Pakistan reaches ‘agreement in principle’ with IMF over bailout package: Revenue Minister

Pakistan has reached an “agreement in principle” with IMF over bailout package, the country’s state minister for revenue Hammad Azhar said. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 15 April 2019
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Pakistan reaches ‘agreement in principle’ with IMF over bailout package: Revenue Minister

  • Pakista last year expected to sign up for 13th IMF bailout program since late 1980s
  • Pakistani officials say conditions attached to proposed IMF loans could hurt economic growth

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has reached an “agreement in principle” with IMF over bailout package, the country’s state minister for revenue said on Monday after the lending body announced arrival of its staff mission in Islamabad later this month.
A mission team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will travel to Pakistan this month, the IMF said in a statement.
Hammad Azhar, the minister, said the staff mission’s visit was just aimed at finalizing technical details.
“An agreement in principle has been reached with IMF,” he announced in a tweet, hours after Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar returned home from Washington where he had meetings with the IMF and World Bank.
Pakistan was last year expected to sign up for its 13th IMF bailout program since the late 1980s but talks ground to a halt, with Pakistani officials saying the conditions attached to the proposed IMF loans could hurt economic growth. (Reporting by Asif Shahzad; Editing by Toby Chopra)


Bangladesh police kill three suspected Rohingya traffickers; rescue 15 refugees

Updated 9 min 34 sec ago
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Bangladesh police kill three suspected Rohingya traffickers; rescue 15 refugees

  • The group of smuggled refugees included a number of girls
  • Bangladeshi authorities sent the refugees to two different camps after questioning

COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh: Bangladesh police killed three people suspected of trying to smuggle 15 Rohingya Muslim refugees to Malaysia in a clash on Tuesday near the South Asian nation’s main refugee camp, an official said, the second such incident in as many months.
Nearly 900,000 Rohingya who fled a military-led crackdown in neighboring Buddhist-dominated Myanmar in 2017 live in Kutupalong, the world’s largest refugee camp, and other temporary settlements in Bangladesh’s beach town of Cox’s Bazar.
“On sensing the presence of our team, they fired on police, and police also responded,” said Prodip Kumar Das, a police official in the nearby town of Teknaf.
The men attempting to smuggle the refugees, who included some girls, were shot and died on the way to hospital, Das added. The refugees were rescued and sent to two different camps after initial questioning.
The clash, around 30 km from Kutupalong, followed a tip-off to police, Das told Reuters, adding that they had retrieved three locally-made guns and 15 rounds of ammunition.
The men were themselves Rohingya known to be human traffickers living in the area since their arrival in Bangladesh before 2017, he added.
Rohingya civilians who left Myanmar have said they faced atrocities at the hands of its armed forces but almost all such accusations have been denied by the authorities.
With doubts over whether they will ever return to Myanmar, some refugees in Bangladesh are being drawn toward drugs and violence, say people in the area and aid workers.
The risks of being trafficked have increased as refugees are lured by the promise of work. Anti-trafficking groups fear that routes through the Bay of Bengal are being used to smuggle out Rohingya refugees.
In recent months, police and the coast guard have rescued several dozens of them. Last month police killed two suspected smugglers in a gun fight in a nearby area.