Pakistan is witnessing a serious humanitarian crisis once again as the worst case of catastrophe emerged due to human-made climate change. One-third of Pakistan has been submerged in water in recent rains and floods. As a result, we have lost thousands of precious lives across the country and millions of Pakistanis have become homeless in the state, living an unimaginable life without drinking water, food, medicines, and essential needs. The flood victims are fighting for their lives due to hunger and various diseases including diarrhoea, malaria, dengue, skin infections, etc. Businesses, infrastructure, logistics, and crops all have been damaged to an irrevocable level. According to various estimates, the economy incurred losses of nearly $10-12 billion but these could be conservative numbers. Certainly, the GDP growth rate will settle well below the earlier projections. Whether the public sector or the private sector, the sustainability of the development and business plans have been derailed to nowhere. Fellow Pakistanis who are unaffected by the destruction will also pay the price in terms of high inflation, food shortage, housing deficit, unemployment, illiteracy, etc later on.

In the next few years, the focus will lay on reducing the humanitarian crisis, the rehabilitation of the people, and the recovery of the destroyed assets of the state rather than linear development. The destruction of rains and floods were certainly caused by climate change and we can hold developed countries responsible for what they have done in the name of development producing massive tons of carbon emissions that ultimately affected developing countries like Pakistan. At the same time, we as a nation are equally responsible for not doing enough planning to avert these impacts of climate change. The same scenario might repeat itself with a similar intensity and magnitude down the line in the next 10 months, but unfortunately, we have no mega rescue plan, nor a preventive strategy, nor are we talking about it much at the national level. The scope of national security should be redefined within new paradigms because defence is not limited to border security and nabbing terrorists but it is about the security of the people and protecting their interests and rights, whether it is floods or the food and energy crises that could cripple the socio-economic lives of citizens.

A comprehensive charter of the economy should be agreed upon by all mainstream political parties to address the worsening situation of macroeconomic indicators including foreign exchange, foreign debts, foreign investment, Rupee, current account stability, etc. All political parties should be convinced to agree upon the charter and ensure its implementation for a longer period at least 10 to 15 years. Secondly, environmental security has to now be paramount, which should protect the citizens from the effects of torrential rains and floods. In this regard, political parties must build a consensus on dams, reservoirs, and all necessary measures and projects. Considering the urgency, civil and military administration should work on a single agenda on a war-footing basis. In parallel, the infrastructure of the country which was badly hit by the floods should be repaired and reconstructed for bridging the connections among cities through highways. The infrastructure of major cities, mainly the provincial capitals, should also be built properly along with mass transit systems through empowering local bodies and institutions.

Under the charter of economy, political parties should also suggest a long-term policy to ensure energy and food security in the country through multiple means keeping in view the demand of the country in the next 10-15 years. The prevailing shortage of energy resources and food staples has dragged the country to the brink of default. Therefore, it is necessary that we can achieve maximum self-sufficiency in these two areas. The task forces or advisory committees should be constituted in which experts, technocrats, and stakeholders from the private sectors should also be made part in addition to politicians. The healthcare authority should be set up to expand the healthcare sector through public and private sectors. Digitisation of the governance and economy should be put in place in the system for the fast-track growth of the system. Last but not least, the education emergency must be enforced in the country. The skilled-based curriculum should be designed to provide hands-on training through public and private sector institutions. Human resources should be provided with skills in in-demand fields such as IT. In the situation of the prevailing crisis, a single political party could not drag the feet of the country out of the crisis but mutually a survival situation can be created. In our previous history, we have witnessed consensus at the national level multiple times. It included the plan to become a nuclear state, the implementation of the National Action Plan, and the development and expansion of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Sustainable economic policies should be devised, and their implementations will allow for a conducive investment environment which will attract foreign investors in various sectors and set a clear direction for the socio-economic growth of the nation.