Pakistan ex-PM Imran Khan urges IMF to call election audit, his lawyer says


  • World
  • Thursday, 22 Feb 2024

FILE PHOTO: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan pauses as he speaks with Reuters during an interview, in Lahore, Pakistan March 17, 2023. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro//File Photo

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's jailed former prime minister Imran Khan will write to the IMF urging it to call for an independent audit of the country's controversial Feb. 8 national elections before it continues talks with Islamabad, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Pakistan averted default last summer thanks to a short term International Monetary Fund bailout, but the programme expires next month and a new government will have to negotiate a long-term arrangement to keep the $350 billion economy stable.

Khan and his party alleged that the polls, which did not return a majority for any party, were rigged. Candidates backed by Khan won the most seats, but an alliance of his rival parties has more seats and is in a position to form the next government.

"The letter from Imran Khan we will say clearly that if the IMF wants to talk to Pakistan, they should place conditions of an independent audit (of the polls)," Khan's lawyer, Ali Zafar, told reporters outside the jail where the former premier and cricket hero is imprisoned.

Pakistan's election commission denies widespread rigging and is hearing complaints by various applicants who allege irregularities.

Zafar said that multilateral agencies such as the IMF and international blocs such as the European Union can only give financial assistance on the condition that there is good governance and democracy, including free and fair elections.

The IMF met with political parties last year to seek assurances of their support of key objectives and policies under the bailout programme.

(Reporting by Gibran Peshimam; Editing by YP Rajesh and Nick Macfie)

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