ISLAMABAD: The acting chairman of Senate Human Rights Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain, on Tuesday criticised Europe for doing too little for Pakistan’s flood victims.

“What Europeans have given to Pakistan is ‘peanuts’ compared to the aid for Ukraine,” Senator Mushahid said at a parliamentary dialogue with the European Parliament.

The European parliamentary delegation comprised Maria Arena, chair subcommittee on Human Rights, Mr Peter Van Dalen and Mr Petras Austrevicius.

Senator Mushahid, who was leading the Pakistani side at the dialogue, said Pakistanis were not children of a lesser God.

Climate change caused by developed countries, especially West, blamed for disaster

He reminded that floods in Pakistan were due to climate change caused by policies of developed countries especially the West.

“Even the UN secretary general has called for ‘climate justice’,” he said.

The European Union has provided 2.15 million euros in emergency response and euro 1 million for improved nutrition. Moreover, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden have bilaterally chipped in a few more million dollars.

The EU is one of the top GHG emitters globally.

Wealthy countries are blamed for most of the climate change impacts as they contribute most of the carbon dioxide emissions globally.

The developing countries contend that the impact of climate change on their communities is so intense that they need financial support to rebuild affected areas. They, moreover, insist that this financial support should come as a compensation for the damage caused by the rich countries.

Senators Seemee Ezdi and Abida Azeem drew the attention of the EU parliamentary delegation to the climate catastrophe facing Pakistan. They too reiterated the need for assistance from the international community to address the issues of climate change.

Senator Mushahid furthermore touched upon the grave threat of right-wing racism and religious bigotry being faced by Europe as reflected by electoral trends in Sweden and Italy.

He condemned double standards of European countries observing that annexation of Crimea by Russia is condemned while annexation of occupied Kashmir by India was condoned.

Ms Maria Arena expressed solidarity with the people of Pakistan in the wake of the devastation caused by recent floods.

She highlighted the importance of GSP Plus for Pakistan and the need to strengthen work on issues of human rights, labour rights, freedom of expression and environment.

Mr Petras Austrevicius highlighted the issue of Taliban in Afghanistan especially its adverse effects on public life of Afghans.

COAS: Ambassador of European Union (EU) Dr Riina Kionka called on COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

“During the meeting, matters of mutual interest, regional security situation and bilateral cooperation with European Union (EU) were discussed,” the ISPR said.

Gen Bajwa said Pakistan valued its relations with EU countries and earnestly looked forward to enhance multifaceted relations with it based on mutual interest.

The COAS, the ISPR said, thanked EU for its assistance for flood victims and underscored that international support was vital for rescue and rehabilitation of flood victims.

Meeting with Senate chairman

Meanwhile, the European Parliament delegation met Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani at the Parliament House.

The two sides discussed issues of mutual interest including Pakistan-EU bilateral relations.

The Senate chairman informed the delegation about the steps taken by Senate for protection of human rights in the country.

Mr Sanjrani informed the team about the flood devastation in the country and said that people and welfare organisations of Pakistan had helped the government deal with the flood situation, but because of the massive scale of the disaster caused by floods, Pakistan was in dire need of international help.

Jamal Shahid in Islamabad also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2022

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