In this news article, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, accuses the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of not being fair to Pakistan and stretching out talks while the country is in a "perfect storm" of crises. He says that Pakistan has already taken several measures to reach an agreement with the IMF, including hikes in fuel and energy tariffs, withdrawal of subsidies in export and power sectors, and generating more revenues through new taxation in the supplementary budget. However, he points out that Pakistan has been unable to achieve structural tax reform in the last 23 IMF programmes it has been part of.
Bilawal emphasizes the devastating impact of last year's floods on the country and the need for financial assistance to help the poorest of the poor. He praises Pakistan's economic relationship with China and the recent loan of $1.3bn announced by Beijing, and adds that the government is looking to work with anyone, including Russia, to meet the country's energy needs and provide relief to citizens paying for expensive imported fuel.
Bilawal also discusses Pakistan's ties with the US and its alleged influence over the Taliban, which he says has always been exaggerated. He believes that engaging with the Taliban is important for counterterrorism and other issues, including women's rights to education and jobs. He advises the West to engage with the Taliban regardless of what's going on the ground, as without a functioning economy, there won't be space for the Taliban to implement political decisions.
The article also mentions Bilawal's meeting with the President of the UN General Assembly, Csaba Korosi, to discuss ways to deal with growing Islamophobia and the upcoming UN Water Conference 2023, which Pakistan fully supports as water is an issue of supreme importance to the country.