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    Pakistan seeks assistance from IMF


    by ODN


    Pakistan is braced for more flooding in the south as officials hold talks in Washington with the International Monetary Fund on how to shore up the country's battered economy.

    The IMF said it would review Pakistan's budget and economic prospects due to the magnitude of a disaster that has ravaged crops and infrastructure, left more than 4 million homeless and raised concerns that Islamist militants may exploit the chaos.

    Estimates for economic growth this year range from zero to three per cent -- below the official target of 4.5 per cent -- with the US worried a weak economy could destabilise a key ally in the war against militancy.

    Dan Feldman, the US deputy special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said rebuilding from the floods could take years. "The sheer impact still needs to be assessed, but will certainly be staggering," he told reporters.

    He said more than 30 countries had pledged to contribute over $700 million for Pakistan.