ISLAMABAD: After receiving flak from opposition parties, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that Pakistan might not have to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout. In a meeting with journalist bodies, including the All Pakistan Newspapers Association (APNS), Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) and Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), the prime minister expressed the hope that the government would be able to fix economic issues soon with its policies. The government is in contact with friendly countries for resolution of economic issues, he said.Last week, the government announced its decision to approach the Fund amid severe criticism from opposition for taking a U-turn on the issue. A team of IMF officials is scheduled to visit Islamabad on November 7 for talks on the size of the loan facility that the government would be requiring.The premier said the country’s economy was in dire straits and its every sector, the government had analysed, was found in the doldrums. While blaming the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) rules, the prime minister said, “The previous governments drowned us in debt. The loans taken had not even been utilised properly.” PM Imran said he was hopeful that the PTI government would not need financial assistance from international borrowers.He went on to say that after taking tough decisions in the first six months of his government’s tenure, the masses would be given relief, which would usher in a new era in the country’s history.In the meeting with media representatives, the prime minister announced the withdrawal of 5% duty on newsprint.He also lauded the role played by the media in the democratic set-up.Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday met a delegation of Council of Business Leaders, which called on him in Islamabad, Radio Pakistan reported. Finance Minister Asad Umar, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood and other senior officials were also part of the meeting. The business leaders identified various issues and presented proposals to strengthen economy, development of industrial, agriculture and IT sectors and boost exports.Published in Daily Times, October 18th 2018.