ISLAMABAD: While Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Saturday expressed the hope that the world will generously donate in response to the UN’s Flash Appeal for Pakistan floods in a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, he separately criticised former premier and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan for holding political rallies amid the grave situation.

The UN will launch a $160 million Flash Appeal on Aug 30 to meet the urgent needs of millions of people in the country affected by unprecedented monsoon rains and resultant floods.

In his telephone conversation with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who had called him, Mr Bhutto-Zardari thanked Turkiye’s aid and apprised his counterpart that extensive damage to infrastructure was impeding the relocation of people to safe locations and the effective delivery of assistance.

Slams PTI chief over political rallies amid flood devastation

Besides, speaking to BBC Urdu, FM Bhutto-Zardari said while the government’s priority was provision of tents, food and healthcare to those affected by the natural calamity, PTI leader and former premier Imran Khan can keep holding political rallies at such a crucial time.

Over 33 million have been affected by the floods. More than 1,000 people, including over 300 children, have died so far.

The foreign minister said no government in the world would have been able to cope with a disaster of this scale. Although nearly two months had passed since the floods began at the end of June, the country was still in the rescue and relief stage, he said.

While criticising Mr Khan for holding political rallies at a time when the floods had wreaked havoc across the country, the minister said: “It’s unfortunate the politicking is taking place despite the devastation of this magnitude caused by the rains. The opposition may continue with politics, but our priority is to express solidarity with the people and provide them relief.”

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2022

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