PESHAWAR: Finance Minister Asad Umar on Monday said Pakistan is close to striking a deal to secure financial support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan met IMF chief Christine Lagarde on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai.

Addressing the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industries in Peshawar, Umar said a deal with the IMF looks imminent and that there was a convergence of views between the two parties on the need to implement structural reforms in the country, reiterating the prime minister’s remarks in the aftermath of the meeting.

“The deal will be [good for Pakistan] but it is the responsibility of the business and trading community to put Pakistan on the path towards progress,” he told the audience.

The prime minister told the IMF that we want to sign on the package, the finance minister added.

Discussing the importance of strengthening trade ties with the neighbouring countries, Umar said Pakistan is focusing on boosting trade with Iran and Afghanistan. He said trade ties with India could improve if the Kashmir issue was resolved.

He also said Pakistan is working on a Strategic Economic Draft to strengthen economic ties with Turkey.

“Peace in Afghanistan [will lead to] peace in Pakistan. We are playing our role for peace in Afghanistan,” Umar said.