deplorable" and akin to "colonisation of Pakistan by international financial imperialists".

The former Senate chairman said that "the SBP governor being an employee of the Fund which is giving a bailout package is a conflict of interest as it is obvious that his loyalties will not be with Pakistan."

He said "it is a matter of shame that provincial finance ministers were made to appear before a middle ranking officer of the IMF (Baqir) and make promises of good behaviour."

Rabbani said that Baqir's appointment coupled with Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh's induction into the cabinet as the prime minister's adviser on finance means that the IMF has its "men in place" and "Pakistan's financial sovereignty and national security has been compromised."

The senator's sentiments were also echoed by PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, who in a series of cryptic tweets suggested that the government has surrendered the economy to the IMF.

"We will not go to the IMF; we will instead call the IMF here and hand over Pakistan to them," Nawaz said, sarcastically referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan's pre-election statements of never asking the Fund for another package when in power.

She further said that Pakistan has been removed from the equation and "now the IMF will itself settle the bailout package with the IMF."

Baqir was used to oust Umer from office: Shah

Another PPP stalwart Khurshid Shah claimed that Baqir was also involved in former finance minister Asad Umar's ouster from the office last month.

"According to my information, Baqir was used to remove Umar," Shah said. "The message was conveyed through him that the IMF was unhappy with Umar for not taking strict measures.

"The Fund thought that Umar did not know anything. It was even said that the IMF package would not be given in Umar's presence."