Hello defence lovers! Pakistan has received a commitment of $9.7 Billion [Source] as a flood relief fund from various countries and agencies around the world after it pleaded for financial assistance to rebuild its economy devasted by floods. In this article, we will analyze whether the international community is committing a massive mistake by providing so-called financial assistance for flood relief to a country that has stayed on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list for the last few years for nurturing terrorism on its soil.
Pakistan’s Worst Economic Crisis
Today Pakistan is facing its worst economic crisis of the last 50 years. Political, economic, and natural disasters have paved the way for this economic crisis. In its entire history, right from the independence from British rule and horrible partition, no prime minister has ever completed his/her entire term. Time and again the military had thrown away so-called democratically elected leaders in military coupes. Over the decades, the military dictators had focused on increasing the hostility with India instead of focusing on economic development. This is because they had to inculcate the feeling of “existential threat” from its eastern neighbor as it was the only tool that kept the Pakistani Army and its dictators relevant.
The unsustainable borrowing from China which turned into a debt trap has devasted the Pakistani economy. One-third of the entire GDP of the country is spent on the repayment of loans taken on very harsh interest rates. Moreover, the purpose of these borrowings is in vain as the CPEC project has failed miserably and has left Pakistan in a debt trap from which it cannot escape. The small $30 billion exports compared to $90 billion imports have drained the forex reserves to levels that are beyond recovery, terrorism being its major export product.
The Last Nail In The Coffin
Apart from the political and economic disasters, the recent natural disaster is the last nail in the coffin of Pakistan’s economy. It is estimated that more than 1700 people lost their lives in the floods which occurred between June to October last year. Along with that, these floods have caused more than $30 billion in damage to the Pakistani economy which was already on the brink of collapse.
Heavy Monsoon rains, poor urban planning along with changing climate is considered the key reason behind the mishap. Portions of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, PoK, Sindh, and Punjab were severely affected.
The Current Scenario
The current scenario is very bad in Pakistan. Most of the flood-stricken areas are facing acute shortages of food. The floods have pushed thousands of people into poverty. The Pakistani railways are already collapsing due to a shortage of diesel. There are nationwide power cuts to conserve electricity. All shopping centers and marketplaces have been instructed to shut down by 8 pm to conserve electricity. According to estimates, there are only enough forex reserves left to sustain three weeks of imports.
Thus sighting all these excuses, Pakistan has urged the world for financial assistance in the United Nations General Assembly. So far it has received a commitment of $9.7 Billion [Source] in financial aid. The Islamic Development Bank has pledged to donate $4.2 Billion, the world bank $2 billion, Asian Development Bank $1.5 billion, the Asian Infrastructure bank $1 billion, Saudi Arabia $1 billion, France $345 million, China $100 million, European Union $93 million, Germany $88 million, Japan $77 million and United Kingdon $10 million.
Flood Relief or Military Aid?
Along with the economic crisis, Pakistan is also threatened by massive protests in the PoK region. Problems are not over yet. The Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has also waged a war against the Pakistani regime. In such a scenario, Pakistan won’t be able to sustain any prolonged military confrontation. Due to the presence of nuclear weapons, no nation would want Pakistan to go into a complete state of anarchy and chaos. So far those who have pledged to help Pakistan in its worst economic nightmare haven’t figured out a way to prevent the money to be used as military aid or sponsoring terrorism.
Also Read, Taliban: Pakistan’s Frankenstein Monster
United Nations must ensure that the flood relief fund must be utilized for the rehabilitation of flood victims and the reconstruction of the flood-affected infrastructure. Instead of financial aid, humanitarian aid must be provided directly to the various organizations truly working to help the flood victims. However, there is no way to guarantee all these thanks to the corrupt bureaucracy and military. We can only hope that the flood relief fund does not turn into sponsorship of those infiltrating across to LoC with the objective of causing chaos in Kashmir Valley.