Pakistan’s Foreign Debt Will Soon Cross a Staggering $75 Billion

Pakistan’s loan situation has steadily grown worse over the course of the last year as government has continued to take on more loans from local and foreign institutions. While taking loans is not unique to this government, the rate at which the loans are accruing is certainly unprecedented.

Pakistan’s Current Debt

2016 was a record setter in terms of debt for our country. Pakistan’s foreign debt stood at $72.98 billion (Rs. 7.40 trillion ) after the first half of 2016. During the last fiscal year, Pakistan’s debt increased by $7.9 billion, a record amount of foreign debt.

During the past three-odd years, the current government has taken $25 billion in foreign loans. Out of the $25 billion, $11.95 billion was used to pay off other loans.

For the same duration, the PML-N government has borrowed PKR 3.1 trillion ($30 billion) from local banking institutions in rupees. (This is local debt and does not add up in the foreign debt mentioned above.)

Summing up, Pakistan’s total debt (local and foreign) had increased by $55 billion in the three-odd years of the current govt. Loans from the Chinese institutions are separate thing altogether and more details regarding those are still incoming.

We would like to mention that domestic borrowings are often not mentioned because their affect is not as adverse as foreign debt. The government could simply devalue local currency and make up for local payments.

Debt Predictions

According to data from the Trading Economics, Pakistan’s external debt will cross $75.54 billion (PKR 7.90 trillion) when the details for Jan 2017 come out.


It is expected to cross $79.35 billion (PKR 8.30 trillion) in 6 months’ time and at the rate it is progressing, the analyst firm says by 2020 the foreign debt will reach $87.1 billion (PKR 9.12 trillion).

Pakistan’s Debt Due in 18 Months

Pakistan has to pay $11.5 billion within the next 18 months. Various international monetary institutions are owed different amounts from that sum. These are:

  • Pakistan has to pay a sum of $8.76 billion to International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
  • $160 million has to be paid in Saudi Riyals to Islamic Development Bank.
  • Pakistan has to pay $1.6 billion to China within 18 months.
  • Japan has to be paid back 192 billion Yen.
  • Paris Club from France is owed 625 million Euros.

Debt History

Let’s take a look at Pakistan’s debt history:

  • Pakistan had received $121 million from 1951 to 1955.
  • The figure nearly had tripled in the next five years.
  • By December 1969, the external debt of Pakistan had amounted to $2.7 billion.
  • Pakistan’s total external debt was $3 billion by December 1971.
  • Foreign debt figure had then subsequently increased to $6.3 billion in 1977.
  • Pakistan’s external debt was $21.9 billion in 1990.
  • It was $35.6 billion in 2000.
  • Pakistan’s foreign debt and liabilities in July 2013 stood at USD 61.9 billion
  • In July 2014, Pakistan’s foreign debt soared to USD 63.4 billion, showing an increase of USD 1.5 billion.
  • In July 2015, the foreign debt rose to USD 65.1 billion recording an increase of USD 1.7 billion.

Some Facts

With updated information about Pakistan’s debt, some often used facts need to be updated.

  • With a foreign debt of $74 billion and a population of 190 million. Each Pakistani owes more foreign debt than they earn every month. (The amount is higher when considering local debt.)
  • When the debt is converted to $1 notes, it can be wrapped around the world 284 times (293 times with $79 billion).

He is the Chief Content Officer at ProPakistani. Reach out at aadil.s[at]

    • I think you are commenting without reading the article and comment from Ssyar. This article is full of errors and information is wrong. Google it to know debt by each government from 1999 till date..

      2nd keep decency or abstain from commenting, it shows your origin.

      • Whether it shows my origin or not but people on this from at least got to know ur origin. And i also advice you that have you been this much obedient n well wisher of your parents rather than Nawaz you’d be at some better place in this life and hereafter. And you can not restrain main from commenting here on anywhere else, so stop being Gullu Butt of this forum.

    • Question yeh hai k kiya yeh sara paisa is ghareeb mehkoom quom ki falah o behbood pe kharch huwa hai? Ya hukumrano k mahlat aur un k bachon ki ayashyoon pe kharch huwa hai? Wapsi ki baat bad ki hai.

  • Sad, but if look at the USA that has a total budget of 3000 billion dollars almost that has the GDP of 17 trillion dollars and the total budget of Pakistan is 34 billion dollars, and the GDP is the 984 billion dollars. Do you know the USA has 13620 billion dollars debt (13.62 trillion dollars) whereas Pakistan’s dept has been explained above?.

    • there is hell of difference between having debt for looting and having debt for nation development

    • There’s no difference b/w America and Pakistan?
      Ankhain band krli hain maine ab koi billi nahi hai :(

  • mein kuch bolun ga is article pr to log mujh ko patwari kahein gey.., pr kuch lines samjh say bahir hein.,.,

    jis mulk k total $ reserves he $25 bn hon wo as in article “”For the same
    duration, the PML-N government has borrowed $30 billion (PKR 3.1
    trillion) from local banking institutions.”” kesay ley sakti hey !!

    as in the article “”Pakistan’s foreign debt and liabilities in July 2013 stood at USD 61.9 billion”” which is now USD 75 billion so then actual raise from mid 2013 from today is 15 billion ?
    then what is that 30bn which i mentioned above !?

    • You raised good questions. Let me clarify.
      “For the same duration, the PML-N government has borrowed $30 billion (PKR 3.1
      trillion) from local banking institutions.”
      Notice the word local banking institutions.
      The post is about foreign debt not about local debt. Local debt is separate.
      And that $30 billion is only mentioned in dollars, it was received in rupees since it was borrowed from local banks.

  • Also, despite being online for some years now, the quality of writing has not improved and the articles hardly ever seem to be proofread.

  • Very sad scenario from country point of view. They have build enough abroad for their generations to enjoy. While this poor nation will have to pay through their nose in form of higher taxes, higher gas/electric bills, etc, etc.

  • Yes if you assume Loans are all bad and nothing good comes off them this is devastating news, My opinion, stick to tech, economics isn’t one of your strong suites.

    Did the author try to compare Debt-GDP ratio with other developing countries? Cause the debt figures alone are useless.

    • Yes Pakistan’s Debt-GDP ratio has crossed the 60% limit since ages, violating the constitution of Pakistan.

      • LOllll it’s not the constitution of pakistan. It’s a regulation of the State Bank of Pakistan, which can be revised. These limits get revised all the time, every country does that when it needs money. Heck, Obama also raised the debt ceiling by $ 3 Trillion in 2015 with an executive order

  • 75 billion dollars debt does not matter much, but what is disturbing is that it is not being used for productive purpose. The human infrastructural base is very poor with only 30% population literate. This means that 70 % eat while 30% produce. We must spend all loans on productive activities rather than unproductive ones. Also, we need to have more friends.

  • Sir i am looking for Year wise External Debts on Pakistan From 1947 to date in line or bar graph can you help me ???

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