Pakistan round-up: ‘Already defaulted,’ says defence minister amid economic concerns


NEW DELHI: More worries on the economic front, an audacious attack on the Karachi police chief’s office, and other news that made headlines last week in the neighbouring country in our Pakistan round up:
Pakistan has already defaulted, says defence minister
Pakistan has already defaulted, defence minister Khawaja Asif said on Saturday, while holding ‘everyone,’ including the establishment, bureaucracy, and politicians responsible for it.
Speaking at a private college ceremony in Sialkot, he said “you may have learnt that Pakistan is going bankrupt or that a default or meltdown is taking place. It has already taken place. We are living in a bankrupt country.”
He said the present situation was the outcome of least regard for the Constitution and the rule of law during the last seven decades.
“The solution to our problems lies within the country. The IMF does not have the solution to Pakistan’s problems,” he further said.
Karachi Police office attackers identified
Pakistani Taliban militants who attacked the office of the Karachi Police chief have been identified as residents of two tribal districts bordering Afghanistan, police said on Sunday.
Zala Noor and Kifayatullah were identified as residents of north Waziristan and Lakki Marwat districts respectively.
Three TTP terrorists were killed and four others, including three security personnel, also lost their lives in the attack.
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Petrol at all-time high after 22 rupees hike
Pakistan government hiked petrol price by another whopping 22 rupees a litre on Thursday to touch an all-time high.
Back-to-back hikes have seen the price of petrol in Pakistan rise sharply, from about 150 rupees a litre in May 2022 to the current 272 rupees.
Pakistan is desperate for an IMF bailout to support its struggling economy. But the global lender has laid down withdrawal of subsidies on fuel and power as among the condition for the package.
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Fitch downgrades Pakistan’s rating
Global ratings agency Fitch has cut Pakistan’s sovereign credit rating by a notch from CCC+ to CCC-, citing policy risks, critically low reserves and large refinancing risks, and difficult conditions set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Its downgrade comes after S&P Global in December cut its long-term sovereign credit rating for Pakistan by one notch to “CCC+” from “B”, citing a continued weakening of its external, fiscal and economic metrics.
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China temporarily closes consular office in Islamabad
China has temporarily closed down the consular section of its embassy in Pakistan due to “technical issues.”
The embassy refrained from providing specific information about the nature of the “technical issue” or the timeline for the closure.
The notification follows a notice by the Chinese government, advising Chinese citizens to be cautious while in Pakistan, saying they might be at risk due to a deteriorating security situation.
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