AS-Pakistan 3rdLd-Writethru 11-25 0865
IMF approves $7.6 billion loan
Pakistan, the front-line country in the battle against Islamist terrorism, has won final approval for a $7.6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to help stave off a possible economic meltdown.
The IMF said a first installment of $3.1 billion will be transferred immediately to the nuclear-armed nation, which is struggling with deteriorating security, higher oil and food import prices and the global financial and credit crisis.
"By providing large financial support to Pakistan, the IMF is sending a strong signal to the donor community about the country’s improved macroeconomic prospects," said IMF acting Chairman Takatoshi Kato in a statement released after the decision Monday in Washington, where the fund is based.
Pakistan’s young government had been reluctant to go to the IMF but had little choice after close allies — the United States, China and Saudi Arabia — turned down pleas for significant bilateral aid.