ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Interfaith Harmony and Middle East Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi on Sunday urged the world to extend all-out support to Pakistan to deal with national emergency.

In an exclusive talk with APP, Ashrafi who is also the chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council said the torrential rains and flash floods in Pakistan had badly affected more than 33 million people over the last few weeks. He said as per National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)’s report, the monsoon rain and flooding had killed nearly 1,000 people and 793,995 livestock besides injuring 1,343 people and destroying 3,100 km roads, 145 bridges, and 581,207 houses so far.

He said the government had earmarked Rs37 billion to aid flood-affected people under the Benazir Income Support Programme among other assistance. Ashrafi said the humanitarian situation was expected to worsen as communities and infrastructure were increasingly unable to cope with ongoing heavy rainfall. He said an assessment of destruction was being prepared but Pakistan was in dire need of the international help as dealing with this historic disaster was beyond the capacity of federal or provincial governments. He said Pakistan Army was continuously playing its part with all available resources and even rendered many precious lives during flood relief mission in Balochistan.

He urged the religious and political leaderships to avoid their differences at this hour of trials and tribulations and take part in welfare activities for the well-being of flood affected people across the country. Ashrafi also proposed the government to hold an All Parties Conference on immediate basis in a bid to cope with this national catastrophe. Besides non-governmental organizations, he also asked Ulema and Mashaykh to come forward and help the flood-hit people across the country with national and religious spirit.

Urges religious and political leadership to avoid differences at this hour of trial and take part in welfare activities for well-being of flood affected people

He thanked the United Nations for allocating $3 million from the emergency fund for the flood response in Pakistan which would be used for health, nutrition, food security, and water and sanitation services in flood-affected areas, focusing on the most vulnerable. He also lauded United Kingdom for announcing the urgent support of £1.5 million for flood relief efforts in Pakistan.

Ashrafi said Muslim countries had also stepped up efforts for the provision of humanitarian aid to Pakistan. He said the Saudi aid agency, King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) for handing over the third consignment of 100 emergency relief trucks carrying 950 tons loaded with essential food items to the NDMA to meet the needs of flood-hit people. He said United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had ordered urgent relief aid package which includes 300,000 tonnes of food supplies, medical supplies and shelter materials for flood-hit people of Pakistan. He said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had dispatched two planes carrying tents and medicines as relief goods from Turkiye which would land in Karachi on Monday.

He said Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi had assured all possible rescue and relief aid for the flood affected people of Pakistan.

Ashrafi urged the friendly countries and international institutions to further provide their helping hands to get out the marooned people of Pakistan from this natural calamity.