Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Pakistan requests assistance with floods after 'cameras have vanished.'

Pakistan pleads for help with floods after ‘cameras have gone’

 In advance of a United Nations conference next month to mobilize funding, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari urged the world to continue supporting the South Asian nation's recovery from devastating floods.

With reserves sufficient to cover one month's worth of imports, a shortage of dollars, and a delay in its loan program with the International Monetary Fund, Pakistan is experiencing an economic crisis. Long-term dollar bonds continue to trade at distressed levels despite the payment of a $1 billion bond this month, indicating that investors are still concerned about the nation's ability to service its debt.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television in Washington, D.C., Zardari, 34, stated, "We find ourselves in this extremely difficult position where we’re trying to manage our macroeconomic indicators with the IMF and provide the imminent relief for the people that is still necessary now in Pakistan, and plan forward for reconstruction and rehabilitation."

"Unfortunately, the cameras and attention have vanished, but there are still floodwaters in many parts of my country," the spokesperson stated.

Over 1,700 people were killed in Pakistan's summer floods, which inundated a third of the country and halved the country's growth. The floods have cost the country's economy approximately $32 billion in damages and losses.

After the devastating floods in Pakistan, the United Nations stated that the global community had not provided sufficient funds, which may result in the suspension of its food support program next month. According to Julien Harneis, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Pakistan, only about 30% of the $816 million in funds requested were received through the joint appeal by Pakistan and the United Nations. At a conference on January 9 in Geneva, Switzerland, they will ask for more money.

Due to prolonged discussions with the international organization, Pakistan's latest IMF loan tranche has been delayed. The IMF has asked for specifics on how much the country will spend this year on rehabilitation following the devastating floods. Esther Perez Ruiz, the IMF's resident representative in Pakistan, stated in a statement this month that talks to revise the macroeconomic outlook following the floods had been productive.

"We want to see the fundamental reform that is required for the overall health of our economy," Zardari stated. "The entire unity government agrees that it is important for us to deal with international financial institutions." However, our top priority at this time must be assisting these individuals in extreme distress in the short, medium, and long term.

"Eight-Month Tantrum" Pakistan is also experiencing renewed political uncertainty. Opposition member Imran Khan plans to dissolve two of the four provincial assemblies later this week in an effort to force the government to call for new elections. After removing Khan through a no-confidence vote in the federal parliament in April, the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif came to power and filed a no-confidence motion in the Punjab provincial assembly in retaliation.

Zardari, chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party and the son of Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007 and became the first female prime minister in a Muslim country, referred to Khan as "Machiavellian" and criticized him for not cooperating with the coalition government to assist in providing funding relief.

Zardari stated, "It should have been not just my priority, but everyone's priority to step up, to put aside partisan politics and unite to meet this challenge." Sadly, Mr. Kahn has been screaming for the eighth month that he has not been prime minister.

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