Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said Pakistan sees the flood-caused crisis as an opportunity to build back the country in a better and more climate-resilient manner. The foreign minister also highlighted what he called ‘the health emergency’ that flood victims currently face following the massive flooding.
Bilawal said this while addressing a press conference at the United Nations to brief media about Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s address at the United Nation General Assembly’s 77th session. The foreign minister highlighted the flood crisis Pakistan is facing. He also shed light on the looming threat of waterborne diseases and stressed the country’s resolve to build up the infrastructure afresh.
Bilawal said that Pakistan faced the devastation of the flooding that has already affected 33 million people and left a third of the country under water. “This is not only a climate catastrophe but also a health catastrophe. It is a health emergency, in fact, with water-borne diseases spreading across the affected areas,” he stressed.
To cap it all, he continued, that crops on millions of acres were damaged, so Pakistan fears food insecurity. Finally, the economic difficulties that will result from this devastation, he said. The minister said a rough estimate indicates the devastation has caused Pakistan an economic loss worth $30 billion.
He said the premier called for global action and unity to confront climate change and advocated the need to address the issue of loss and damage. The PM also talked about the situation in Afghanistan and passionately expressed his desire for Pakistan to be at peace with its neighbours. He said the PM also demanded that India walk back from the unilateral and illegal action of August 5th, 2019—the attempt to undermine the internationally disputed status of the region, followed by attempts to undermine the demographic nature of the only Muslim-majority region under Indian control.
He emphasized that the Indian government’s attempt to turn the Muslim majority into a minority in their own land is illegal under international law.
FM Bilawal criticized India’s unilateral and illegal measures of August 5, 2019 to annex Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), and to impose, what the Indian government has ominously called, a “Final Solution”, saying New Delhi had removed the political space for a peaceful and negotiated solution that could be acceptable to all parties.