The United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA) consists of 193 members and its current session is being attended by more than 140 heads of governments around the world. Most of them were there for the first time following the outbreak of Covid-19.

Historically, flash floods and deadly rains caused massive devastation in most parts of the country. Figures of this phenomenon were highlighted at the UNGA session, prompting world leaders to raise alarm over the situation.

UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, who had earlier visited Pakistan to see the massive damages and devastation caused by the floods, set the tune for this in his inaugural address.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif quite emphatically highlighted the plight of the large number of floods victims, making an impassioned appeal for global assistance. While thanking friendly countries and international humanitarian organisations who provided relief through donating goods, he called for more assistance to offset the adverse impacts of rains and floods. He urged the world to undo climate injustice as climate change had caused the worst-ever flash floods and heaviest rains that killed more than 1600 people in Pakistan.

He also warned about the risks of an outbreak of water-borne diseases, pointing out forcefully that Pakistan was suffering from acute climate change despite the fact that it was only contributing less than 1 percent to global carbon emissions. The PM further told the UNGA forum that even now, swathes of the country are still under water, submerged in an ocean of human suffering as 33 million people including women and children are at high risk.

Quite expectantly, the PM also talked about Kashmir and Afghanistan. He mentioned that peace talks with India must be centered around resolving the Kashmir issue by granting the people the the right of self-determination. For Afghanistan, he highlighted the need for peace and stability in the region and tied it to the precarious situation in Afghanistan. He called for Afghani assets to be released so that the humanitarian crisis can be averted.

The PM must be appreciated for his concerted and determined efforts to apprise the world leaders who have provided aid for the flood crisis, and its millions of victims. They provided a total of $30 billion as of yet, and more is expected to come through eventually. In the four days that he was there, he utilised every minute of his presence by meeting a large number of world leaders on the sidelines of the UNGA, as well as the head of international financial institutions and organisations. He has been informing them of the massive devastation and human losses caused by the floods, urging them to provide relief goods and financial assistance to rehabilitate the country. Names of the world leaders and heads of international financial institutions with whom the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif interacted were not being mentioned as the list was pretty long fearing lest any one of them is missed.

In all fairness, owning to the impressive briefings given by the Prime Minister in this regard, many a world leaders topped by the US President Joe Biden and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in their addresses to the UNGA emphatically stressed on the member countries that must continue to help Pakistan as much as possible. This is the only way to let the country stand on its feet economically, so that it can overcome the gigantic problem it is facing.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s maiden visit to New York and address to the UNGA was quite successful, result-oriented and productive to say the least, please.