The World Health Organisation (WHO) has rightly called the uncontrollable global spread of coronavirus a pandemic, as the virus is not respecting the barriers inherent in the idea of nation-states. Apart from exacting a physical and mental toll on the people, the virus has slowed down the global economy. Every sector of the economy is feeling the burn. But the most vulnerable economies are those of the developing nations, as one report of the Asian Development (ADB) suggested. The Prime Minister (PM) of Pakistan Imran Khan’s call on the international community to write off the debts of vulnerable countries is a sound idea.

While he has found support from the business community at home, it is yet to be seen what other developing nations will say in this regard. By all indications and studies conducted so far, one thing is crystal clear. In essence, the devastation by the virus will necessitate bringing in of a plan more radical in nature than the Marshall plan was.

Perhaps, international financial institutions and donor countries must write off, if not all of the debt, at least, a significant chunk of the loans for developing nations. Doing so will help keep the neo-liberal economic order in place. In these extraordinary times where voices from every nook and corner of the world are asking for a joint effort to uproot the coronavirus, the first step of a collective response should be writing off debts of the developing nations. If the virus overwhelms developing countries, the disease will rage on and the pandemic will continue to wreak havoc on both lives and the economy. Given that the developing nations will deploy all their resources to fight the virus, international financial institutions and wealthy nations must deliberate on the suggestion of PM Khan and could make their own contribution in this form.