Pakistan has been facing significant economic difficulties. With sharp increases in oil and food prices, and adverse security developments, Pakistan has experienced a significant widening of the fiscal deficit, owing in large part to increasing energy subsidies and major pressures on its balance of payments. As a result, inflation rose considerably and international reserves declined sharply. Executive Directors have commended the authorities for the progress achieved under the stabilization program. Directors have also welcomed the focus on social protection in the authorities' program.