*WASHINGTON: **United States piles up pressure against Pakistan yet again. *
*The Trump administration has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to ensure real structural reforms are included as conditionality before approving a loan package for Pakistan.*
"We have not seen the IMF package, yet we understand that there has been an agreement reached between the IMF and the government of Pakistan but certainly we have communicated our strong views, and Secretary (of State Mike) Pompeo has done so publicly, on the need for any package to include real structural reforms," Ambassador Alice Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary of State, told members of Congress on Thursday.
During a special hearing on 'US Interests in South Asia and the 2020 Budget' before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ambassador Wells did not directly comment on the question if the IMF loan to Pakistan should be blocked until Dr Shakeel Afridi is released.
However, she said that the administration has already withheld 130 million dollars in assistance to Pakistan as a result of Dr Afridi's incarceration.
She maintained that Dr Afridi has been jailed "wrongly and inappropriately", and the administration continues to raise theissue with Pakistani officials.