PM seeks sustained engagement with US

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday, expressing satisfaction at the upward trajectory in the Pakistan-US relationship, underlined the need for a constructive and sustained engagement between the two countries, based on mutual respect, trust and understanding.

He was talking to a US Congressional delegation (CODEL), which led by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee called on him. Apart from Congresswoman Lee, the delegation included Congressman Thomas Souzzi and Congressman Al Green.

While appreciating the delegation's visit to Pakistan at a critical juncture when flash floods have ravaged the country, the Prime Minister underlined that the government was fully engaged in the rescue and relief efforts.

He added that over 33 million had been affected; more than 1,300 human lives lost; and extensive damage was caused to agriculture, livestock, property, and critical infrastructure.

The prime minister underscored that rehabilitation and reconstruction would pose serious challenges and entail commitment of enormous resources.
Continued support, solidarity and assistance from the international community were critical in that context, he added.

The prime minister underscored that despite being one of the lowest emitters of carbon emissions, Pakistan was facing the brunt of climate catastrophe.

He stressed that the developed countries must step up their climate ambition, including towards the provision of predictable climate finance for mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change in the developing world.

The prime minister appreciated the flood relief assistance being provided by the US, adding, that the Congressional delegation's visit would help enhance global awareness of the scale of destruction caused by the super floods in Pakistan and mobilize greater support.

The thee-member Congressional delegation is visiting Pakistan from September 4-6. The delegation visited Sindh to witness the extent of the damage and human suffering and held meetings with key stakeholders to explore ways and means to assist Pakistan in its recovery efforts in a sustained manner.

Congresswoman Lee, while sharing her deepest sympathies for the flood victims particularly those who had lost loved ones, lauded efforts of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and expressed the hope that the Pakistani nation will deal with this calamity with resilience and resolve.

She affirmed that the US Congress and Administration would stand by Pakistan in the wake of this colossal challenge and extend critical support to help them mitigate the sufferings of the affected people and rebuild their lives and communities.

Earlier, the delegation of the US Congress visited the flood-affected regions of Pakistan and ‘brought hope’ that the US would be a 'consistent partner' in helping Pakistan through the crisis.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee stated that this was the “first US delegation to visit the most devastating and deadly flooding in Pakistani history”, deeming the inundation a “flood of historic proportion”.

“As far as the eye could see, I saw water,” she added.

The delegation – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Congressman Tom – was briefed by military rescuers, and met and listened to local people who had “experienced the raging deadly waters”.

She highlighted that with entire villages underwater, 33 million Pakistanis were impacted by the floods and almost 70,000 women were expected to give birth “potentially without medical care”.

“Our delegation brought hope that the United States will be an effective and consistent partner in helping Pakistan work through this human crises!” she stated, adding that humanity was under attack.

Meanwhile, President Dr Arif Alvi conferred the civil award of Hilal-e-Pakistan upon Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, in recognition of her outstanding services to Pakistan.

The Congresswoman highlighted the magnitude of recent devastation due to floods, as an ardent supporter of US assistance to Pakistan in recent floods, made efforts to expand the scope of bilateral ties geared to improving lives and livelihoods of people in both countries, and for her support and commitment towards a strong and effective Pakistan Congressional Caucus.

Later, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and members of her delegation including Congressman Thomas Suozzi, Congressman Al Green, and Ambassador of USA to Pakistan, Donald Blome, called on the president and thanked him for bestowing the award.

The president congratulated the Congresswoman and thanked her for her outstanding leadership of the Pakistan Congressional Caucus and its keen interest in strengthening Pakistan-US ties.


With additional input from News Desk

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