The Jubilee South-Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS-APMDD) joins the international community in expressing deep solidarity with the people of Pakistan who continue to suffer from the devastating floods that has so far claimed more than a thousand lives, left four million people homeless and damaged 7.9 million acres of farmland and other economic structures. Not only did the floods wreak havoc to lives and property, it also intensely exacerbated the already dire situation of the Pakistani people.
The JS-APMDD together with all its member organizations throughout the Asia-Pacific joins in the call for repudiation and cancellation of the debts claimed from Pakistan.
It is urgent that the government of Pakistan repudiate all illegitimate debts, especially those which were incurred during the military dictatorships that spanned for decades, and use the freed funds for relief and rehabilitation. Notably, one-third of the Pakistani budget is spent on debt servicing.
International lenders should immediately and unconditionally cancel all debts claimed from Pakistan. It is condemnable that international financial institutions are asserting that this is the most opportune time for Pakistan to borrow funds in order to rebuild and upgrade the devastated economy. While the country is suffering human, social and economic impacts of floods, these institutions are tempting the Pakistani government to accept new loans. These new loans will lead to further expansion of international lenders’ influence and pressure on Pakistan’s economy and will multiply the debt burden of the people.
We are also reminded of lessons and experiences in the aftermath of the tsunami of 2004 December when the International Financial Institutions used the relief and rehabilitation process in several Asian countries to hasten the privatization of essential services such as water, related infrastructure and public lands. This must not be allowed to happen again in the wake of the disaster in Pakistan.
We join our Pakistan colleagues in calling on peoples organizations, movements and civil society groups to pressure northern governments and international financial institutions to cancel debts claimed from Pakistan, stop them from pushing more loans and exploiting the situation to advance their vested interests, and instead mobilize humanitarian support in the form of grants as well as climate financial reparations to be used for relief and rehabilitation efforts and adaptation measures that are designed and led by the people of Pakistan themselves.