ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has to accept unwillingly the strict conditions of a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Friday.

He was speaking to top security officials meeting at his office in Islamabad.

"We have to accept unwillingly the strict conditions for the IMF deal," he said, adding that he hoped the deal would be sealed soon.

Pakistani authorities have been negotiating with the IMF since early February over policy framework issues and are hoping to sign a staff-level agreement that will pave the way for more inflows from other bilateral and multilateral lenders.

Once the deal is signed, the lender will issue over a $1 billion tranche from the $6.5 billion bailout agreed in 2019.

The South Asian economy has been in turmoil, and desperately needs external financing with its foreign exchange reserves dipping to around $3 billion, barely enough for three weeks' worth of imports.

A "friendly country" is also waiting for the deal to be confirmed before extending support to Pakistan, Sharif said, without elaborating.

Longtime ally China this week announced refinancing of $700 million, according to Pakistan's finance ministry.

(Reporting by Asif Shahzad; Writing by Sakshi Dayal; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)