Pakistan's Declaration Of Independence

Sharif will use his mandate to reduce the foreign debt load

Pakistan's newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif comes to office with a big problem--a cash crunch. With foreign reserves down to $800 million, the country has a $787 million loan payment due by the end of March. To stay afloat, Sharif is resorting to an unusual tactic. He's asking the 3 million Pakistanis living abroad to send at least $1,000 home to banks in Pakistan. Those who remit more than $1 million get a national medal. "I need foreign exchange immediately," Sharif said in a televised address on Feb. 23. "I am depending on the people of Pakistan and the brothers, sisters, and elders living abroad." In less than a week, he had $150 million.

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