PPP’s Saleem Mandviwalla, who was part of the party’s economic team that met International Monetary Fund (IMF) representatives ahead of the finalisation of a new $3bn deal, said on Saturday the global lender’s reservation at the time of consultation was that elections should be held on time.
The IMF had held meetings with political parties in the ruling coalition, as well as the opposition PTI, before its executive board approved a $3bn Standby Arrangement earlier this month — a bailout package deemed crucial to support the country’s ailing economy — just as a previous one expired.
The consultations were held to seek assurances from political parties about the implementation of the new lender-supported programme that will span three governments.
However, another member from the PPP’s economic team, Syed Naveed Qamar, said back then that no talks regarding elections were held as it was not the mandate of the IMF team.
Meanwhile, reports said PTI chief Imran Khan had sought a guarantee for elections to be held on time during the meeting with the IMF.
When asked about the consultations today during DawnNews programme ‘Doosra Rukh’, Mandviwalla said, “They (IMF) had just one reservation — that elections should be held on time.”
To a question about the Fund having reservations regarding the caretaker setup that would take over the country’s reign after the dissolution of the National Assembly, the PPP senator replied in the negative.
He was of the view that “we are responsible for relations going sour with the IMF”.
“Five finance ministers came and all of them blamed each other. The IMF feels that although the government agrees to its terms, but political parties begin a blame game.
“So they (IMF) have basically taken a commitment from all political parties that they will follow the Fund’s programme … They have taken a commitment from us and we have given them a commitment,” he said.
He said the Fund conveyed to political parties during the meetings that “you are a sovereign country and you have to follow what you agree to”.
Mandviwalla’s remarks have come as political parties prepare for general elections with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif having announced the the assemblies would be dissolved in August.
But confusion persists about whether the coalition partners would go for the normal dissolution of the NA on completion of its term on August 12, or advise the president for an early dissolution.
According to Article 224 of the Constitution, “A general election to the National Assembly or a provincial assembly shall be held within a period of 60 days immediately following the day on which the term of the assembly is due to expire, unless the Assembly has been sooner dissolved”.
In case of early dissolution, the ECP is bound to hold the general elections within a period of 90 days after the dissolution, according to Article 224(2).