Pakistan’s effort for the global initiative for debt relief is on the rise with Prime Minister Imran Khan dialing up countries in the region and beyond international boundaries.
As of March 2020, public debt of Pakistan is estimated to be about ₨42.8 trillion/US$256 billion which is 98.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) of Pakistan. About ₨18.17 trillion is owed by the government to domestic creditors, and about ₨1.378 trillion is owed by Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs).Source: National debt of Pakistan – Wikipedia
Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan has observed a strict control over the foreign policy and have been successful in maintaining outstanding diplomacy with foreign and regional countries, the incumbent government’s policies have brought peace and economical relief to not only Pakistan but the entire region has observed its positive impacts.
COVID-19/coronavirus has proved to be a back-breaking problem for many under-developed countries since the already existing economic turmoil was in play and the countries cannot produce a significant relief package for their citizens unlike the well-established developed world countries like Japan and United States of America who has allocated trillions of dollars to tackle this pandemic while Pakistan stands at a mere relief package of 7.9$ billion dollars.
COVID-19 Fallout On Regional Nations
Covid-19’s after-effects are observed over the globe with countries taking measures to protect their citizens and providing relief packages for their aid while the South-Asian and other under-developed world countries have suffered severe fallout from the pandemic mainly due to poor economic conditions and health hazards and without any economic stability, the countries are stuck in a limbo relying on foreign aid.
Prime Minister Imran Khan have been observed taking swift measures to tackle the problem and cooperating with nations over the issue and establishing a baseline for the betterment of the regions and establishing an initiative (a global initiative of debt relief) which is aimed at relieving debt-ridden countries of their debt and surplus owed to other entities.
Global Initiative of Debt Relief
PM Imran in a recent phone call with Bill Gates the founding father of Microsoft and the facing entity of Bill & Melinda Gates foundations discussing the current actions took to tackle COVID-19 and applauded the aid provided by Bill & Melinda Gates foundation for the efforts to help the affected, the Prime Minister discussed the situation and presented the “Global Initiative for Debt Relief” stating that the pandemic has rendered countries unable to tackle the situation economically and the debts are forcing countries to cater more to the loans than their citizens which in turn decreases the economical turnover.
The Global Initiative for Debt relief is aimed at helping the developing nations to focus more on their economical status rather than succumbing to the pressure of debt halting their developments and creating hurdles for their citizens.
Prime Minister Imran has not only spoken for Pakistan but for every single country that is affected by COVID-19 and is unable to reach their full potential of providing their citizens with basic health care due to excessive loans and crippling debt.
Most countries are bound to loans with the IMF (International Monetary Fund) but some countries like Sri Lanka are bound with Chinese loans which have escalated into the Chinese seizing Sri Lanka’s control over its ports and important landmarks which depict great value for the country.
Pakistan’s case lies with multiple entities that have provided loans for the stability of the nation, those entities include the IMF, World Bank, United States of America and China through its investment venture by the name of CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor).
Ties with Sri-Lanka
Prime Minister Imran Khan in June 2020 called on the President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa explaining the current situation of COVID-19 in the region and the need for regional cooperation to tackle the pandemic.
The Prime Minister also briefed the President about the current action of plan of Pakistan to tackle Corona Virus and its efforts to relieve its citizens of their pain and economical tension.
PM Imran also underscored the current situation in IOJ&K and the socio-economic problems faced by the Kashmiri people and said the only possible solution to this problem is diplomacy instead of confrontation and underlined that the true potential of 1.5 billion people in South-Asia can be only achieved via cooperation between the regions comprising SAARC.
PM Imran also invited President Rajapaksa on a visit to Pakistan once the COVID-19 situation improves.
Prime Minister Imran Khan held a telephonic conversation with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today. The two leaders discussed bilateral relations, regional situation, and a broad range of other issues.
Prime Minister Imran Khan commended the efforts made by Sri Lanka to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. He briefed the Sri Lankan President about the latest situation in Pakistan and the steps taken by the Government to contain Covid-19 and efforts to save lives, secure livelihoods, and sustain the economy.
The Prime Minister apprised the President about his “Global Initiative on Debt Relief” for developing countries to mitigate the severe socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. The Prime Minister underscored that developing countries were particularly vulnerable. Stressing the need for a holistic solution, the Prime Minister underlined the importance of the developed and developing countries growing together.
The Prime Minister shared his perspective on the grave situation in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K) and underscored the imperative of peaceful resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute.
