DUBAI: Prime Minister Imran Khan met Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai and assured Lagarde PTI government’s would undertake structural and governance reforms to strengthen social protection in the country.

Imran Khan said Pakistan needed painful economic reforms to cut back on its massive debt, just after meeting the head of the International Monetary Fund. He was speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

“I repeat the reforms are painful. It’s like a surgery. When you conduct surgery for a while the patient suffers but that improves,” Khan said. “The worst thing that can happen for society is that you keep postponing reforms because of the fear that you would have opposition, the vested interests stand up and you don’t do reforms.”

Pakistan has been seeking an $8 billion bailout from the IMF. Pakistan has around $100 billion in external debts and liabilities, according to the State Bank of Pakistan.

The IMF Managing Director acknowledged the steps taken so far by the Pakistan government for stabilizing the economy, Press Information Department (PID) said. [the_ad id=”32940″]Lagarde said the IMF will remain engaged in supporting Pakistan in sustaining its economic recovery. The two sides agreed to work together on policy priorities and reforms aimed at reducing imbalances and laying the foundations of a job creating growth path in Pakistan.

In this regard, deliberations between Pakistani authorities and IMF staff will continue to finalize an agreement on the contours of a program.