IMF’s director cancels visit over PM’s absence

ISLAMABAD: Jihad Azour, International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) new Director for the Middle East and Central Asia has postponed his scheduled visit to Pakistan due to non-availability of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Azour was scheduled to join the post-programme monitoring talks currently going on between the IMF authorities and Pakistani officials to find solutions to the problems of the external sector and chronic circular debt, said sources in the Ministry of Finance.

Apart from meeting Premier Abbasi, Azour was also scheduled to meet Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, but now both these meetings had been cancelled, they added.

The talks that began on December 5 would now conclude before the scheduled date of December 14, said the sources, adding that Azour was scheduled to join the policy dialogue from Monday.

“The visit of Azour has been postponed,” confirmed IMF’s Resident Representative in Islamabad Tokhir Mirzoev, adding that the postponement of the visit would not have any implications for the ongoing talks.

“The IMF’s director postponed his visit to Pakistan due to non-availability of PM Abbasi, who is leaving for Turkey to attend an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Countries,” verified Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Economic Affairs Miftah Ismail.

However, Ismail said that Azour would visit Pakistan in the future.

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