IMF giving Pakistan tough time over unlocking funds, PM says


FILE PHOTO: Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif speaks at a news conference, during a summit on climate resilience in Pakistan, months after deadly floods in the country, at the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, January 9, 2023. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Friday the International Monetary Fund was giving his country a tough time over unlocking stalled funding from a $6.5 billion bailout at a time the South Asian economy faces an "unimaginable" situation.

Sharif made the comments in a meeting of civil and military leaders in the northwestern city of Peshawar he chaired to prepare a response to Monday's mosque bombing that killed more than 100 people.

"Our economic situation is unimaginable," the premier said. "As you know, the IMF mission is in Pakistan, and that's giving us a tough time," he said.

"You all know we are running short of resources," Sharif said, adding Pakistan at present was facing an economic crisis.

IMF's Pakistan representative did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

The IMF mission is visiting Pakistan to discuss fiscal consolidation measures the institution needs from Pakistan to clear a 9th review of its Extended Fund Facility, aimed at helping countries facing balance-of-payments crises.

Pakistan is in a $6.5 billion IMF programme. An IMF delegation is in Pakistan to restart talks stalled since November for $2.5 billion funds yet to be disbursed.

(Reporting by Asif Shahzad in Islaabad; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Jacqueline Wong)

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