Three influential US lawmakers have urged the Trump administration to oppose the proposed multi-billion bailout package being sought by Pakistan from International Monetary Fund. They have argued that the bailout package could be used to repay the Chinese debt accumulated under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
In a letter to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the bipartisan group of three lawmakers – Ted Yoho, Ami Bera and George Holding – expressed their deep concern over the likely use of the IMF’s bailout package. They said that China is investing 62 billion US dollars in Pakistan under the CPEC. They also pointed out that the CPEC’s debt repayment and profit repatriation terms are not transparent.
The letter said that the impact of Chinese predatory financing in Pakistan, as already seen in the case of the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka, cannot be ruled out. It also said out that under Chinese pressure, Sri Lanka handed over 1,500 acres of land around the port for a 99-year lease.
Noting that Pakistan’s history with the IMF gives further cause for concern, the US lawmakers said having spent 22 of the past 30 years in a dozen different IMF bailout programs, Pakistan has failed to carry out necessary structural economic problems.