IMF giving Pakistan tough time over unlocking funds, PM says

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif listens at the start of a Pakistan's Resilience to Climate Change conference in Geneva on Jan 9, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Friday the International Monetary Fund was giving his country a tough time over unlocking stalled funding from a $6.5 billion bailout at a time the South Asian economy faces an "unimaginable" situation.

Sharif made the comments in a meeting of civil and military leaders in the northwestern city of Peshawar he chaired to prepare a response to Monday's mosque bombing that killed more than 100 people.

Our economic situation is unimaginable. As you know, the IMF mission is in Pakistan, and that's giving us a tough time.

Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan prime minister

"Our economic situation is unimaginable," the premier said. "As you know, the IMF mission is in Pakistan, and that's giving us a tough time," he said.

"You all know we are running short of resources," Sharif said, adding Pakistan at present was facing an economic crisis.

IMF's Pakistan representative did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

READ MORE: Pakistan mosque bomber wore police uniform, breached security

The IMF mission is visiting Pakistan to discuss fiscal consolidation measures the institution needs from Pakistan to clear a 9th review of its Extended Fund Facility, aimed at helping countries facing balance-of-payments crises.

Pakistan is in a $6.5 billion IMF program. An IMF delegation is in Pakistan to restart talks stalled since November for $2.5 billion funds yet to be disbursed.