Wednesday November 30, 2022

Australian HC wants more help for Pakistan

By Azaz Syed
September 20, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Australia’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Neil Hawkins on Monday said although Pakistani institutions performed well in flood-affected areas, they still needed a lot of help from the world.

Talking to the Geo News, he said when the reconstruction phase began, work should be done to avoid destruction caused by heavy floods in the future. Hawkins had been posted to Pakistan nearly three months ago. He previously served as Australia’s ambassador to Egypt. He has done Arabic and Islamic studies.

He said the government of Australia was saddened by the destruction in Pakistan due to climate change. “This is why Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wang announced $5 million for immediate relief work in the affected areas,” he said and pointed out that the money would be dispersed through the World Food Program. “We realize that Pakistan needs help and the world is stepping up in this regard. Australia has a longstanding relationship with Pakistan, with Australian scientists working with Pakistani farmers in Punjab. We are working on several projects in Sindh and seeing how plants can survive in salt water. We are taking practical steps and all this is a manifestation of solidarity from Australia with the people of Pakistan,” he said.

Hawkins said Australia too was facing floods and famine. “In this time, we are showing practical brotherhood with Pakistanis. We can help Pakistan avoid such a disaster in the future, by having more experienced manpower to work on climate change, agriculture and food security. At present, 13,000 Pakistani students are studying in Australia and this is an important part of our cooperation,” he added.

In response to a question, he said he was impressed by the Benazir Income Support Programme which transferred money to the needy in a short time. “I think it is an excellent example for the world. At the moment, the response of Pakistani institutions in the flood-affected areas is great, but they also need help.”