Neither did India offer aid nor did Pakistan ask, says Bilawal

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2022-09-23 09:53:00

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. — France 24 screengrab
  • FM Bilawal says scale of climate catastrophe in Pakistan is truly apocalyptic.
  • Appreciates global aid and response to tragedy caused by unprecedented floods.
  • Says IMF should discuss new terms as floods washed away agreed estimation and figures.

Neither did India offer help to deal with the flood devastation in the country, nor did Islamabad ask for it, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said while explaining Pakistan’s struggle to overcome the ravages caused by the recent climate catastrophe.

The statement came in an interview with French news agency France 24 when asked if Pakistan was getting any assistance from one of its biggest neighbouring country, India.

The foreign minister said that Pakistan is “still in the state of an active disaster and the scale of climate catastrophe in Pakistan is truly apocalyptic”. He appreciated the global response to the tragedy and aid still incoming from various countries, saying he couldn’t even count on his fingertips to name the countries, but that India was not one of them.

Describing Pakistan’s current ties with India, Bilawal said that the country has a long and complicated history with India, which is no more a secular state as promised by its founders.

“Unfortunately, India today is a changed India. It is no longer the secular India promised by its founding fathers for all its citizens.

It is increasingly becoming a Hindu-supremacist India at the expense of its Christian and Muslim minorities, and that is not the sort of Muslim minorities within India, but unfortunately in the disputed region of Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).”

He referred to the August 2019 move, when the Indian government revoked the special status of IIOJK, and said these recent steps and actions have left very little space for Pakistan to engage.

Bilawal added India’s “absolutely racist” and “Islamophobic” policy has caused reaction not only within Kashmir but all across India.

The foreign minister said that the Muslim minority in India was feeling persecuted and insecure. He also said that this is an active policy of the state that is how the government of India is treating its own Muslim citizens.

“You can only imagine how they are treating the Muslims of Pakistan and IIOJK,” he said.

Bilawal further stated that he believes the younger generation on both sides wants to see the countries living in peace.

Unprecedented floods

Bilawal said that the country was still in the rescue and relief phase of this tragedy.

“This monster monsoon that Pakistan experienced started in mid-June and ended at the end of August. Once the rains finally stopped, it left a 100-kilometre lake in the middle of my country that could be seen from space,” he added.

Bilawal went on to say that the floods in Pakistan are a global disaster and should be understood at the global level. He said that an agreement was recently signed with the IMF for economic stability, but all the estimation and figures of the agreement have also been washed away by the recent flood.

The floods have caused a loss of $30 billion to Pakistan, he added, saying that the situation has changed after the flood, and the IMF should discuss new terms.

“We don’t want aid but justice from the international community,” he said.

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