The international community has responded to Pakistan’s at the World Economic Forum with pledges totaling $8.57 billion, as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif sought global attention on Monday for the death and destruction caused by the country’s flash floods last summer.
According to Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, the Islamic Development Bank ($4.2 billion) made the most generous pledge at the “Climate Resilient Pakistan” conference, followed by the World Bank ($2 billion) and the Asian Development Bank ($1.5 billion). France ($345 million), China ($100 million), the EU ($93 million), Germany ($88 million), and Japan ($77 million) have also responded to PM Shehbaz’s call.
The Geneva conference provided an excellent opportunity for Pakistan to present its case for destitution. The monsoon deluge has left a staggering bill to pay, with losses exceeding $30 billion, or roughly 8% of Pakistan’s GDP, and more than 33 million people displaced.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister was forthright, stating that his country cannot return to business as usual in the midst of the flood devastation. His note on disaster coincided with the country’s deteriorating economic situation, as the central bank’s forex reserves fell below $5 billion and the masses struggled under rising inflation and unemployment.
According to independent estimates, approximately 9 million people have been added to those living below the poverty line as a result of the economic meltdown and flood devastation.
While the international community has been ‘so far, so good,’ the larger task is to convert pledges into concrete action. The international community must not allow a strategic country to fail.
Pakistan has contributed to peace and security by being a responsible nuclear power. It bodes well for the region’s geoeconomics and has been at the forefront of promoting cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Keeping the tangibles in mind, the world is expected to keep its promise to address Pakistan’s woes and bail it out of the current economic crisis.
Fulfilling international aid pledges is only the beginning of a long and difficult journey; time is running out to rebuild Pakistan. The international community must act quickly to assist Pakistan in its recovery and rebuilding efforts. The Geneva Conference represents our common humanity and charity, as well as a source of hope for all people and countries that may face catastrophic calamities in the future.
Flooding is possible in Pakistani areas where the water has not yet receded by July 2023. Pakistan is not only plagued by floods but also by regular weather extremes.
However, it should not be subjected to phony aid pledges because the world’s industrialised countries have caused more climate change, whose costs cannot be borne by developing countries like Pakistan.
During a difficult time, friends such as China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar have generously provided assistance in the rehabilitation work. Western countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, have also expressed their support for us in response to the UN secretary general’s request, despite the fact that the funds received may be insufficient.
Pakistan anticipates receiving the promised funds during the Geneva summit. The government must ensure that all donations and funds received from within and outside the government, as well as from non-governmental organisations, are used transparently and without evidence of fraud or misappropriation.