By: Madelynne Wager and Mary Donahue
The Pakistan National Assembly reached a historic agreement regarding the need to audit Pakistan’s public debt. Both the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and the opposition party, Pakistan Muslim League (N), supported the decision to examine the purpose of the country's foreign and domestic loans acquired since 1985 and how they were used. The committee will allow Pakistan to reach decisive conclusions regarding its debt after decades of political rivals accusing each other for Pakistan’s growing debt burden.
The decision came as a pleasant surprise to the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt in Pakistan (CADTM-Pakistan), a Jubilee USA partner organization, who called for the cancellation of Pakistan’s foreign debt and the formation of a debt audit commission in 2010. Jubilee USA led a strong effort in the US for a moratorium on Pakistan’s debt during this time. Since making their suggestions, CADTM-Pakistan has been working closely with the influential opposition member, Ahson Iqbal, who ultimately made the motion to form the new committee examining Pakistani debts.
Jubilee USA and our partners hope that this is the beginning steps towards a formal debt audit commission that would examine all Pakistani debt. Debt audits expose the origins and use of past loans and provide evidence of odious and unjust debt- debt that should be forgiven. The majority of Pakistan’s debt was taken under corrupt regimes and military dictatorships.