In connection with Global Week of Action Against Debts, CADTM-Pakistan organized a protest demo and rally at Shimla Pahari, Lahore press club on Friday, 17th Oct. over 50 social, political and civil society activists, laborers and women participated in the rally. The marcher took a full round of the press club. They were holding banners and placards inscribed with slogans against policies of international financial institutions. They were raising full-throat slogans against IMF and World Bank.
CADTM-Pakistan focal person Abdul Khaliq and LPP spokesperson Farooq Tariq addressing the marchers said the government of Pakistan should refuse repayment of debts to IFIs and use this amount on social sector. They also demanded of the institution of independent audit commission for inquiry into debts of Pakistan.
They said the debt crisis is structural, where as it had been initially presented as a crisis of insolvency. Of course the indigenous factors, such as the decisions taken by national leaders, corruption etc. have played an important role in the development of this crisis. But it is above all exogenous factors, such as terms of trade, the trans-national companies, and increase of interest rates, among others, which are responsible for triggering it.
They told the rally participants that the official external debt has never gone down since 1999 when the military regime of General Musharraf took over, although after 9/11, Pakistan received a record aid. The external debt has gone up to $ 45 billion in June 2008 from $ 33 billion in 1999. In fact, Pakistan is the fourth largest borrower of the World Bank and fifth-largest recipient of US aid to foreign nations but even then the country has not been able to reduce external debt.
Its borrowing record is littered with corruption and wasteful spending. Despite the fact that Pakistan is spending an estimated amount of $ 4 billion on debt-servicing every year, the volume of payable debt is going up and up., which is a matter of grave concern for conscious citizens of Pakistan
They demanded of the government to refuse payment of loans to multilateral donors and IFIs and use this amount on the improvement of social sector. They also called for debt audit and inquiry into written off loans of influential people of Pakistan.
The rally was terminated in front of Press club gate after one-hour activity. mainstream electronic and print media duly covered the event.