Pakistan is seeking billions of dollars in new loans from lenders to rebuild the country after the devastating floods that displaced 33 million people and pushed its cash-strapped economy closer toward default.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif told the Financial Times that the coalition wasn’t looking to restructure its $130 billion debt obligations but requires substantial cash for “mega undertakings” such as rebuilding roads, bridges, and other infrastructure damaged or washed away in the floods.
He didn’t specify the exact amount the government was seeking but did reiterate a $30 billion estimate to compensate for damages. “We are not asking for any kind of measure [such as] a rescheduling or a moratorium. We are asking for additional funds,” he said.
Summing it up, the premier said, “There is a gap — and a very serious gap — which is widening by the day between our demands and what we have received. We are only asking for climate justice, we are not using the word reparations at all”.
The prime minister also implied that the international community’s failure to mobilize resources risks fueling instability in the country already gripped with political uncertainty and money problems.
He said, “We are obviously concerned because if there is dissatisfaction leading to deeper political instability and we are not able to achieve our basic requirements and goals, this can obviously lead to serious problems. I’m not saying it in terms of any kind of threat, but I’m saying there’s a real possibility”.
He further claimed that Pakistan had used state funds to assist displaced families and purchase provisions such as tents, medicine, food packs, and drinkable water.
Lately, Pakistan has been advocating for emergency aid on a global scale, including at the United Nations General Assembly and the recent Central Asia-Russia summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Because of a “climate change-induced crisis,” the UN Development Program suggested last month that Pakistan suspend debt repayments and seek to restructure its loans. The carnage has also motivated environmentalists to call for “climate reparations,” which would be paid by higher-emitting countries to lower-emitting countries bearing the brunt of climate change.