In the context of the regional situation, the Prime Minister underlined that rather than confrontation, cooperation must be the key dynamic to help realize the true potential of more than 1.5 billion people in South Asia. He underlined that the goals of sustainable development and prosperity should be advanced through regional cooperation, including the platform of SAARC.
The Prime Minister reiterated the invitation to the Sri Lankan President to visit Pakistan once the Covid-19 situation improves.
The two leaders agreed to remain in close contact to coordinate a regional response to the COVID-19-related and other challenges and to realize the opportunities.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka are bound by a close, friendly relationship based on mutual trust, mutual respect, and sovereign equality.Source: PMO
Ties with Egypt
On April 20th, 2020 Prime Minister Imran Khan had telephonic contact with the president of Egypt Abdel Fattah Sisi recalling their interaction at the OIC summit in Makkah and previously in 2019 at the General Assembly of United Nations.
PM Imran appreciated the efforts of Egyptian authorities and their measures to tackle and slow the spread of the COVID-19 in Egypt and reiterated Pakistan’s approach of tackling the pandemic.
PM Imran during his interaction with President Sisi focused on the “Global Initiative of Debt Relief” briefly explaining its approach and the benefits to reap from this initiative while underscoring that this action plan will help free-up resources and relieve the populous whom are facing a “stark choice” of death by COVID-19 or by the effects of hunger.
Abdel Fattah Sisi acknowledged PM Imran’s efforts and extended support for his ideology with Imran Khan cordially inviting President Sisi on a visit to Pakistan at the earliest convenience.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, today, held a telephonic conversation with President Abdel Fatteh Sisi of Egypt. The Prime Minister fondly recalled their earlier interaction on the sidelines of the OIC Summit in Makkah and the UN General Assembly Session in New York during 2019.
The Prime Minister conveyed Pakistan’s solidarity with the Government and people of Egypt and commended their effective measures to control the spread of COVID-19.
The wide-ranging discussion between the two leaders focused on their respective national approaches to managing COVID-19 and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call to launch a ‘Global Initiative on Debt Relief’ for developing countries.
The Prime Minister congratulated President Sisi for pursuing an effective national strategy. He also highlighted the key elements of Pakistan’s approach aimed at saving lives from the scourge of the virus and protecting the most vulnerable segments of population from acute economic distress.
On the issue of debt, the Prime Minister underscored that while debt suspension will help free up resources in the developing countries to manage this unprecedented global health & economic crisis, where people are facing a stark choice — death by COVID-19 or by hunger — more measures were needed to reboot the developing countries’ economies.
President Sisi expressed support for the Prime Minister’s Debt Relief Initiative. The Prime Minister stressed the importance of working together to evolve a comprehensive plan to turn this crisis generated by global pandemic into an opportunity for economic regeneration.
The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to further solidify the close fraternal ties between Pakistan and Egypt.
Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated his invitation to President Sisi to visit Pakistan at the earliest convenience.Source: PMO
Rare contact with Bangladesh
Once known as East-Pakistan, Bangladesh has been the cue of quiet diplomacy with Pakistan due to stained history and bad relations, In a telephonic contact with his Bangladeshi counterpart Shiekh Hasina, Premier Imran Khan expressed his grief for the loss of life in Bangladesh and Pakistan alike and presented the head of state with his Global initiative for debt relief program which was mainly aimed at provision of debt relief for poor and economically weak countries.
While pertaining and following the limits of SAARC premier Imran discussed bilateral relations and the economical condition of the two states and aimed at the sustainability of peace through which is the only prominent way of adjusting peace between the region.
Germany’s take on “debt relief”
Germany even though most of its citizens do not support Pakistan’s policy, still Germany has been seen through-out history supporting Pakistan in its independent matters.
PM Imran Khan had telephonic contact with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and explained the measures took by Pakistan to tackle the situation of Corona-Virus in Pakistan and applauded the immense success German has achieved in ridding of the pandemic and being partly successful in it, Imran Khan explained the current dilemma of “Global Initiative of Debt Relief” and explained that the freedom from debt can open up avenues and resources for debt-ridden countries to provide for their citizens.
Prime Minister Imran further mentioned that the people in the debt-ridden countries are facing a Stark choice of death by COVID-19 or death by hunger which renders the economy useless for its citizens.
