Pakistan to send delegation to US

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Islamabad, Oct 8 (UNI) Pakistan will send a delegation to the US next week as it seeks 10 billion dollars in emergency assistance to avoid defaulting on its debt, Bloomberg TV said.

The government is also expected to meet with the 'Friends of Pakistan' group in the United Arab Emirates soon, the channel quoted a finance ministry official as saying.

The group, which met in New York on September 26, includes the US, UK, China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

''About 8 billion dollars to 10 billion dollars over 18 months is all we need to get out of this based on our own momentum,'' said a senior Pakistani banker Syed Ali Raza.

''Our biggest problem is [foreign] reserves and confidence in the currency.'' Pakistan ended its three-year, 1.5 billion dollars loan programme with the International Monetary Fund in December 2004.

However, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has not said whether it will seek IMF assistance.

''Without external assistance, Pakistan doesn't have the resources to meet its obligations,'' said Farid Khan, director of equities at Credit Suisse Pakistan in Karachi.

''Pakistan should seek IMF's assistance now instead of waiting for the eleventh hour. It's an extraordinary crunch and the outlook is very grim,'' said Zainab Jabbar, group strategist at Karachi-based IGI Financial Services Ltd.

''There are very serious chances of defaulting.'' UNI XC ARB KP1225

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