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Pakistan seeks ‘long-term’ peace with India, says PM Shehbaz

NEW YORK: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan is willing to make peace with all its neighbouring countries, including India.

Addressing the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday, he said, “We want to have peace with India but long-lasting and enduring peace can only be guaranteed through a just and fair solution of Kashmir. Providing the rights to the people of Kashmir under UN Charter according to Security Council resolutions.”

He said Pakistan is being severely affected due to environmental problems and urged the world to come forward with concrete action to help the flood-affected people of Pakistan.

PM Shehbaz said that floods have wreaked havoc in Pakistan which left 30.3 million people including women and children homeless while killing more than 1500 people.

“Over 1 million animals have been killed while the floods swept away around 370 bridges,” he said.

Premier Shehbaz also highlighted the impact of climate change resulting in the devastating rain-induced floods in Pakistan in his maiden address to the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on Friday.

“I will be most forthcoming to sit down and talk to our Indian counterpart to pave the way forward for future so that our generations do not suffer so that we spend our resources in mitigating miseries, on building structures to face these floods and outbursts of clouds,” he said.

He said that developing countries don’t have unlimited resources and the available resources should be spent on the well-being of the people.

Highlighting the havoc after the devastating floods in the country, the premier said: “My heart and mind have not been able to leave home. Standing here I am still standing in flood-affected areas in Pakistan.”

“I have come to explain first-hand scale and magnitude,” he added.

“For 40 days and 40 nights, biblical flood poured on us. Even today, huge swathes of the country are still underwater. 33 million people including women and children are at high risk of health hazards. More than 1,500 of my people have gone from the world including 400 children. Far more are in peril. Heartbreaking losses to their families… to their futures.”

Millions have been destroyed, he said, another million damaged. “Four million acres of crops washed away. Pakistan has never seen a devastating example of global warming. Life in Pakistan changed forever.”

Focusing on the hazards of climate change, PM Shehbaz said that People in Pakistan ask why did it happen. “It is time to ask why… time to ask what must be done. Our forests are burning. More heatwaves are coming. We had a monster monsoon. It was the monsoon on steroids as was described by the UN secretary-general. Pakistan emits less than 1% of greenhouse gases.”

Talking about the recent visit of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres showing the concerns after witnessing the aftereffects of the rain-induced floods, the prime minister said, “I am profoundly grateful to the UN chief who spent time in Pakistan and repeatedly assured us of help. The impact of health and wealth on my country is beyond imagination. This crisis we did not create.”

The premier said some 11 million will be pushed into poverty. “For now, we have mobilised all resources in our domain for national relief efforts. We have allocated even development funds in this time of need.”

Later on, he will hold a bilateral meeting with his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte and attend a zoom meeting with US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

Co-Founder Malala Fund Malala Yousafzai will also call on the premiere. In the evening, PM Shehbaz will depart for London after completing his five-day official visit to the United States.

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