ISLAMABAD: Minister for Foreign Affairs Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Thursday said the international community needed to work together to overcome the challenges caused by the Covid pandemic, climate catastrophe, difficult economic conditions and heightened geopolitical tensions.
Speaking at an Iftar dinner hosted for the diplomatic corps in Islamabad, he said people in Pakistan were facing incredibly difficult economic times due to wrong decisions taken by the former government, and also because of the situation in the world and climate catastrophe.
Bilawal said people who were facing the consequences of climate change did not necessarily play a role in causing the situation. The world was still suffering from the economic consequences of the Covid pandemic, he continued. He said fasting was meant to realise the predicament of the less privileged and poor people and it should be the collective responsibility of all to put the minimum burden on low-income people in society.
He appreciated the efforts of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) led by Minister Shazia Marri for protecting vulnerable sections of society. BISP was the first social safety net in Pakistan providing support to the poorest of the poor, the minister said, adding, “We have seen time and again how this programme has served, for instance during the Covid pandemic when there were no other means to give financial assistance to the poor. Then it was effective during the floods and helped the poor.”
He said the government had the monumental task of reconstruction and rehabilitation of people affected by floods. It was making consistent efforts to extend assistance to the least fortunate at the bottom of the social pyramid, he remarked. Bilawal said Pakistan was extremely grateful for the support given by the international community for meeting economic and other challenges. “Our friends across the world stood with us during the Covid pandemic by providing vaccines and other support, and then again during floods and difficult economic conditions,” he concluded.
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