HomeWorldPM Shahbaz to highlight Pakistan's flood havoc during UNGA summit, bilateral meetings

PM Shahbaz to highlight Pakistan’s flood havoc during UNGA summit, bilateral meetings

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Sharif is among world leaders attending the UNGA session, invited to a reception by President Biden

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Sharif is among world leaders attending the UNGA session, invited to a reception by President Biden

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on September 20 that he would apprise the world of his country’s “enormous human tragedy” in the wake of devastating floods, as he arrived in New York for a high-level session of the UN General Assembly.

Since the start of unprecedented monsoon rains and floods in Pakistan, 1,545 people have died and thousands have been injured. The floods have affected 33 million people, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. Flood waters have washed away villages, roads and bridges, and at one point inundated a third of Pakistan’s territory.

Read also | It is the people of Pakistan who are suffering

Mr Sharif took to social media after arriving in New York to attend the high-level 77th session of the UN General Assembly and addressed it as Pakistan’s leader on 23 September.

He is set to meet several world leaders on the sidelines of the UNGA session.

“Arrived in New York a few hours ago to tell the world the story of Pakistan, the story of deep anguish and pain caused by a major human tragedy caused by the floods. In my address at UNGA and bilateral meetings, I will present Pakistan’s case on those issues Which calls for the immediate attention of the world,” he tweeted.

On the sidelines of the summit, Mr Sharif will hold bilateral talks with a number of world leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iranian President Syed Ibrahim Raisi and will attend the reception of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Although he will not have any bilateral meeting with US President Biden, Prime Minister Sharif will hold talks with him informally during a reception. The Express Tribune Newspaper reported.

A Foreign Office official told the daily that Mr Sharif is among world leaders attending the UN General Assembly session, invited by President Biden to a reception.

A video on floods in Pakistan

This will be the first interaction between the US President and the Pakistani Prime Minister. Since being elected as US president, Mr Biden has spoken to neither former prime minister Imran Khan or his successor Mr Sharif.

The daily said that despite being informal, the meeting would be important as the Biden administration had largely ignored Pakistan during Imran Khan’s government.

Since the change of government, the period of tension between the two countries has started.

A senior adviser to the US Secretary of State recently visited Pakistan, while the Biden administration also approved the sale of F-16 equipment to Pakistan for $450 million.

After the UNGA session, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will visit Washington on an official visit and will meet Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken.

Read also | Nearly 16 million children affected by floods in Pakistan: UN,

This will be his second meeting with the External Affairs Minister in a few months, as he had previously met her on the sidelines of the Food Security Summit in New York.

Prime Minister Sharif’s meeting with the French President will assume significance given the fact that relations between Islamabad and Paris have been strained for the past few years.

Following the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, the French President wanted to speak to the then Prime Minister Mr. Khan to thank him for his help in the evacuation efforts of Pakistan but he declined to allow time for the call. Mr Macron never contacted Mr Khan again.

France is an important country in the European Union and has close ties with India. A Pakistani diplomat serving in Paris told The Express Tribune That because of the country’s faulty outlook, Pakistan had little or no penetration into the major western country.

A possible meeting between the Prime Minister and the President of France could lead to a rift in the relationship.

Read also | Warming, other factors worsen floods in Pakistan, study finds

France is not only an important member of the European Union but also a key player in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which is set to decide Pakistan’s fate in Paris in October.

The onsite team of the FATF visited Pakistan earlier this month to confirm the steps taken by the country to implement the financial watchdog’s action plan.

The successful outcome of the visit will pave the way for Pakistan to come out of the gray list.

Other engagements of the Prime Minister include meetings with Malaysian Prime Minister Email Sabri Yacoub, UNGA President, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, UN Secretary General and Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai. He will also hold meetings with the Prime Ministers of China, Japan and Luxembourg.

He will also attend the Global Food Security Summit and meet IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank President David Mills.

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