Frantic measures to comply with IMF conditions for a crucial financial package, spectres of higher taxes and fuel shortage, and more in our weekly Pakistan round-up:
Supplementary budget through ordinance likely
Pakistan’s ongoing talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which some reports said are in a “decisive phase,” could conclude early next week.
The details for the fulfilment of terms and required actions for an increase in revenue are being worked out under the finance ministry and relevant departments, Pakistani media reports said. The supplementary budget would be ready next week, and, in all probability, implemented through a presidential ordinance.
Am IMF team was in Pakistan last week, but left without finalising an agreement on $1.1 billion in crucial funds that would have gone a long way in preventing Pakistan from going bankrupt and defaulting on external loan repayments.
Several petrol pumps in Pakistan run dry
Amid the Pakistan government warning of stern action against hoarders, the shortage of petrol persists across Punjab province.
Dealers have held oil marketing companies (OMCs) responsible for not ensuring adequate supplies as per demand. They pointed out that the majority of the companies were not importing petrol in view of exchange losses, which the government had adjusted only partially and that too, in different phases.
New tax on power approved to meet IMF conditions
Pakistan government has approved a new tax on electricity users, including farmers, to raise an additional Rs 170 billion in revenue to meet the conditions of the global lender, according to a statement.
However it also approved a technical supplementary grant of Rs 450 million in favour of the ministry of defence, showing that the country would continue to spend on defence even when the economy was in dire straits.
Mob lynches blasphemy accused in police custody
A man arrested over blasphemy allegations was lynched in Nankana Sahib district of Pakistan’s Punjab province Saturday after a mob broke into the police station where he was being held.
Police said 35-year-old Muhammad Waris had been taken into custody for allegedly desecrating the Quran. They said the news of the alleged crime outraged residents and they amassed at the gate of the police station, demanding the accused be handed over to them.