Shehbaz for making Pak-specific climate action plans

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Says it will be big mistake if Afghanistan is ignored this time around; Floods in Pakistan are most definitely climate change-induced

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called upon the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states to come up with Pakistan-specific programmes on climate change as the country faced the devastating impact of climate change.

“This climatic injustice has befallen us despite the fact that our carbon emission is less than one per cent,” the prime minister said in his address at the SCO moot.

PM Shehbaz along with leaders of the eight-member SCO attended the close-format Council of Heads of States at the Congress Centre, where he was welcomed by President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, attended the session.

Shehbaz Sharif called for action against climate change that has caused cataclysmic floods in Pakistan as he said that “it’s time to act, act now”.

The prime minister’s call to the SCO members came in the wake of the flash floods in Pakistan that wreaked havoc with the livelihood of millions and infrastructure across the country.

“The devastating floods in Pakistan are most definitely climate change-induced. It is the result of climate change, cloud outbursts, and unprecedented rains, combined with hill torrents coming down. All this put together makes Pakistan look like a sea of water,” the premier said.

Noting that he has “never seen this kind of devastation” before, the premier called on the organisation to “build a wall” against the menace of climate change.

Shehbaz mentioned that Pakistan was braving extraordinary floods, which have killed 1,500 people including 400 children while millions of houses have been damaged partially or completely.

“I earnestly appeal to all of you that let the SCO stand up and take steps against this devastation through sustainable programmes,” he said.

The premier said the country never faced such a level of climate-induced catastrophe in its history and stressed the dire need for assistance by the international community to help Pakistan overcome the problems in the wake of floods, including relief, rehabilitation and control of water-borne diseases.

“In view of the massive disaster, I would be very honest to urge this forum to extend assistance to Pakistan and chalk out plans regarding climate change for our future generations,” he said.

He also reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm and unwavering commitment to achieving the goals of the SCO.

Shehbaz expressed Pakistan’s commitment to join the SCO states in the implementation of robust connectivity plans among neighbouring regional countries. “It will be a win-win outcome for all the member states. This is the time to act, and act now,” he stressed.

The prime minister said Pakistan was firm in collective dedication to fight the menace of extremism, separatism and terrorism.

In the fight against terrorism, he said, thousands of Pakistani civilians and armed forces laid down their lives for the security of their homeland.

As for neighbouring Afghanistan, he said, Pakistan valued peace, progress and shared development of the country important for the region.

“We have to work together to support all good initiatives in Afghanistan for the good of the people of Afghanistan in areas, particularly education, health and human rights,” he said.

He said it would be a “big mistake if we ignored Afghanistan.” and emphasised that strengthening Afghanistan is vital in view of the stability of the region besides achieving the goals of the SCO.

The premier further urged the SCO community to work towards unfreezing the assets of Afghanistan and ensuring respect for human rights, especially for women and minorities.

At the outset of his address, the premier deviated from the text of his speech as he talked about Afghanistan. “As you know Pakistan is a neighbouring country of Afghanistan, and peace in Afghanistan will ensure peace in Pakistan,” he said.

“In other words, what is good for Afghanistan, is good for Pakistan and vice versa.”

He went on to say that the world would have to work together to support all “good initiatives” in Afghanistan. “Therefore, it will be a big mistake if we ignore Afghanistan this time around.”

For their part, Afghan authorities would do well to build a future based on inclusiveness and respect for human rights for all citizens, especially women and minorities, including effective steps against terrorism, he said.

 

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