Dar says his Senate speech on Pakistan's nuclear programme being 'quoted out of context'.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Monday that his comments in the Senate on Pakistan's nuclear programme were being 'quoted out of context', adding that the delay in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme was due to 'technical reasons'.

Last week, Dar told the upper house of Parliament that there would be 'no compromise' on the country's nuclear and missile programme.

The remarks had come after Senator Raza Rabbani had raised some questions on the reasons behind the delay in the agreement with the IMF, which would offer a critical lifeline to tame a balance-of-payments crisis.

The PPP leader lamented that the Senate had 'neither before nor today been taken into confidence on what are the conditionalities of the IMF'. Describing the delay as extraordinary, Senator Rabbani sought to know if the delay was being made because of some sort of pressure on the country's nuclear programme or its strategic relationship with China or because an imperialist power wanted its presence in the region.

In response, Dar assured that there would be no compromise on Pakistan's nuclear prowess and promised that the moment the staff-level agreement and the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) were finalised, it would be placed on the website of the finance ministry.

'Nobody has any right to tell Pakistan what range of missiles it can have and what nuclear weapons it can have. We have to have our own deterrence,' he said. 'We represent the people of Pakistan [...] and we have to guard our national interests,' he said.

The finance minister also said that an assurance from 'friendly countries' to fund a balance of payment gap was the last hurdle in securing an IMF deal.

Several countries had made commitments to support Pakistan during previous IMF reviews, he said, adding that the IMF was now asking for those commitments.

'At the time of the previous reviews, several friendly countries had made commitments to bilaterally support Pakistan, what IMF is now asking (is) that they should actually complete and materialise those commitments,' he said, adding: 'That's the only delay.'

Subsequently, PTI's Shah Mahmood Qureshi assailed Dar for speaking on the country's missile programme and demanded that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif issue a policy statement on the matter.

Qureshi, a former foreign minister, expressed surprise as to why a deal with IMF was not being finalised despite the fact that Pakistan has fulfilled all the demands of the global lender.

'No one has the...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT