The Bankrupt Republic of Pakistan has caught itself in the eye of yet another storm. Pakistani democracy is a joke. It provides comic relief to the army generals that rule Pakistan from Rawalpindi. But not being the one in charge does not mean one cannot benefit from appearing to be in power. Famous playboy-turned Prime Minister Imran Khan provides a shining example of the same. A massive scam has been unearthed in Pakistan, and this has severely shattered the bankrupt country’s ability to beg for more bailouts from the International Monetary Fund. Interestingly, the scam itself was unearthed due to intense pressure by the IMF.
The IMF had asked Pakistan to undertake five actions if it wants to get the $1 billion loan tranche by January next year. Among them was the IMF’s demand that Pakistan releases an audit of the Covid-19 expenses incurred during the pandemic. For a PKR 40 billion scam to be unearthed out of Imran Khan’s much-touted Covid relief package is a big setback for Pakistan’s begging ambitions. Now, the International Monetary Fund is most likely to cancel the loan tranche which was to be given to Islamabad soon.
What is the Scam?
Pakistan published the much-awaited audit report of expenditures incurred on Covid-19, showing a glaring scam of about PKR 40 billion, or $226 million. The findings of the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) –the constitutional body – showed mis-procurement, payments to ineligible beneficiaries, cash withdrawal through fake biometrics and procurements of substandard goods by Utility Stores Corporation (USC) for consumption. The National Disaster Management Authority, defence ministry, and all other government departments seem to have received their cuts out of the Covid relief package of Imran Khan.
In March 2020, Imran Khan had approved an Rs1.24 trillion Economic Stimulus Package. The key objectives of the relief package were to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, provision of medical and subsistence relief to citizens and support to business and the economy. The AG report said, “The finance ministry issued Rs314 billion less supplementary grants from the PM’s stimulus package due to which citizens of Pakistan could not avail the complete benefit of the announced package resulting in suffering, economic hardship and many private factories laying off their workers during Covid-19 process.”
According to the Tribune (Pakistan), as opposed to Rs 200 billion promised to daily wagers, only Rs16 billion were distributed among them. The vulnerable families were promised Rs 150 billion but given Rs 145 billion. The Utility Stores package was Rs50 billion but was given Rs 10 billion. There was a promise to pay Rs 100 billion electricity and gas bills but the actual payments were Rs 15 billion.
IMF is Livid
The IMF has realised that any financial aid to Pakistan will land into the pockets of Imran Khan and his uniformed bosses. It will also be used to finance terror around the world. The International Monetary Fund has rejected Pakistan’s request to keep a door open for borrowing from the central bank amid the ongoing financial woes in the country. The IMF, in essence, turned down the Pakistan government’s proposal to allow it to take loans equal to 2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in a fiscal year.
Imran Khan’s Government in Danger
Imran Khan’s government has been surviving on the edge for quite some time now. The man has infuriated many mullahs in Pakistan. The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) will soon begin breathing fire down Imran Khan’s neck for his shameless corruption. The man might even lose the confidence of the army, in which case, death would be the most peaceful exit for Imran.
Pakistan has been surviving at the mercy of donations and loans for quite some time now. Its economy has been destroyed. The terror state’s entire focus has been on spreading violent extremism across the world, especially into India. Now, with the massive scam being unearthed, the IMF is going to kick Pakistan’s begging bowl right on Imran Khan’s face.