- “We send a simple message. After talks with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Blinken stated that Pakistan is our support, just like we were during previous natural disasters. We look forward to rebuilding.”
Blinken stated that he also encouraged his colleagues to engage China in debt relief and restructuring issues so that Pakistan can recover faster from the floods.
China is Pakistan’s economic and political partner. It is pushing ahead with an $54 billion “economic corridor”, which will create infrastructure and provide Beijing access to the Indian Ocean. However, terrorist attacks have also been directed at Chinese interests.
One-third of the flood victims were children. More than 7 million people have been displaced by Pakistan’s flooding. There are fears that climate change will make such devastating disasters more frequent.
The United States has provided $56 million in humanitarian assistance and 17 aircraft with supplies. It also promised long-term support.
Bhutto Zardari stated that President Joe Biden, the man who signed the landmark domestic climate package, must also look at “climate justice.”
Biden used the campaign slogan “It’s important that you build back better’ here,” to which he added.
He stated that the Pakistan crisis presents an opportunity for us to rebuild better, greener and more climate-resilient Pakistan back home.
“I believe we can achieve this together.”
Despite being the fifth-most populous country, Pakistan contributes just 0.8% to greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for climate change. This is due to its lack of development.
Over the course of the two-decade-long war in Afghanistan, the US relationship with Pakistan has sharply declined.
Blinken stated, “We have had our disagreements — that’s not a secret.”
He said that Pakistan and the United States have a “shared stake in Afghanistan’s future”, including more freedoms for girls and women whose rights were again severely curtailed by Taliban.
Blinken also encouraged Pakistan to respect freedom of religion or expression, a long-standing concern of the United States.
Five-month-old Prime Minister Shehbaz Shariff’s government has been criticised for imposing restrictions on media coverage since Imran Khan was elected to replace him. Imran Khan lost a no confidence vote in parliament and was later afoul with the military.
Blinken also urged Pakistan to have a “responsible relation” with India.