Flash floods: British MP demands cancellation of Pakistan's int'l debt

Pakistan should instead be given reparations for the climate crisis, says Claudia Webbe


News Desk September 02, 2022
A flood victim wades through flood water, following rains and floods during the monsoon season in Bajara village, Sehwan, Pakistan, August 31, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

A British member of parliament on Friday urged the international community that Pakistan's foreign debt should be immediately cancelled amid record-breaking inflation and devastating floods in the country.

The inflation rate in August jumped to a 47-years-high level of 27.3% due to the government’s decision to increase prices of electricity and fuel, as it burdens consumers of the petrol even more than what is required under a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported that the year-on-year inflation rate remained at 27.3% in August, the highest rate since May of 1975 when the reading had been recorded at 27.8%.

Read more: Many more children may die in Pakistan after floods, UN says

The adverse impacts of the floods and consequent disruption in food supplies will be visible in the inflation reading for the month of September, which may push the rate far higher than that of August.

"Inflation in Pakistan is at an all-time high at 27%! Pakistan’s international debt should be immediately cancelled," British MP Claudia Webbe wrote on her official Twitter handle.

She said that Pakistan should instead be given reparations for the climate crisis the country is currently facing.

Also read: Govt to provide relief to students from flood-hit regions

In another tweet, Claudia said that Pakistan is responsible for 1% of global emissions. "It’s completely wrong that it has to bear the brunt of climate change. The super-rich caused the climate crisis. The super-rich should bear the cost," she wrote.

The British MP said that the country must get international help immediately.

"Silence from Western Political leaders while Pakistan floods is a moral crime. This is the time to stand shoulder to shoulder in full solidarity with Pakistan," she said.

"We need a global climate tax so that the global rich can be made pay for the climate damage they cause in the world."

MP Claudia Webbe joined several other international personalities who have supported Pakistan, saying the country is facing a crisis that is caused by the developed world.

Britain’s Prince of Wales Charles, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and US State Department Counsellor Derek Chollet in their separate messages expressed solidarity with the government and the people of Pakistan over the human and financial devastation wrought by the floods.

Prince Charles said in his message to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif: “My wife and I are deeply saddened by the devastation caused by the recent floods in Pakistan. Our hearts go out to all the victims and their loved ones and to the millions of people who have lost property and their livelihoods.”

“Your country is very special to us, with deep and enduring bonds to the United Kingdom. We would like to pay a particular tribute to the government of Pakistan, the military and emergency services, the countless volunteers and aid agencies who are working tirelessly to save lives and support those in need.”

The heir to the British throne said that the times like these “remind us of the fragility of our planet and the urgent need for humanity to live in harmony with Nature. Our prayers are with all our friends in Pakistan.”

Record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in northern mountains have triggered floods that have killed at least 1,191 people, including 399 children across the country.

The military said on Thursday it had evacuated some 50,000 people, including 1,000 by air, since rescue efforts began.

The United Nations has appealed for $160 million to help with what it has called an "unprecedented climate catastrophe". Britain on Thursday pledged $17 million in aid.

The UK's foreign minister Liz Truss said that the country's £15 million ($17.35 million) donation would be used to provide water, sanitation, shelter and to protect women and girls.

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