ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressed the Council on Foreign Relations Friday. He underlined that the devastating floods in Pakistan were a direct result of extreme weather patterns due to climate change that had cost Pakistan punitively both in terms of human and material losses.
Pakistan, being the 8th most vulnerable country to climate change, was facing the cataclysmic consequences of climate change despite minuscule contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. He noted that preliminary estimates pointed to losses in excess of US $ 30 billion. The Foreign Minister unequivocally emphasized that climate change was a common and ominous challenge to humanity and stressed that collective efforts at global level were required to mitigate its adverse impacts.
The Foreign Minister noted that the scale and magnitude of flood-losses in Pakistan was too big and the international community’s support was vital to complement upcoming rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. He emphasized that more than financial assistance, Pakistan needed climate justice and a Green Plan to rebuild its infrastructure and economy.
He highlighted government’s sustained and robust measures in dealing with this calamity, despite challenges.
Expressing appreciation for the solidarity and support extended by the U.S. for the flood affected people and to Pakistan, the Foreign Minister reiterated the importance Pakistan attached to its historic and longstanding ties with the U.S. and its commitment to reinforce this bilateral relationship.
The Foreign Minister underlined that Pakistan would continue to work with the international community to achieve peace, development, and stability in Afghanistan and hoped that international community will assist the Afghan people overcome severe financial hardships with a view to averting humanitarian crisis in the country. The Foreign Minister, while reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to peace, pointed out that in India, the rampant discrimination and persecution of Muslims driven by the violent extremist ideology of Hindutva was a matter of great concern. The Foreign Minister added that in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), India was reducing the Muslim majority into a minority by making demographic changes and disenfranchising them by redrawing the electoral constituencies.