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PM Shehbaz Sharif fears ‘all hell to break loose’ sans debt relief

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  • PM Shehbaz makes urgent appeal for debt relief for flood-ravaged Pakistan.
  • Reminds rich nations Pakistan paying price for their greed.
  • Asks how Pakistan can stand on its own feet unless given “substantial relief.”

With debt obligations drawing to a close, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has made an urgent appeal for relief in the repayment of debts from rich nations, reminding them that Pakistan is bearing the brunt of environmental damage caused by them to cater to their greed.

In a conversation with Bloomberg TV, PM Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan recently signed a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under “very tough” conditions, including taxes on petroleum and electricity.

Seeking support for Pakistan, hit by catastrophic floods this monsoon while already reeling from a stressed economy, PM Shehbaz Sharif said:

“Unless we get substantial relief how can the world expect from us to stand on our own feet? It is simply impossible,” he said.”The world has to stand by us.”

Responding to a question about debt obligations, the premier said they have spoken to European leaders and other leaders “to help us, in the Paris Club, get a moratorium”.

As per PM Shehbaz Sharif, there is a “yawning gap” between what Pakistan is asking for and what is available, warning that the nation is facing the imminent threat of epidemics and other dangers.

“God forbid this happens, all hell will [break loose],” he said.

The Pakistani leader shared that he’d spoken to the World Bank about immediate debt relief and would begin talks with China after the Paris Club.

Pakistan owes $30 billion to China, or about a third of its total external debt.

He said the floods were the result of an unprecedented cloudburst induced by climate change due to the environmental damage caused by fossil fuels.

“Therefore it’s none of our doing, our making. Our carbon emission is less than 1% and to be very exact it’s 0.08%, which is the lowest in the world. But we are rated as one of the most vulnerable countries.”

“Essentially I should have been in my country with my people in flood-affected areas with children, boys, girls and those who have been badly affected, to console them and provide them with some relief. But I’m here to tell the world what happened with us and with our people.”

“Has the word done enough and what can be done?” he was asked.

To this, he said that the US, Turkish and French presidents have touched upon this subject and commended their concern.

“What they have done is commendable, but it is far from meeting our needs. We cannot do it alone. We cannot, you know, cough up resources from our own pocket, which are already insufficient to meet our pressing needs. We need additional funds.”

“So I think, unless the world comes out with billions of dollars in support for relief, for building of resilient infrastructure, and [for] infrastructure adaptation in agriculture and housing, things will not come back to normal,” he said.

About his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the prime minister said he spoke to the Russian president about the availability of gas and oil and Putin has promised him that he will most definitely look into this. 

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On April 16, President Zardari will speak to the joint session of parliament.

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As to the press statement from the President’s House, the joint session of parliament is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, April 16, at 1600 hours.

In accordance with Article 56(3) of the Constitution, which states that the President “shall address both Houses assembled together and inform the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) of the causes of its summons” at the beginning of the first session following each general election to the National Assembly and at the beginning of the first session of each year,” he would address the joint session.

By virtue of the authority granted by Articles 54 (1) and 56 (3) of the Constitution, President Zardari called a joint session of the legislature.

It is important to note that National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq chaired the previous joint session of Parliament, which was called on March 9th in preparation for the presidential elections.

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The PPP seeks assistance from political parties in the election of the Senate chairman.

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The PPP special committee members have contacted other political parties in an attempt to get votes for Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, the party’s nominee for the Senate majority.

In order to create a plan for the chairman’s election, Senator Sherry Rehman and Naveed Qamar reached out to former PM Gillani.
According to Sherry Rehman, Yousaf Raza Gillani has a resounding majority in the Senate, and the PPP, together with its allies, will demonstrate its dominance in the chamber tomorrow (Tuesday).

It should be noted that tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., President Asif Ali Zardari will convene the Senate.

In addition to the newly elected senators taking an oath during the Senate session, the election of the chairman and deputy chairman will also take place on the same day.

On Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s recommendation, the president had previously signed a summary designating Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar as the presiding officer of the senate session.

37 candidates who were selected to fill Senate seats in the most recent election were notified by the election commission.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly’s eleven Senate seats are still up for election.

Analysts stated that the election of the Senate’s chairman and deputy chairman would cast doubt on the legitimacy of the process because there are just 11 lawmakers holding KP seats.

There is currently no election calendar for the 11 open KP Senate seats.

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Core Committee: PTI to abstain from Senate Chairman and Dy Chairman elections

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It has also been determined by the party to file a legal challenge against the election of the Senate’s chairman and deputy chairman.

According to PTI core committee sources, the election was unlawful because the home was not completed. According to insiders, “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s election was unconstitutional because senators were not elected.”

In the absence of the chairman, PTI sources claimed, “the house has been dysfunctional.” Except in administrative matters, the Senate Secretariat was unable to make decisions.

The sources stated that under pressure, “the Secretary Senate could not himself interpret the constitution.”

“Without the Senate Chairman, the upper chamber has merely functioned as a department,” the sources stated, calling for constitutional violations against individuals responsible for the dysfunction of the Senate.

Sources continued, “It is the first time the Senate has been rendered inoperative in the nation’s democratic history.”

A petition was previously submitted with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) by the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), which is supported by the Pakistan Terrorists (PTI), asking for a postponement of the Senate chairman and deputy chairman elections due to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s lack of Senate elections.

In the case where the petitioner asked the ECP to call an early election for the province’s 11 Senate seats, attorney Hamid Khan filed the plea on the SIC’s behalf.

Postponing the April 9 Senate chairman and deputy chairman election is recommended by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed SIC, which claims that the Electoral College will be incomplete without the KP Senate poll.

Recall that the opposition members’ application led to the provincial election commissioner in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa postponing the Senate elections on April 2.

Because the disagreement over the oath-taking of the opposition members elected to reserved seats in the KP Assembly has not been settled, the opposition members had moved the ECP.

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