Finance Minister Miftah Ismail (L) and his predecessor Shaukat Tarin. — APP/File

Miftah Ismail, Shaukat Tarin trade barbs over leaked audios sabotaging IMF programme

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Finance Minister Miftah Ismail (L) and his predecessor Shaukat Tarin. — APP/File
  • The finance minister and his predecessor continue with their blame game despite revival of IMF programme.
  • Tarin urges government to renegotiate and seek relief from the IMF in the wake of catastrophic floods.
  • “Tarin made it clear that we will not let him go scot-free,” Miftah says in response to Tarin’s allegations.

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan resumed its month-long stalled International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, the blame game between the coalition government and PTI carried on as well, with the latest development being the war of words between Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and his predecessor Shaukat Tarin and on Saturday.

Former finance minister and PTI leader Shaukat Tarin Saturday, addressing a press conference, blamed the coalition government for releasing his alleged audio leak on the day when the IMF executive board was scheduled to meet.

“If you wanted to leak my alleged audio then you should have done that before,” he said, reiterating that the coalition government was levelling baseless allegations against him.

On Monday, two audio clips surfaced via TV channels and social media in which a man said to be Tarin can be heard guiding Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab’s finance ministers to tell the federal government and the IMF that they would not be able to commit to a provincial budget surplus in light of the recent floods that have wreaked havoc in Pakistan.

The audios invited criticism against the PTI as the coalition government alleged that they were nothing but a conspiracy to derail the state’s deal with the global lender.

“They [coalition government] are blaming us for sabotaging the IMF deal; however, those who leaked the tapes mere hours before the IMF board meeting were the people who wanted to jeopardise the deal,” he said.

Tarin said that the leaders of all political parties, including PTI, should stop distributing “certificates of treason” among leaders.

“We [PTI] never labelled anybody from the then Opposition as traitor in regards of the IMF programme when we were in power,” Tarin said, adding that he returned to Pakistan and left behind a salary worth Rs5 million and “I am being called a traitor.”

He urged the government to renegotiate and seek relief from the Washington-based lender in the wake of catastrophic floods. “Go to them and ask them for relief. After that go to Russia and buy discounted oil. Give people relief on petrol and gas [prices]. Increase your tax revenue rather than burdening the masses,” the PTI leader said.

The former finance minister said that if PTI would have been in power they would have ended the IMF programme by September; while the coalition government sought an extension.

‘We will not let Tarin go scot-free’

Responding to his predecessor, Miftah blasted the PTI government for its performance and lashed out at Tarin over the allegedly leaked audio clips.

“Tarin made it clear that we will not let them [coalition government] go scot-free,” he said addressing a press conference in Karachi.

Miftah recalled that it was Tarin who had assured the IMF of increasing fuel prices in April if the PTI government survived the vote of no-confidence.

“For you [PTI chief] Imran Khan will be important but our us the interest of the country is sacred,” he said, questioning him how can a leader make calls regarding jeopardising the IMF programme.

In his fiery address, the finance minister said that PTI has been ruling Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since last 10 years but the education and health sectors in the province are still not up to the mark.

“If you want to do politics then go ahead but the nation won’t forgive you because it has seen your reality,” he asserted.

Regarding economic issues, Ismail said the country was saved from default and the economy had stabilised, although inflation was very high.

The finance minister assured us that inflation would be absolutely brought under control in the next two months.

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