Pakistan parliament to investigate country’s debt

Pakistan’s National Assembly is to form a committee to investigate the country’s debt.

President Musharraf at World Economic Forum
Under unelected military president General Musharraf, Pakistan’s debt increased $17.5 billion, Photo: World Economic Forum, Flickr

Both government and opposition have agreed a bipartisan investigation which will look into the benefits and costs of external and domestic borrowing, and debt payments, since 1985.

Following the devastating floods in 2010, Jubilee Debt Campaign joined with CADTM-Pakistan to call for a debt audit to be held in Pakistan, along with a moratorium on debt payments and for all disaster assistance to be in the form of grants not loans. Abdul Khaliq from CADTM-Pakistan said in response to the announcement: “It is good beginning and we hope things will further move towards a debt audit commission.”

The Pakistan government spent $3 billion in foreign debt payments in 2010, the last year in which figures are available. This constituted 12 per cent of government revenue. The South Asian country also has high levels of domestic debt. Debt payments are expected to be even higher in 2012 and 2013 due to repayments on IMF loans coming due. Between 2008 and 2010 Pakistan borrowed almost $8 billion from the IMF. Payments on these IMF loans have started this year, and equal $2.3 billion in 2012 and $3.8 billion in 2013.

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