Shehbaz Sharif tells UNGA Pakistanis living through ‘a monsoon on steroids’ n Urges world leaders to come together and act now n Says he is ready to speak to Indian counterpart to find peaceful solution to Kashmir dispute n India, Israel must allow Kashmiris, Palestinians their rights.
ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif while addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday said that Pakistan will work with all those committed to the UN Charter’s principles. “Pakistan is a partner for peace. We will work with all those committed to the UN Charter’s principles – to restore the vision which created the United Nations and to equip this Organisation with the capacity to preserve global peace and promote universal prosperity,” the premier said. “Paki- stan is deeply concerned by the numerous conflicts across the Middle East – including in Syria and Yemen. We support all possible efforts to promote their peaceful resolution.” The prime minister also explained the scale and magnitude of climate catastrophe that has pushed one-third of Pakistan underwater. “We are living through a monsoon on steroids. Whatever happened to Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan. We emit less than 1% of the carbon emissions in the world and expect nothing less than justice from the comity of nations,” says PM Shehbaz Sharif. “Pakistanis are known to be extremely resilient people. The leaders of the world must come together and act now. “There will be no world left to fight over when nature strikes back.” Also, the PM said that Pakistan paid an extremely high price in our war against terrorism in the last two-decades. “Eighty thousand people have died and billions lost to our exchequer.” He also said that India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5th August 2019, to change the internationally recognised “disputed” status of Jammu and Kashmir and to alter the demographic structure of the occupied territory further undermined the prospects of peace and inflamed regional tensions. “India’s dealing of Muslim minorities is one of the worst manifestation of #Islamophobia in the world including hijab bans and mob lynching. We call upon the world to help tackle Islamophobia and promote peaceful coexistence.” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said, “We in Pakistan remain consistent for peace in South Asia. We are neighbours. We need to learn with each other. We have fought wars. It is now up to us to resolve our problems and issues as peaceful neighbours.” “India’s ruthless campaign of aggression against [IIO] Jammu & Kashmir with over 900,000 security personnel makes it the most militarised zones in the world.” “I am ready to sit across the table and speak to my Indian counterpart to find a peaceful solution to Kashmir and live as peaceful neighbours,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif adding, “Israel must allow the Palestinians their right to peacefully coexist with the implementation of a two-state solution. India must provide the right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir as per the UN charter.” While speaking about Afghanistan, the PM said, “We must avoid another civil war in Afghanistan, or a rise in terrorism. I call upon the world community to release funds to revive the economy of Afghanistan. The world community must address their dire humanitarian situation.” While highlighting the situation of floods in Pakistan PM said “As I stand here today to tell the story of my country, Pakistan, my heart and mind have not been able to leave home. No words can describe the shock we are living through or how the face of the country lies transformed.” He told UNGA that for 40 days and 40 nights a biblical flood poured down on us, smashing centuries of weather records, challenging everything we knew about disaster, and how to manage it. He said even today, huge swathes of the country are still under-water, submerged in an ocean of human suffering. In this ground zero of climate change, 33 million people, including women and children are now at high risk from health hazards, with 650,000 women giving birth in makeshift tarpaulins. PM Shehbaz Sharif said more than 1500 people have perished in the great flood, including over 400 children. Far more are in peril from disease and malnutrition. “As we speak, millions of climate migrants are still looking for dry land to pitch their tents on, with heart-breaking losses to their families, their futures and their livelihoods”, he said. While giving estimates of infrastructure damage pm said early estimates suggest that more than 13000 kms of metalled roads have been damaged, over 370 bridges have been swept away, a million homes have been destroyed and another million damaged. PM told UNGA that more than a million farm animals have been killed. Four Million acres of crops have been washed away, stripping the people of their breadbasket, and damage of an unimaginable scale. PM linked this devastation in Pakistan to climate change n said Pakistan has never seen a more stark and devastating example of the impact of Global Warming. Life in Pakistan has changed forever. He said through this calamity, I has visited, and spent time in every corner of his devastated country. “ People in Pakistan ask why, why has this happened to them?”. “When global warming rips apart whole families and an entire country at this ferocious speed, it is time to ask why, and time to ask not what can be done but what MUST be done”, pm said. He said the undeniable, and inconvenient truth is that this calamity has not been triggered by anything we have done. “Our glaciers are melting fast, our forests are burning, and our heat waves have crossed 53 degree C, making us the hottest place on the planet, and now”, he said. To further supplement his argument he said as the SG so candidly says, hotspots like Pakistan fall in the ten most climate- vulnerable list of countries, but emit less than one percent of the greenhouse gasses that are burning our planet. “It is therefore, entirely reasonable to expect some approximation of justice for this loss and damage, not to mention building back better with resilience. Clearly, the time for talk about actions has passed”, he said. PM Shehbaz Sharif thanked UN Secretary-General for visiting Pakistan and said “At this point I am profoundly grateful that the UN SG Antonio Guterres visited Pakistan where he spent time with climate refugees, with mothers and children in the tents, and repeatedly assured us of his support and assistance”. “At this point, I want to thank each and every one of the countries that have sent help, and their representatives to Pakistan to stand in solidarity with us in our most trying hour. On behalf of my nation, I once again express my sincerest appreciation to all of them”, he said. He said so his real worry, is about the next stage of this challenge. When the cameras leave, and the story just shifts away to conflicts like the Ukraine, my question is, will we be left alone, to cope with a crisis we did not create? “Where and how do we begin, to rehabilitate and reconstruct, after the rescue and relief effort which is still going on for 12 long weeks? “ Some 11 million people will be pushed further below the poverty line, while others will drift to cramped urban shelters, leaving little room for climate-smart rebuilding”, he feared. He told UNGA that Pakistan for now, have mobilised all available resources towards the national relief effort, and repurposed all budget priorities including development funds, to the rescue and first-order needs of millions. “The Security Council must be expanded by adding 11 new non-permanent members to make it more representative, democratic, transparent, effective and accountable”, he suggested. Adding new permanent members will paralyze the Council’s decision-making, enlarge its representational deficit, and create new centres of privilege in violation of the principle of sovereign equality of Member States. ‘ We must restore peace in Europe, avoid a war in Asia and resolve festering conflicts across the world. We must revive the vision which created the United Nations, a vision which is often blurred by national interests and hegemonic designs”, he said