ISLAMABAD          -               Former Interior Minister Rehman Malik, on Wednesday,. urged the government to invoke the Force-Majeure Law to write off debts of the international institutions.

Force-Majeure is a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstances beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, crime, epidemic or an event described by the legal term act of God, prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.

In practice, most Force-Majeure clauses do not excuse a party’s non-performance entirely, but only suspend it for a certain duration.

Force-Majeure is generally intended to include occurrences beyond the reasonable control of a party.

Senator Malik, the Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior, said he had written to the Prime Minister Imran Khan proposing him to invoke the Force-Majeure Law for the write-off of debts of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other international financial institutions. He urged that international financial institutions should be requested under Force Majeure for deferment of repayments and loans in wake of adverse effects of coronavirus on Pakistan’s economy, if a complete write-off was not possible.

In his letter, he elaborated with arguments the multiple aspects of Pakistan economy and finds Majeure Law a suitable toll to get the foreign loans written-off. 

Speaking at a news conference, Senator Malik said that he had conducted a detailed study as to how this Coronavirus Pandemic was going to affect our economy and what measures we should take to survive in the coming months.

He said that he sent a letter to Prime Minister to take extraordinary measures and actions before the coronavirus brings Pakistan’s economy to a total collapse. He said that all revenue generating sources were drying up rapidly and Pakistan would be having major adverse effects of the global economic meltdown which would be far worse than post 9/11.

Senator Malik in his letter to PM Imran Khan wrote: “I, while recapping the situation, write to suggest to you some timely and effective measures that can be taken to mitigate the worsening situation. The alarm bells are warning of a sinking global economy which have already been sounded by the world bodies including UN, WHO, IMF etc., as the supply chains world over have been disrupted. It is evident that it shall take a heavy economical toll on our country, which shall be forced on us for many years to come.”

He added that due to the pandemic, the government had been forced to announce economic package for the needy and helpless at the cost of our mutually agreed reforms process already committed to our creditors to ensure debt servicing.

He wrote;“in my view, by establishing Force-Majeure, IMF, World Bank, etc. would be lawfully obliged to grant deferment for these repayments and possibly write-off our loans”. 

He added that as such, it was mandatory to include this Force-Majeure clause in the contracts and in case the creditors decline to our genuine and legal force-majeure claim as per the prevailing law as discussed in preceding para then we should activate the Force-Majeure clause before the competent International Court through an accredited lawyer of repute and prove its plausibility to the judge and a jury. However, he said that it was essential that such a claim to be framed after thorough pre-vetting and evaluating our case . He said that we needed to draft well-prepared estimates that if the pandemic continued for a longer period, economic recovery would take much longer, hence we should seek a relief of making repayments after 10 years with the request to condone the interest rate or asking for the entire loan to be written off. He further suggested that in support of our arguments, we would need immaculate, verifiable record of the measures we had taken to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic, and the financial burdens that had been piled up due to this pandemic. He explained that our sincere effort to fulfil the commitments made in the past to IMF despite increasingly adverse economic circumstances, State Bank of Pakistan’s policy decisions reflect our good intentions by not defaulting at the cost of suffering of our common man by forcing the suggested reforms of IMF and others. He adds that the balance of loan statement should be prepared and duly certified by the state bank be enclosed with the letter and we must first try to mutually agree on the Force-Majeure situation with our creditors before opting for legal battle.

Senator Malik expressed his hope that “we have a strong case and he is confident that Pakistan can even fight it out in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for this relief on genuine grounds, even if we don’t have a Force-Majeure clause in our contract. As a last resort, we may opt to discharge the performance obligations under the Doctrine of Frustration as it purpose is to provide relief to the disadvantaged party; that we are, since the impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic has left a multitude of inescapable consequences for us leading to the breach of contract due to events which are beyond the reasonable control of Government of Pakistan,” his letter reads.

Malik strongly condemned the Indian Forces unprecedented brutalities against innocent people of Kashmir and Indian Muslims. He said that earlier PM Narednra Modi’s entry to US was banned for his involvement in terrorist activities and Muslim massacre in Gujrat and now again sane voices from US Senate were demanding a ban on Modi’s entry.

He said that he hoped that soon Modi would be banned from travelling to any country of the world for his crimes against humanity. He said that the international community must take notice of PM Narendra Modi’s crimes against oppressed Kashmiris and Indian Muslims. He said that by introducing new Domicile Law, Modi had violated international laws.

Senator Malik told the media that he had sought a report on the medical facilities, financial assistance being provided to the transgender community during the outbreak of COVID-19.

He said that it had been reported in the media and in others reports that Transgender were not being provided relief packages, financial aid and they were also being deprived of their medical facilities during COVID-19.

He said that transgender were the most vulnerable section of “our society as they are not only homeless but also have no source of livelihood.”

He added: “Transgender deserve our full attentions and support and they should be properly taken care of. He has directed that relief packages, financial assistance and ration should be provided immediately to the transgender with proper medical facilities and the testing and screening of the transgender for coronavirus should be conducted.”

The notice issued by his office stated that Chairman Committee had sought report from the Ministry of Interior, each Provincial Government and also from the Chief Commissioner, ICT on the above matter. NADRA had also been asked to provide full statistical data of transgender province wise, the notice said.