Islamabad: Ending speculation over its next move, Pakistan has announced its decision to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for balance-of-payments support, reports said on Tuesday. According to leading Pakistan daily Dawn, the Finance Minister of the neighbouring country, Asad Umar, left for Indonesia on Monday night to participate in the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank at Bali, scheduled from Tuesday to Friday (Oct 9 to 12), and formally request a bailout programme. (Also read: ‘Make no Mistake, We’re Watching, Says US To IMF Against Bailout Package For Pak)

“The government has decided to approach the IMF for stabilisation and an economic recovery programme,” said the finance ministry in a statement. While the Minister wasn’t available for comment, he had told the daily over the weekend that there was no such plan in the offing. “When a decision on whether to go to the IMF has not even been made, how can I start drafting a policy document?” he had reportedly said.

Meanwhile, an official claimed that Monday’s stock market crash had prompted Prime Minister Imran Khan to allow Umar to seek the IMF help. He said Umar would request the IMF management for a bailout programme and the process would take four-five weeks to reach an agreement. The official said the ministry expected a three-year programme of $7.5bn.

The daily quotes sources as saying that Cabinet members had been insisting that Pakistan sought the IMF help immediately. However, their Prime Minister wanted to delay the IMF route until after the first 100 days in office and then after the Oct 14 by-elections.

Pakistan had a history of repeatedly going to the IMF due to the legacy of those who held power in the previous government.