Samarkand [Uzbekistan]: Highlighting the devastation Pakistan had witnessed due to the recent catastrophic floods, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday described the country as a “sea of water.”
Addressing the extended format of the 22nd Summit of the Council of Heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States (SCO-CoHS) in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand, he said that Pakistan looks like “a sea of water” and called for action against climate change after cataclysmic floods. “I have never before seen this kind of devastation.
But (…) these devastating floods in Pakistan are most definitely climate change-induced (…) cloud outburst, unprecedented rains combined with hill torrents, all of this put together made Pakistan look like a sea of water,” said the Pakistan PM.
Stagnant water is causing a rise in waterborne diseases, such as malaria, he highlighted as he thanked SCO members for extending their support during this time of need.
The prime minister said Pakistan would overcome this crisis as he estimated the damages to be “billions of dollars”.
He also raised the issue of the omission of Afghanistan in the Summit. He said it would be a “big mistake to ignore Afghanistan this time around”, highlighting that peace in both countries was linked, reported Dawn.
At the outset of his address, the premier deviated from the text of his speech as he talked about Afghanistan. “As you know Pakistan is a neighbouring country of Afghanistan, and peace in Afghanistan will ensure peace in Pakistan,” he said.
“In other words, what is good for Afghanistan, is good for Pakistan and vice versa.”
On the second day of his visit, the prime minister attended the close-format CHS meeting at the Congress Centre where Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev welcomed participants.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were also in attendance.
In a tweet later in the day, Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that PM Shehbaz had “very successful” talks with Putin and Xi.
“Both of them have officially invited Shehbaz Sharif to visit their countries. The prime minister has accepted both invitations. There will be a visit to China in November 2022,” the defence minister confirmed.
Earlier in the day, PM Shehbaz met Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and discussed issues of bilateral interest. The meeting, held on the sidelines of SCO, focused on ways to strengthen the relationship between the two countries in diverse fields.