Prime Minister also hoped that countries like Germany and the likes of the UN Secretary-General will provide leadership on this matter in the upcoming G-20 Summit.
Bahrain’s support of “Global Initiative of Debt Relief
During the telephonic contact of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and the Bahraini representative Dr. Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al-Zayani.
Minister Qureshi started by applauding the efforts made by Bahrain to tackle the issue of COVID-19 and their exemplary measures that made sure the Virus won’t reach its full potential.
The Bahraini counterpart also applauded the Pakistani efforts and measures to stop the spread of the virus and extended support and appreciation for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Global initiative of Debt relief.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood also lauded Bahrain’s cooperation in releasing and returning stranded Pakistani prisoners in Bahrain pertaining to the situation created by COVID-19.
Dr. Zayani appreciated the efforts of Pakistani people in the development and progress of Bahrain with their potential and hard work.
Support from United Nations
The public outlet and spokesperson to the Secretary-General of the united nations in a briefing has said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s stance is in the same standing as that of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The Secretary-General to the United Nations also applauding the efforts of Imran Khan said that debt relief is a crucial part of the measures taken to tackle COVID-19 as the poor countries of the world do not have enough resources to fund the anti-corona measures and maintain the standard of health in their respective states.
Secretary-General also weighed upon the immediate waiver of interest fees of debt on the poor countries who are unable to free up resources for their populous due to the debts and COVID-19.
The spokesperson also added that the Secretary-General had made his stance clear in the letter he sent ahead of the G20 summit.
Prime Minister Khan also called out the prominent financial and world leaders in support of his Global initiative for debt relief aimed at relieving debt and provision of support to underlying and poor countries who are unable to withstand the socio-economic turmoil and storm that is headed their way including Pakistan.
Pakistani Outlet’s Calls To Leading Countries
Like spreading diplomacy in the native region Pakistan has also taken steps to ensure the support of foreign countries which are self-dependent and significant members of the G20 summit.
In a call to Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who has been seen throughout history supporting Pakistan and its interest and the entire Muslim community in every way possible from financial to geopolitical aid, PM Imran lauded Canada’s effort for the containment of Coronavirus while debriefing him on the Global initiative for debt relief and thanked his efforts for the inclusion of Pakistan in debt relief program initiated by the top-most world masters.
Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mehmood Qureshi had telephonic contact with China’s state counselor and foreign minister Wang Yi and expressed his satisfaction and relief on the revival of daily life in the state of Hubei specifically Wuhan, Minister Qureshi upheld the efforts made by China to help Pakistan during the lockdown and the fight against COVID-19 with both medical and financial aid and reassured the premier on high flying relations between both of the countries.
Foreign Minister to China Wang Yi also applauded the efforts made by Pakistan and assured China’s support for the PM Khan’s global initiative for debt relief in the upcoming G20 summit.
Another telephonic contact with Ireland’s Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney by Foreign Minister Qureshi yielded the positive stance of Ireland for the Premier’s Global initiative for debt relief. FM Qureshi also discussed the continuation of bilateral relations between the two countries in response to which the minister was assured of positive feedback.
During a telephonic contact with his Norwegian counterpart Ine Eriksen Søreide, foreign minister Qureshi underlined the pertaining situation regarding COVID-19 and was assured by his Norwegian counterpart of Norway’s dedication to working closely on the Global initiative for debt relief with Pakistan as it is aimed at the provision of good economic conditions for poor and debt-ridden countries to stabilize their stance.
Pakistan is a part of the countries chosen to be a part of the Debt relief program, Pakistan has been the worst economic turmoil in the past few years and with least hopes for stability in the future due to COVID-19, the prompt came after the UN’s declaration that the South-Asian countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh and India will face worst economical downturn compared to the last 40 years,
Pakistan is unable to provide satisfactory health-care due to the excessive loans signed by the previous governments and is required to reallocate resources to suit the demands of the loan-bearers for payback, the global initiative debt relief is supposed to give the chosen countries extended deadline for loans up to 12$billion the deadline is until December 2020, still not enough time to prepare for the downturn but still, the relief will be a helping hand in managing and allocating resources within the given time frame.
All the countries suffering from the effects of a crippling economy can receive help and time to properly allocate their resources for the re-payment and the establishment of proper authorities and encampments to tackle the pandemic.
BUALinks stands for Bain Ul Aqwami Links which means International Relations. BUALinks is an attempt to put forward Pakistan’s point of view on its geographical politics.