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India raises concern over Pakistan’s Covid-19 spending at IMF meet, says might discriminate against minorities

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 18 April 2020, 14:35 IST
Imran khan

At the International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting on 16th April that gave the go ahead signal to $1.4 billion aid to Islamabad to facilitate the country to face the economic effect of the Covid-19, the Indian envoy had raised apprehensions that Pakistan’s coronavirus pay out might be prejudice towards its minorities and could be redirected to augment security spending.

The executive director for India on the board of the IMF, Surjit Bhalla, had underlined that Pakistan’s health and social safety net spending should be comprehensive, targeted and non-prejudice. He also noted that budgetary resources should have made accessible to all regions of Pakistan as the coronavirus situation was whole lot worse in Balochistan and Sindh province.

The Indian envoy cited at reports to show that minorities such as the Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Ahmadiyya are treated with disadvantage in mitigation response by the federal and provincial government officials.

The Indian economist as well requested Pakistan to implement effective and targeted payment of social sector spending that focus attention on the vulnerable group and not unworthy recipient.

The attack on Pakistan for its action towards its minorities is viewed to be associated with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claiming that the move to revoke article 370 and enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act was an attempt to attack Muslims.

It is a central point the Imran Khan had made in his speech during the UN General Assembly 2019 also, provoking a cutting retort by a young Indian diplomat who reminded Imran Khan that it was his country that had reduced the size of its minority community from 23% in 1947 to 3% at the present time, that had put its minorities through “draconian blasphemy laws, systematic persecution, blatant abuse and forced conversions”.

Surjit Bhalla stated that Imran Khan government’s coronavirus reciprocation didn’t seem to be even-handed either and was accused to have held back funds from Balochistan and Sindh though the state of affairs in these regions was grim.

The IMF, which has reckoned that the Pakistan economy will shrink by 1.5% over the next year because of the coronavirus, had cleared disbursement of $1.386 billion under the Rapid Financing Instrumment at its meeting on Thursday.

Pakistan is a longtime beneficiary of help from the IMF and is already under a 3 year, $6 billion plan that was accepted the previous year. Indian officials state that Pakistan has, since 1958 resorred to IMF funds and bailouts on 22 occasions and appeared to be going through growing risk of debt.

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First published: 18 April 2020, 14:15 IST