Pakistan seeks bigger global response for flood affectees

ISLAMABAD     -    Pakistan is seeking a bigger global response for the flood affectees as millions remain shelterless across the country. In the aftermath of the most devastating floods, the United Nations has proposed suspending all of its international debt repayments and restructuring loans with creditors. The UN Development Program has prepared a memorandum that it plans to share with the government, proposing a suspension of all international debt repayments and restructured loans with creditors. Pakistan is already in an economic crisis, as the International Monetary Fund released a long-stalled $1.17 billion tranche of its bailout package for the cash-strapped country earlier this month. The continuous floods have caused the country to be concerned about paying its instalments. Earlier this week, UN Secretary- General Antonio Guterres urged world leaders to take decisive steps to address climate change. Yesterday, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressed the Council on Foreign Relations – an American think tank and 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 $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 US for the flood affected people and to Pakistan, the Foreign Minister reiterated the importance Pakistan attached to its historic and longstanding ties with the US 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.

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