Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sheer incompetence will likely take Pakistan to a point of no return. Thanks to Khan’s brilliant decision to side with Turkish President Erdogan in his quest to become the undisputed ruler of the Muslim Ummah, the relations with the once traditional allies of the country, UAE and Saudi Arabia have rapidly soured with both the countries now getting increasingly closer to India. Now, in a move that has sent alarm bells ringing in cash-strapped Pakistan, UAE has demanded its $1 billion back after the money reached its maturity.
WION reports that the top officials of the Pakistan government are in panic mode after the United Arab Emirates demanded its $1billion back. The amount which is deposited with the central bank of the country, the State Bank of Pakistan, has reached its maturity and the deadline to return the amount is March 12.
Perhaps realising that there’s no chance Pakistan can payback the loan, top Pakistani officials have made multiple attempts to reach out to their counterparts in the UAE including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, however, the UAE has given the country a cold shoulder and hasn’t even cared to give any response to the country.
Characteristically, Pakistan has pleaded to the Arab country that returning such a huge amount can severely impact its economic situation.
Last year, when Saudi Arabia demanded Pakistan to pay its loan back, the latter took a loan of the same amount from China to return the loan granted by Saudi Arabia, thereby further plummeting Pakistan into the clutches of China. Amidst depleting bilateral relations, Saudi Arabia forced Pakistan to pay back $1 billion four months ahead of its repayment period, for which the latter comically took a loan of the same amount from China in order to payback the Saudi Kingdom.
In November 2020, Pakistan sought a rollover of outstanding loans worth $4 billion from its erstwhile traditional allies Saudi Arabia and UAE as the country was crippled with dwindling foreign exchange reserves.
The majority of Imran Khan’s tenure has been spent first asking for loans with a begging bowl and whining at the first opportunity available, and then lobbying for rollovers and debt relief. Back in November, Pakistan took up hectic lobbying with UAE and Saudi Arabia to rollover loans worth $2 billion which were scheduled to mature in the November-February period of the previous fiscal year.
It won’t be surprising if Pakistan reaches out to China yet again, albeit this time around, to help the country payback the UAE.