PM urges rich states to write off debts of poor countries
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Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned that the coronavirus will devastate the economies of developing nations, urging the richer economies to prepare to write off the debts of the world's poorer countries.
In an interview with AP (The Associated Press), Imran said, "The world community has to think of some sort of a debt write-off for countries like us, which are very vulnerable, at least that will help us in coping with (the coronavirus).”
“It's not just Pakistan. I would imagine the same in India, in the Subcontinent, in African countries,” he said
He also mentioned the lack of capabilities to tackle the epidemic. “If it spreads, we will all have problems with our health facilities. We just don't have that capability. We just don't have the resources.”
Imran expressed the fear that in case of a serious outbreak in Pakistan, his government's efforts to lift the ailing economy out of near-collapse would begin an unstoppable slide backwards.
The prime minister also called for lifting sanctions against Iran, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East.
He said it was time to end US sanctions on Iran, where one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world has unfolded.
Imran said Iran is a “classic example” of a place where the humanitarian imperative to contain the outbreak outweighs political rivalries or economic dogmas.
The premier criticised the recent comments by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which appeared to reference accusations that Pakistan used militants to further its own goals in years past.
He described Ghani's comments as “disappointing” and said since taking office, he's worked hard with the US to help cobble together a peace deal in Afghanistan.
"If anything, it should have been an appreciation of the way Pakistan has gone about furthering the peace process,” Imran said.
"Pakistan is now a partner in peace for the US, which I always thought Pakistan should have been. Pakistan should never have been used as a sort of hired gun, which is the role which Pakistan was playing,” he explained.
The prime minister said he had always opposed Pakistan’s participation in the “war on terror," calling it a waste of Pakistani lives and money.
About India, he raised concern over the recent violence, saying the Indian prime minister's Hindu nationalist-led government threatens to disenfranchise hundreds of millions of people through a controversial new citizenship law.
“The worst nightmare of the world has happened — an extremist, racial party that believes in racial superiority has taken over a country of more than one billion people and has nuclear weapons,” he said.
“That's when I went to the United Nations" to warn of the danger posed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government, he said.