Shehbaz Sharif fears ‘all hell to break loose’ sans debt relief

With debt obligations drawing to a close, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has made an urgent appeal for relief in the repayment of debts from rich nations, reminding them that Pakistan is bearing the brunt of environmental damage caused by them to cater to their greed, media reports said.

As per Sharif, there is a “yawning gap” between what Pakistan is asking for and what is available, warning that the nation is facing the imminent threat of epidemics and other dangers, Geo News reported.

“God forbid this happens, all hell will [break loose],” he said.

In a conversation with Bloomberg TV, Sharif said Pakistan recently signed a deal with the IMF under “very tough” conditions, including taxes on petroleum and electricity.

Seeking support for Pakistan, hit by catastrophic floods this monsoon while already reeling from a stressed economy, Sharif said, “Unless we get substantial relief, how can the world expect us to stand on our own feet? It is simply impossible. The world has to stand by us.”

Responding to a question about debt obligations, the premier said they have spoken to European leaders and other leaders “to help us, in the Paris Club, get a moratorium”.

Sharif shared that he’d spoken to the World Bank about immediate debt relief and would begin talks with China after the Paris Club, Geo News reported.

Pakistan owes $30 billion to China, or about a third of its total external debt.

He said the floods were the result of an unprecedented cloudburst induced by climate change due to the environmental damage caused by fossil fuels.

“Therefore, it’s none of our doing, our making. Our carbon emission is less than 1 per cent and to be very exact, it’s 0.08 per cent, which is the lowest in the world. But we are rated as one of the most vulnerable countries,” he said.

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