1. How about using some mail transport agent such as exim(or sendmail if you want have something more complex) to take care of sending mail and using local spool for reading mails (with getting them by using fetchmail). Then there is no need to configure any email client (they all default to this).
2. Don't use pine. It has crippled license. (see mutt
That said, check your ~/.pinerc, it should contain lines something like:
Also do note that the imap server is not necessarily same host as the smtp server.