Cash-strapped Pak may not get IMF bailout by Jan­uary 15

DNA (Delhi) - - WORLD -

Im­ages of dozens of high school pupils kneel­ing with their hands be­hind their heads dur­ing mass roundups sparked an out­cry on Fri­day as France braces for more vi­o­lence at “yel­low vest” protests this week­end.

Left wing politi­cians have ex­pressed out­rage at the videos, which have gone vi­ral on so­cial me­dia, show­ing the teenagers kneel­ing as riot po­lice barked or­ders at them. “What­ever wrong was done, noth­ing jus­ti­fies this filmed hu­mil­i­a­tion of mi­nors,” So­cial­ist leader, Olivier Faure tweeted. “There is no need to pour even more oil on the flames.”

The stu­dents were de­tained on Thurs­day in the Paris sub­urb of Mantes-laJolie, in an un­rest that has spread to dozens of schools dur­ing the three weeks of anti-gov­ern­ment demon­stra­tions. A to­tal of 146 peo­ple were ar­rested out­side the town’s Saint-Ex­u­pery high school af­ter pro­test­ers clashed with po­lice and burned two cars.

Lau­rent Saint-Martin, a se­nior mem­ber of the rul­ing Repub­lic On The Move (LREM) party, said around 40 of the stu­dents were masked and car­ry­ing equip­ment to be used in van­dal­ism and ar­son. But he too de­scribed the videos as “shock­ing”, telling Fran­ce­info ra­dio, “It’s right to be an­gry, look­ing at these im­ages.” Protests at some 280 schools against stricter univer­sity en­trance re­quire­ments have added to a sense of gen­eral re­volt in France as the “yel­low vest” protests rum­ble on.

Paris set for lock­down The “yel­low vest” protests, named af­ter the safety jack­ets worn by de­mon­stra­tors,

came to a head in Paris last week­end with the worst ri­ot­ing the cap­i­tal has seen in decades.

The protests be­gan on Novem­ber 17 in op­po­si­tion to ris­ing fuel taxes, but have since swollen into a broad move­ment against Em­manuel

Macron and the big­gest chal­lenge of his pres­i­dency.

The pro­test­ers are fu­ri­ous at ris­ing costs of liv­ing blamed on high taxes, and ac­cuse for­mer in­vest­ment banker Macron of favour­ing the rich with his poli­cies. Islamabad: Cash-strapped Pak­istan’s quest for a USD 8 bil­lion IMF bailout pack­age by Jan­uary 15 may not re­alise as the global lender wants the gov­ern­ment to adopt tougher mea­sures to ad­dress the ex­ter­nal sec­tor im­bal­ances be­fore send­ing the coun­try’s case to its Ex­ec­u­tive Board, a me­dia re­port said on Fri­day.

Pak­istan is seek­ing USD 8 bil­lion from the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) to bail it­self out from a se­vere bal­ance-of-pay­ments cri­sis that threat­ens to crip­ple the coun­try’s econ­omy.

The Ex­press Tri­bune, quot­ing sources in the min­istry of fi­nance, said that the two sides made their first con­tact on Thurs­day for the first time since Novem­ber 20 when they con­cluded their first round of talks for the bailout pack­age. Fi­nance Min­is­ter Asad Umar and the IMF’s Wash­ing­ton-based mis­sion chief Har­ald Fin­ger made con­tact through a video link, the re­port said. The two sides dis­cussed the de­vel­op­ments that took place dur­ing three weeks.

Talks be­tween Pak­istan and the IMF re­mained in­con­clu­sive last month af­ter both sides could not bridge the gulf on is­sues like the in­crease in elec­tric­ity prices, hike in in­ter­est rate, ru­pee de­val­u­a­tion and tax col­lec­tion tar­gets.

At that time, Pak­istani of­fi­cials had claimed that the staff-level agree­ment could be reached be­fore Christ­mas hol­i­days and Pak­istan could re­quest the IMF to send its case to the next board meet­ing, ten­ta­tively sched­uled for Jan­uary 15, the re­port said.

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