Pakistan PM Sharif says flood-hit country should not be forced to carry 'begging bowl'
"Should I be asked to cast my appeal into a begging bowl? That is double jeopardy. That's unjust, unfair," Sharif said.
Published: 06th October 2022 07:34 PM | Last Updated: 06th October 2022 07:34 PM | A+A A-
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said the flood-ravaged country should not be forced to go to rich polluting nations with a begging bowl in the aftermath of the catastrophic calamity which has affected nearly a third of the country.
According to the latest data and estimates, nearly 1,700 people have been killed and hundreds and thousands of persons injured in the floods and their aftermath caused by heavy monsoon rains and melting glaciers.
Millions have been displaced and the United Nations has sounded the alarm on the rise of water-borne diseases in the country, particularly among the flood-hit population.
The government estimates the cost of the damage at USD 30 billion and both the government and the UN have blamed the catastrophe on climate change.
In an interview published in The Guardian on Thursday, Shehbaz said he would be seeking climate justice from the international community.
He went on to say that Pakistan was facing an unprecedented crisis of health, food security, and internal displacement after the apocalyptical monsoon rainfall that has affected more than 33 million persons. With Pakistan contributing marginally to global carbon emissions, the premier said it was the responsibility of the developed countries, that caused these emissions, to stand by us.
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"I've never seen this kind of devastation, inundation, and suffering of our people in my lifetime. Millions have been displaced, and they have become climate refugees within their own country," he said.
The prime minister said that while the global community had pledged funds and aid, it was not enough. " The enormity of this climate-induced catastrophe is beyond our fiscal means," he told the publication.
"The gap between our needs and what is available is too wide and it is widening by the day. However, the premier made it clear that he was talking about climate justice. We are not blaming anybody, we're not casting allegations, what we are saying is this is not of our making but we have become a victims. Should I be asked to cast my appeal into a begging bowl? That is double jeopardy. That's unjust, unfair," he added.
Commenting on the support from world leaders, Shehbaz said that while he was grateful for the very touching words and statements, it was all very fine but more important is a practical demonstration of these statements into action. While they are doing a very good job, and we appreciate it, this is not enough.
They must come forward with a far better and a far bigger plan to rescue us and rehabilitate us and put us back on our footing. He also pointed out the unfulfilled promise made by rich nations over a decade ago to commit USD 100 billion a year to a climate fund for developing nations at the forefront of the climate crisis.
" Where's that money? It's high time that we question and remind these countries to fulfil their commitments and pledges they have made. We're not asking about reparations. No, we're not. I don't think talk of reparations is proper at this point in time. What I am saying is that they should take notice of the situation, take responsibility, and act speedily before it's too late and before the damage becomes irreparable not just for Pakistan, but for the world, the Pakistan PM said.