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Prime Minister Kakar highlighed issues of cross-border terrorism, the need for humanitarian assistance and climate change commitments in his speech to the UNGA

October 01, 2023


The annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York is an important diplomatic event. It brings together world leaders and diplomats from the member countries. Issues ranging from global peace and security to human rights violations and climate catastrophes are thoroughly deliberated.

Being a dynamic member of the UN from a geo-economically important region, Pakistan has always approached this international organisation and its sub-institutions with a seriousness of purpose.

Pakistan has consistently invoked the UNGA forum to reiterate its position on a whole range of national, regional and global issues. In this year’s UNGA session, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Karkar communicated the country’s take on domestic, regional and global issues.

The prime minister urged the international community to fulfil its climate change commitments made at the 28th UN Climate Change Conference by the developed world. Though the capitalist world made commitments to provide around $100 billion in annual climate finance to the affected countries and communities it fell short of the promise.

PM Kakar called on the developed world to allocate, at least, half of the amount in order to assist the developing countries in terms of devising mechanisms to mitigate climate challenges.

In Pakistan, last year 1,700 people lost their lives in floods and more than eight million were displaced. The cumulative economic losses stood at around $30 billion. The prime minister reminded the UN and related development partners to prioritise the allocation of $10.5 billion as part of Pakistan’s comprehensive recovery plan. Parts of Pakistan were affected by floods this year too. Many a village has been inundated in, for example, Kasur district this summer. With a disturbed economy, Pakistan is in dire need of international financial assistance for the rehabilitation of the affected communities.

In addition, the prime minister spoke about the geo-economic turn in the country’s foreign policy and referred to the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Kakar reiterated Pakistan’s traditional approach on Jammu and Kashmir. In this respect, he emphatically exposed “India’s rogue behaviour” in J&K where the RSS-led BJP has tried to annex the Kashmiri territory into the Indian Union unilaterally and illegally.

Regionally, PM Kakar reiterated Pakistan’s traditional approach on Jammu and Kashmir. In this respect, he emphatically exposed “India’s rogue behaviour” in J&K where the RSS-led BJP has tried to annex the Kashmiri territory into the Indian Union unilaterally and illegally. Moreover, massive human rights violations are being committed by the anti-minority and anti-Muslim Modi government in J&K as well as parts of India including Manipur. Most importantly, the RSS-BJP squads are active in foreign lands, too. The killing in Canada of a Sikh leader and Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, is a case in point. Besides Indian atrocities, the prime minister underscored security challenges that Pakistan is currently facing from the TTP on its western border.

He urged the UN and the US to keep tabs on non-state actors, i.e. the Islamic State operating from Afghanistan.

The prime minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s desire to strengthen relations with Iran. The PM also met with the president of Uzbekistan.

PM Kakar met the secretary-general of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. The latter was briefed on India’s large-scale human rights viola­tions in the J&K.

Moreover, Kakar met the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva. The prime minister reportedly apprised the MD of various measures taken by his government in order to stabilise Pakistan’s economy. The meeting with the IMF head seemingly reflected the former’s confidence in the manner the government is implementing the Fund’s programme.

The Kakar government needs to devise a fair tax regime. Without structural and institutional reforms, Pakistan’s economic and financial predicaments will only worsen.

The prime minis­ter also engaged in China’s Global Development Initiative and reiterated political and diplomatic support for the program that has been embraced by the UN. The GDI carries the ideational potential to be transformed into a viable pro-people development agenda with the underlying objective of reducing extreme poverty, ensuring food security and mitigating climate challenges.

On the sidelines of the UNGA session, the prime minister had several engagements with prominent people such as Bill Gates and influential think tanks, i.e. Council on Foreign Relations. Key highlights included the interim government’s will to address economic issues and take care of the country electorally.

The writer has a PhD in political science from Heidelberg University and a post-doc from UC Berkeley. He is a DAAD, FDDI and Fulbright fellow and an associate professor. He can be reached at ejaz.bhattygmail.com