No risk of default, due payments in order, says Dar.

ISLAMABAD -- To counter the speculation that stemmed from the recent remarks by senior Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leadership, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday assured the nation that Pakistan is not going to default, will meet its upcoming $1 billion bonds payment and there was no fuel shortage in the country.

'We have never defaulted before. We will not even be close to a default,' the minister said in his brief address on the state-run PTV.

Mr Dar stressed that the $1bn payment for Sukuk, or Islamic, bonds scheduled to mature on Dec 5 would be made on time, without any delay, and insisted that arrangements had been completed in principle for the upcoming payments.

Several PTI leaders, including Chairman Imran Khan and former minister Hammad Azhar, had recently raised alarm over the country's apparently deteriorating economic situation that they claimed the government was unable to handle. This compelled the minister to clarify the financial standing of the country.

Mr Azhar had tweeted around two hours ahead of Mr Dar's address that businesses were in deep crises, and that there was a liquidity crunch that couldn't be addressed through bank lending as interest rates were very high.

Whereas, former premier Khan had said a couple of days earlier in his address to the PTI's long march that Pakistan faced the risk of a default. And while this topic also dominated the National Assembly session, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha told the house on Friday that the country did not face any such danger.

The finance minister on Saturday rejected all the rumours and clarified four key points, including payments at the maturity of the five-year Sukuk bonds, oil shortage in the country, widening credit default swap and the widening current account deficit (CAD). He claimed such 'baseless speculation' was being spread to fulfil a political agenda.

He further said no one should pay heed to the rumours, adding: 'This is highly...

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