The PTI on Wednesday wrote a letter to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), calling on the global lender to ensure that its guidelines regarding “good governance as well as conditionalities” were satisfied before granting a financial facility to Pakistan.

It also demanded an election audit of “at least 30 per cent of the national and provincial assemblies’ seats”, which the party said could be accomplished in “merely two weeks”.

Last week, PTI Senator Ali Zafar had said imprisoned PTI founder Imran Khan would write to the IMF and urge it to call for an independent audit of the February 8 general elections before continuing talks with Islamabad.

He said that the IMF, the European Union and other organisations had a charter that stated that good governance was needed for working in the country or giving a loan. “The most important condition for good governance is democracy,” Barrister Zafar said, claiming that the people’s mandate was stolen “in the darkness of the night” during the polls.

However, the party’s move was met with severe criticism from political forces. The party’s rivals PML-N and PPP had said that writing such a letter would be akin to inviting foreign intervention in the country’s domestic affairs.

Meanwhile, a day after the PTI’s announcement, the IMF had stated that it was looking forward to engaging with the new government.

“We look forward to working with the new government on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens. And I am going to leave it at that,” Julie Kozack, the head of the Communications Department at the IMF, had said.

It should be mentioned that Pakistan averted default last summer thanks to a short-term IMF bailout, but the programme expires in April and a new government will have to negotiate a long-term arrangement to keep the economy stable.

In its letter addressed to IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva today, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan said the letter was being sent “under the instructions and on behalf” of Imran.

“It must be clarified at the very outset that the PTI does not wish to stand in the way of any IMF facility to the state of Pakistan that promotes the immediate as well as the long-term economic well-being of the country.

“It is clear that such facility, along with the national commitment to bring about necessary reforms that facilitate repayment and enable the country to stand on its own feet, can only be negotiated in the best interests of the people of Pakistan by a duly elected government that has the trust of the people of Pakistan,” it stated.

The letter said the PTI was aware of the importance IMF attached to good governance, transparency, upholding the rule of law and curbing corrupt practices while entering financing agreements with member countries.

It highlighted the policy adopted by the Fund in 1997 under a Guidance Note titled “The Role of the IMF in Governance Issues” and cited its relevant excerpts.

“It is a well-established reality that a government without legitimate representation, when imposed upon a country, carries no moral authority to govern, and, in particular, to carry out taxation measures,” the letter said.

It further recalled that in the previous interaction held between Imran and IMF representatives last year, the PTI had “agreed to support IMF’s financing facility involving Pakistan on the condition and reassurance of a free and fair election”.

The party alleged that the February 8 general elections — which it said caused the public expenditure of Rs50 billion or $180 million — were “subjected to widespread intervention and fraud in the counting of votes and compilation of results”.

“This intervention and fraud have been so brazen that the IMF’s most important member countries including the U.S., Great Britain, and countries forming part of the European Union have called for a full and transparent investigation into the matter.

“A mission of the European Union has carried out an examination of the general elections of February 8, 2024. The report of the said mission must be examined by the IMF and made available to the people of Pakistan,” the party said.

“In view of the policies and principles the IMF stands for, there should be no doubt that the abuse of power by a small number of holders of public office to impose their likes and dislikes on Pakistan’s populace as aforesaid, and thus to ensure their continuing personal gain, would not be promoted or upheld by the IMF,” the letter stated.

It added that other political parties along with Western governments, Commonwealth observers, local civil society organisations and international print and electronic media had called for an independent probe into the claims of “intervention and electoral fraud” on and after the election days.

However, the calls had gone unheeded for over two weeks, the party said.

“We, therefore, call upon the IMF to give effect to the guidelines adopted by it with respect to good governance as well as conditionalities that must be satisfied prior to the grant of a finance facility that is to burden the people of Pakistan with further debt.

“An audit of at least thirty per cent of the national and provincial assemblies’ seats should be ensured, which can be accomplished in merely two weeks,” the PTI demanded.

It elaborated that the party was not calling for the IMF to adopt the role of an investigative agency itself, adding that there were two indigenous organisations in Pakistan namely the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) and PATTAN-Coalition38 that had the proposed comprehensive methodologies to conduct the election audit.

“Such a role by the IMF would be a great service to Pakistan and its people, and could become the harbinger of enduring prosperity, growth, and macroeconomic stability in the country,” the letter concluded.

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