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Pakistani PM Imran Khan urges western governments to waive debt repayments

Pakistan has appealed to international stakeholders for urgent debt relief for developing countries so they can deal more effectively with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, the government said on Sunday.

The country has recorded 5,183 infections, with 88 deaths, and its already-struggling economy has been hit hard by nationwide preventive lockdowns.

They have brought economic activity to a halt and caused widespread unemployment.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a video message released by the foreign office, said he was worried people in the developing world would die due to the lockdowns.

The country has recorded 5,183 infections, with 88 deaths, and its already-struggling economy has been hit hard by nationwide preventive lockdowns. Pictured: Women practise social distancing as they wait to get money in Lahore

The country has recorded 5,183 infections, with 88 deaths, and its already-struggling economy has been hit hard by nationwide preventive lockdowns. Pictured: Women practise social distancing as they wait to get money in Lahore

The country has recorded 5,183 infections, with 88 deaths, and its already-struggling economy has been hit hard by nationwide preventive lockdowns. Pictured: Women practise social distancing as they wait to get money in Lahore 

The lockdowns have brought economic activity to a halt and caused widespread unemployment. Pictured: Christians hold candles as they pray during an Easter service in Islamabad

The lockdowns have brought economic activity to a halt and caused widespread unemployment. Pictured: Christians hold candles as they pray during an Easter service in Islamabad

The lockdowns have brought economic activity to a halt and caused widespread unemployment. Pictured: Christians hold candles as they pray during an Easter service in Islamabad

Khan said: ‘Pakistan with a population of 220million, so far the best stimulus package we can afford is $8billion.’

He added highly indebted countries lack fiscal space to spend on health and social support.

Pakistan, which is over $100billion in debt to foreign lenders and spends the largest chunk of its budget on debt servicing, last week began a $900million cash disbursement programme to 12million poor families unemployed due to lockdowns.

Khan added highly indebted countries lack fiscal space to spend on health and social support. Pictured: Christians over Easter weekend in Islamabad

Khan added highly indebted countries lack fiscal space to spend on health and social support. Pictured: Christians over Easter weekend in Islamabad

Khan added highly indebted countries lack fiscal space to spend on health and social support. Pictured: Christians over Easter weekend in Islamabad

Pakistan last week began a $900million cash disbursement programme to 12million poor families unemployed due to lockdowns. Pictured: Christians in Islamabad

Pakistan last week began a $900million cash disbursement programme to 12million poor families unemployed due to lockdowns. Pictured: Christians in Islamabad

Pakistan last week began a $900million cash disbursement programme to 12million poor families unemployed due to lockdowns. Pictured: Christians in Islamabad

Khan said he appealed to world leaders, the heads of financial institutions and the secretary-general of the United Nations to announce a debt relief initiative for developing countries.

Pakistan will receive $1.4billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of organisation’s Rapid Financing Instrument to help finance the country’s response to the virus.

It is also currently in the first year of a three-year $6billion IMF programme to help its ailing economy.

Khan said he appealed to world leaders, the heads of financial institutions and the secretary-general of the United Nations to announce a debt relief initiative for developing countries. Pictured: Christians in the capital Islamabad

Khan said he appealed to world leaders, the heads of financial institutions and the secretary-general of the United Nations to announce a debt relief initiative for developing countries. Pictured: Christians in the capital Islamabad

Khan said he appealed to world leaders, the heads of financial institutions and the secretary-general of the United Nations to announce a debt relief initiative for developing countries. Pictured: Christians in the capital Islamabad

Pakistan will receive $1.4billion from the IMF as part of its Rapid Financing Instrument to help finance the country's response to the virus. Pictured: Police stand guard at the Gulistan-e-Johar area of Karachi after it was sealed due to multiple cases of coronavirus

Pakistan will receive $1.4billion from the IMF as part of its Rapid Financing Instrument to help finance the country's response to the virus. Pictured: Police stand guard at the Gulistan-e-Johar area of Karachi after it was sealed due to multiple cases of coronavirus

Pakistan will receive $1.4billion from the IMF as part of its Rapid Financing Instrument to help finance the country’s response to the virus. Pictured: Police stand guard at the Gulistan-e-Johar area of Karachi after it was sealed due to multiple cases of coronavirus

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