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Pakistan PM questions as to why his country is paying the price of climate change

Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan’s carbon footprint contribution is next to zero, yet the country is amongst the 10 climate-hit countries in the world

New York: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Friday posed a pertinent question before the global leaders at the UN General Assembly as to why Pakistan is paying the price of climate change since the country’s carbon-footprint contribution is almost zero.

Addressing the UNGA-77 session in New York, Pakistan’s premier said that climate change has pushed one-third of his country under waters in the wake of a superstorm that no one had witnessed in living memory. More than 11 million people would further be pushed below the poverty line, he said.

“No words can describe the shock we are living through. I have come here to explain, the scale and magnitude of this climate catastrophe that has pushed one-third of my country underwater in a super storm that no one has seen in living memory,” he said.

More than 33 million people including women and children are now at high risk of health hazards. Around 650,000 women are giving birth in makeshift tents.1500 people lost their lives in the flash flood. Millions of climate migrants are still looking for dry land to live.

13000, km road network, and 370 bridges, millions of homes and 4 million acres of land have been swept away by floods, while the damages of this climate catastrophe are immensurable. Pakistan had never seen such a huge devastating impact of global warming, ever before.

“I have visited personally every corner of my country. People of Pakistan ask as to why this flood devastation has racked havoc. It’s time to ask as to what can be done, and what must be done.”

Undeniable truth is the calamity has not been triggered by anything we have done. Our glaciers are melting at fast pace, and this global warming is making Pakistan a hottest place and one of the world’s 10 vulnerable countries on the planet.

Real worry is next days when the cameras would leave and the story would shift away from this hot issue like Ukraine and we would be left to mercy of monster monsoon floods.

Many of lives we have saved. Permanent food insecurity, 11 million people will be pushed further below the poverty line.

We have mobilized all available resources. Budget priorities have now been shifted to flood hit citizens, cash transfers are being made to the most effected 4 million women.

Rs 70 billion are being spent on the Benazir Income Support Program. But the scale of disaster is immeasurable .

He questioned as to why are my people are paying the price of global warming, though no fault of us.  We have no contribution towards the carbon footprint but our economy is suffering the crippling impacts of climate change.

Hope is the best enemy of darkness, Pakistanis are resilient people. He said rapid economic growth is the top most priority of Pakistani government. We need a stable external environment; sustainable peace could only be achieved through the just solution of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in light of the UN resolutions.  He said the long standing issue of Kashmir needs to be resolved in accordance with the will of Kashmiri people.

He said New Delhi has ramped up troops in IOK. Through extra judicial killing, and deliberate targeting of Kashmiri youth, India is seeking to turn the Muslim dominated IOK into Hindu dominated territory as fake domiciles have been issued to some two million people, fraudulently.

India must take credible steps to bring peace and build strong ties with Pakistan. He said that the both nuclear armed countries have so far fought three wars and the consequence of which is the grinding poverty. War is no option. The mutual problems and issues can be resolved through peaceful negotiations. Shehbaz also asked the India to come up and have close ties with Pakistan and work together for the promotions of education and healthcare in both countries.

Talking about the neighboring Afghanistan, Shebaz Sharif said that 30 million Afghans are left without functional economy. Pakistan is very concerned for the restoration of peace and progress in Afghan soil. He asked to global community to support Afghanistan in this crucial time.

He also spoke about the Afghan women’s and girls’ right to education and work, while urging the world to avoid isolating the Afghan Interim Government, as it could “aggravate the suffering of the Afghan people, who are already destitute”.

“Constructive engagement and economic support are more likely to secure a positive response,” he said.

The premier said that a peaceful, prosperous, and connected Afghanistan is in everyone’s “collective interests.

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