AS nothing concrete has so far come out of the government's efforts to get financial support to tide over the deepening economic crisis and time is running out before obligatory payments become due, there is a palpable sense of apprehension in the air. However, top government functionaries, the President, the Prime Minister and the Advisor on Finance sound very optimistic. The Prime Minister, attending the World Economic Forum at Istanbul, appeared to suggest to Reuters that the issue was quite simple: there was no possibility of default and, besides, Pakistan could avoid the IMF if friendly countries were to come forward with their help. The President believes that the crisis is only temporary. The Advisor to PM on Finance is so confident of the country's strength that he asserts the acceptance of IMF "on our terms", which looks quite incongruent given the ground realities. The phenomenon is not localised and has international dimensions and, therefore, really grave. For instance, assuming that the government succeeds in its expectations of receiving assistance to revive the economy, the markedly slackened global import capacity would naturally make a sizeable dent in the quantum of our exports. Thus, it is pretty hard to accept the President's assessment that the crisis is just temporary. In this age of inter-linked global economies, there has to be a revival of economic activity in countries doing business between them. However, one would not doubt Mr Zardari's remark that Pakistan is tackling the challenge on a war footing to ease the situation. At the same time, one cannot help viewing the scenario in the backdrop of harsh conditionalities the IMF would impose while providing funds. Already there are press reports that though Islamabad is aiming at as high an injection of funds as $9 billion, the IMF is not prepared to go beyond a certain limit. Besides, it is insisting on further raising the interest rate that most Pakistani officials do not think beneficial. Reportedly, we are trying to persuade the US to intercede with the IMF to have these two conditions waved but with the superpower's present attitude towards Pakistan, it would be a big surprise if it were to do that. The scenario gets darker with the repeated indication from the Friends of Pakistan that they would not oblige and we would be forced to look up to the IMF. From whatever source we get the required aid, Mr Zardari, due to visit Saudi Arabia soon, would have the opportunity to explain to King Abdullah our predicament and make the best efforts to secure the Saudi oil facility on credit to boost our position.