Cancel Pakistan’s debt

Historian and activist Ammar Ali Jan:

…greenhouse emissions in the Global North are leading to a climate breakdown, affecting countries that are not only vulnerable to climate change but also do not have the financial capacity for rehabilitation or building climate resilient infrastructure. For example, the Global North had already exceeded its share of safe emissions in 1939, almost eight decades before the current flooding we are witnessing.

…The time and spatial lag between the causes and effects of climate change is one of the primary reasons why it is easy for liberals to present such disasters as “humanitarian” issues, erasing the political roots of the tragedy.

…This erasure, from public discourse, of polluters who are primarily responsible for the suffering of millions of people and for threatening planetary catastrophe, is itself part of this process of exploiting the time and spatial lag between greenhouse emissions and their deadly consequences. The result is an attempt to depoliticize this suffering and obstructing accountability of countries and companies in the Global North — giving the false impression that we are “all in this together” as one threatened human family.

…Even before the floods, it was clear that Pakistan’s economy could no longer sustain the exorbitant taxes demanded by the IMF, particularly without touching the privileges of the elites. With floods that have caused over $10 billion in damages, it is clear that Pakistan will require unprecedented support from the world. It is perhaps also an ideal time to open debate on correcting historical wrongs, including cancellation of debt, as part of global efforts toward climate justice.

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