PM’s proposal for grand unity

Prime Minister Imran Khan has emphasised the need of collective efforts by the international community to win war against the spread of coronavirus pandemic which has affected 190 plus countries at a massive scale, both developed and underdeveloped. He said this, while expressing his best wishes for the speedy recovery of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne and Prime Minister Boris Johnson; who have been tested virus positive a few days ago. The unity can be demonstrated in two ways, urgent supplies of ventilators, protective medical equipment and medicines by the developed countries to the developing nations and generous economic assistance to the latter category of countries. China has already led the way for the industrialised countries by rushing its team of doctors and paramedics for training their counterparts in Pakistan, in addition to providing five ventilators, protective clothing and masks for doctors and medical staff who are in forefront of providing treatment to coronavirus infected patients. Another equally essential area of global cooperation in the prevailing situation is addressing the chronic issue of debt servicing faced by the underdeveloped countries with low per-capita income. It is no longer a secret that debt money in majority of developing countries has been misappropriated by sitting regimes. In case of Pakistan 27 percent of financial resources generated every year from domestic sources and foreign loans are allocated for payment of public debt. The point has been highlighted by the Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Quershi by stressing debt relief to developing countries, like Pakistan, to enable them allocate more resources to combat the pandemic and mitigate its economic fallout. Foreign Office Spokesperson, Aisha Farouqi told in a weekly media briefing that Prime Minister’s call for debt rescheduling and extending liberal economic assistance to developing countries was getting favourable response. The optimism seems based on the recent positive signals emanating from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank and likely outcome of the upcoming G-20 meeting. The meeting will discuss the impact of coronavirus spell over on global economy and damage it caused to the economies of developing countries. In online media briefing, IMF Managing Director Kristilina Georgieva said that coronavirus pandemic driven downturn of global economy has hit hard 80 countries, mostly low income. She disclosed that these countries have already requested emergency aid and $2.5 trillion funding shall be required for emerging market economies. In an interview with a foreign news agency about two weeks ago, Prime Minister had made an SOS call to international community for waiving off foreign debt to developing countries as in the prevailing melt down like situation of global economy it would be impossible for them to pay back the loans of global lending agencies including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Asian Development Bank. He had urged the leadership of developed countries to make up their mind for waiving of the debt given to developing countries through multilateral donor agencies. The economies of industrialised countries of Western Europe and South East Asia can absorb the shock of global economy downswing because of their productive capacities and potential of fast recovery from slump. It would be extremely difficult for debt ridden developing economies to get out of deep recession and move on the recovery path. It is worth mentioning that in normal conditions finance wizard of PML-N Ishaq Dar pushed Pakistan’s economy to the brink of default in 1997-99 during the second tenure of Nawaz Sharif Government.