IMF team lands in Pakistan for talks on financial help

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) – A delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday arrived on a two-week visit to Pakistan for talks on a financial package on request of the government.

"The IMF team has arrived and today they will hold meetings with State Bank of Pakistan officials," Mehrin Liaqat, spokesperson of the Finance Ministry told Anadolu Agency.

Pakistani officials will brief the international money watchdog over the country's economic situation and its urgent need.

During the stay in Islamabad, the IMF team will also meet Finance Minister Asad Umar and heads of the country's Finance Bureau of Revenue and State Bank of Pakistan.

Pakistan has approached the money watchdog for the second time during the last five years after the country faced serious financial challenges. It will be the 22nd program since Pakistan and the IMF relations began.

On Tuesday, a day before the arrival of IMF team, the finance minister announced that his country had overcome the balance of payment crisis with help from Saudi Arabia and China.

"Pakistan urgently needed $12 billion to bridge the gap of the current account deficit and that gap was filled with the help of Saudi Arabia and China," Umar told reporters in Islamabad.

Last month in October, Pakistan formally approached IMF for financial assistance to overcome the deficit.