ISLAMABAD - A high-powered delegation of Pakistan's Finance Ministry left here on Friday to brief the International Monetary Fund's first review mission under the $7.6 billion 23-month stand-by loan programme. Pakistan would ask the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to raise its approved loan of 7.6 billion dollars to 12.1 billion dollars during talks with the organisation. Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Masood left here at the head of Pakistani delegation since the IMF mission had declined to visit Pakistan due to security concerns. Preliminary discussions on review of second quarter of the current financial year that ended on December 2008 would start on Saturday while formal meetings would start on Monday, officials told TheNation. Green signal by the review mission visiting Dubai for meetings with the government of Pakistan would enable the release of second tranche of $750 million. Pakistan received $3.2 billion as the first tranche under the bail-out programme. They will also give a detailed briefing to the IMF about measures taken by the government of Pakistan on its economy. Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tarin will later join the team on Feb 25 for further talks with the fund, the officials added. Meanwhile, sources told TheNation that Prime Minister has taken serious notice of Dr Masood's not relinquishing charge of the Finance Division even after his transfer was notified early last week. Despite the fact that Advisor on Finance Shaukat Tarin wanted to continue with Dr Masood as Finance Secretary, the sources observed he would have to leave Finance Division as per notification once he is back from IMF review meetings. Agencies add: Pakistan is to ask the IMF to raise its approved loan by $4.7 billion from 7.6 billion to 12.1 billion dollars during talks with the Fund. "Keeping in view our good performance where we have achieved all targets set by the IMF, Pakistan deserves an increase," Finance Advisor Shaukat Tarin told reporters in Islamabad on Friday. "But it's up to the IMF whether they accept our request or not." The government officials and the IMF authorities will review financial targets set for the country to qualify for the second tranche of 775 million dollars of the 7.6-billon-dollar programme that was approved in November 2008 to save the country from a default on external payments. The 23-month standby loan gave Islamabad 3.1 billion dollars immediately, with the rest to be phased in over the course of the period if Islamabad manages to fulfil the IMF's envisioned targets of reducing the deficit and State Bank of Pakistan's financing of the government, among other tight fiscal and monetary measures. Tarin said that the fiscal deficit was curtailed at 1.9 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) against the set target of two per cent for the first half (July-December) period of the fiscal year 2008-09. The current account deficit, which stands at 2 billion dollars per month, is now reduced to 500 million dollars as a result of various measures. The borrowing from the central bank has been reduced from 258 billion rupees to 204 billion rupees until the end of December 2008. "The stabilisation of the economy has slowed down the economic activities and turnaround cannot be achieved overnight. But were doing well and that is why we expect an increase from IMF," Tarin said.