Prime Minister Imran Khan called on the international community to write off the debts of vulnerable countries, such as Pakistan, as he believes that the coronavirus may shatter the economies of developing countries.
PM Imran passed the remarks in an interview with the Associated Press wire service in Islamabad .
“My worry is poverty and hunger. 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],” PM Imran told AP.
The premier feared that if Pakistan sees a serious outbreak then his government’s efforts to revive the economy may go down the drain. He added that he feared that such consequences would be faced by every developing nation.
“It’s not just Pakistan. I would imagine the same in India, in the subcontinent, in African countries. 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,” PM Imran was quoted by AP.
The prime minister’s fears regarding the coronavirus came after the number of confirmed cases in the country jumped to 183 on Monday. The federal government has been struggling to respond to the crisis and has been criticised by the provinces for a lack of support to them.
The prime minister during the interview also called on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s demand for the Taliban to cut their ties with Islamabad as disappointing.
PM Imran added that Pakistan should rather be appreciated for the role it played in helping the US in securing a peace deal which would pave the way to end America’s longest war.
“Pakistan is now a partner in peace for 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,” PM Imran told the wire service.
Last month, the Afghan Taliban and the US government signed a landmark peace agreement to end the 18-year-old Afghan war.
The signing of the agreement has now paved the way for political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
The prime minister in his interview also raised the issue of rising extremism in India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“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 was quoted.
The premier also said that he visited the UN to warn the world of the danger that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party imposed on the world.