According to Dawn News, Pakistan has formally asked the International Monetary Fund for a $9 billion loan, requesting the immediate release of $4 billion. Bloomberg, which cited the Dawn News report, noted than an agreement with the IMF is likely to be signed on November 20. The Daily Times also cited the channel, reporting that “the move follows Saudi Arabia’s refusal to provide oil on deferred payments and refusal by China to provide monetary relief for Pakistan’s ailing economy.”
“A further $10 million in assistance is being sought from the ‘Friends of Pakistan’ group to help fight terrorism and get the country back on its feet,” reported Bloomberg, citing statements made by Pakistan Ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani. The group is scheduled to meet in the United Arab Emirates on November 17. Dawn cited the ambassador, who asserted, “If the world is willing to put the resources into Pakistan, there is no reason why Pakistan is not willing to defeat terrorism and become a more predictable nation.”
Meanwhile, in an effort to counter its power shortage problem, Pakistan approved a plan to build a dam on the Indus River on Tuesday at a cost of more than $12 billion. According to Reuters, “Pakistan is suffering from a power deficit of up to 5,000 MW and state utilities are implementing load-shedding… across the country to make up for the shortage.” The government’s approval of the construction of the Bhasha dam project in the Gilgit region will produce 4,500 MW of electricity and include a reservoir for 8.1 million acre feet of water. While former President Pervez Musharraf was in power, he reportedly campaigned for the Kalabagh dam on the Indus River, but abandoned the effort after he faced opposition from three of the country’s four provinces, “which feared Punjab, the main agricultural province, would siphon off an unfair amount of water.” According to Reuters, none of the provinces have voiced opposition to Bhasa dam project so far. According to a GEO TV piece on Wednesday, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has pledged that load-shedding would be overcome within next two years with the construction of this dam, asserting it would bring agricultural revolution in the country.
In other economy-related news, UPI reported, “October inflation in Pakistan soared to nearly 25 percent from 9.31 percent in October of last year, further aggravating the country’s current economic crisis.” According to data supplied by the Federal Bureau of Statistics, the October jump in consumer prices “was largely brought on by a 31.7 percent surge in food prices and a hike of over 39 percent in transportation costs.” UPI reported, “Inflationary pressures may force Pakistan’s central bank to raise interest rates to meet IMF conditions for the bailout package.”