- What the world has done is commendable but it is far from meeting needs of the country, PM says in interview
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday cautioned that "all hell would break loose" for Pakistan if debt relief was not granted to the country while it reeled from devastating floods.
In an interview with Bloomberg in New York, where the PM is attending the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, he said that among the flood-affected people, 3 million children were on the verge of malnutrition and contracting water-borne diseases while elderly people were suffering as well.
“I am here to tell the world about the floods in Pakistan. They are a result of unprecedented rains induced by climate change,” he stressed. “It is not our making because our carbon emission proportion in the world is less than 1%.”
And yet, Pakistan is among the top 10 vulnerable economies of the globe, he said, adding that 33 million people have been affected, 1,500 people have lost their lives and 4 million acres of crops have been washed away.
Around 1 million houses have been completely damaged and many have endured partially destruction, the PM said.
“The UN secretary general visited Pakistan and termed the scale of devastation unbelievable. The entire country looks like a sea,” he said.
Due to conditions of the IMF programme, Pakistan has to enhance tax on petrol and electricity every month “and now, we have additional responsibility to rehabilitate millions of shelter less people, rebuild their houses and provide them employment," he said.
He also said global oil prices had risen to unimaginable levels owing to political tensions around the world.
He appreciated US President Joe Biden and other world leaders for speaking about Pakistan’s plight and donating to the affected regions.
“What the world has done is commendable but it is far from meeting the needs of the country,” he noted. “The government of Pakistan cannot do it alone. Our resources are insufficient and we need additional funds.”
“Unless the world comes out with billions of dollars in support for relief, rehabilitation and resilience, the economy cannot be placed back on track,” the PM said.
Asked if Pakistan would be able to make its debt repayments, PM Shehbaz said that the country had debt obligations due next month and it has asked for relief.