ISLAMABAD: Foreign minister of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that people were facing the devastating impact of a climate catastrophe such as floods, in the occurrence of which they played little to no role at all and the younger generation especially, was facing consequences of decisions that they did not make.
Speaking at an Iftar dinner hosted by him at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Islamabad-based Diplomatic Corps, he said that the month of Ramazan encourages people to feel for the less fortunate, less privileged and those who did not enjoy access to regular food and luxuries that were usually taken for granted.
Mr Bhutto said that there were people in societies, not particularly in Pakistan, who were faced with incredibly difficult times.
He further said that he was ready to accept that a lot of the difficulties were of “our” own making, referring collectively to the economic policies adopted in the past.
Says younger generation bears the brunt of decisions they did not make
“We are facing economic consequences of certain decisions that are not in our control. The people are facing the devastating impact of a climate catastrophe such as floods, in the occurrence of which they played little to no role at all. The younger generation especially, is facing the consequences of decisions that they did not make. The economic quagmire that has been caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is not only faced by Pakistan, but the entire world. The geopolitical situation in the world as well has added to growing list of consequences faced by the globe,” he said.
In this particular month, people were reminded that it was probable that the consequences of human actions were faced by those who were perhaps not as empowered as we are. There was an opportunity through which those in power could positively affect the lives of those who were less fortunate.
“It should be our collective effort that we make it a point to minimise to the utmost extent, the burden that is on the shoulders of the underprivileged,” he said.
Mr Bhutto commended efforts of the federal minister for the Benazir Income Support Programme, Shazia Marri towards eradicating poverty as the head of the first and only safety net for the poorest of the poor.
“We have witnessed the incredible services rendered as a result of the BISP’s existence during the Covid-19 pandemic to bolster the dwindling hopes of the people. When the floods came, the most effective means of getting support to the vulnerable was through the BISP,” he said.
As the country persevered through the economic turmoil while the finance ministry was still in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) besides the monumental task of rehabilitating flood victims ahead, this government was consistently trying within the space that it had, to provide the most benefits to those at the bottom of the pyramid, Mr Bhutto said.
He expressed his gratitude towards the international community as well as ambassadors in attendance for the support provided to the country within their personal and professional domains.
Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2023