US solidarity, assistance crucial for rehabilitation, reconstruction of flood-hit areas: PM

Islamabad: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday while calling the rehabilitation and reconstruction of flood-hit areas formidable challenges, said that the continued support, solidarity and assistance from the United States was crucial for the purpose.

The prime minister, in a meeting with Senior Policy Advisor to the US Secretary of State Derek Chollet, who called on him, said the government was fully engaged in the rescue and relief efforts.

He thanked Derek Chollet for visiting Pakistan at a critical moment when the country had been adversely affected by the most devastating flood in its history, with millions affected and displaced.

The prime minister told the foreign dignitary that over 33 million had been affected; more than 1,300 lives lost; and immeasurable damage was caused to agriculture, livestock, property, and critical infrastructure.

He also cautioned about the likely outbreak of water-borne diseases.

Prime Minister Sharif underlined that Pakistan was committed to deepen and widen its ties, especially in the areas of security, health, climate change, trade and investment.

He emphasized the need for a constructive and sustained engagement between the two countries, based on the principles of mutual trust, respect and understanding.

While highlighting the devastating impacts of climate change on the planet, the prime minister called for stepping up international efforts to meet climate goals, including mobilizing climate finance to better cope with this challenge.

In the regional context, he stressed the importance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, and called for unfreezing of the Afghan assets. He also emphasized the need for enhanced engagement with the Afghan authorities.

Underlining Pakistan’s commitment to promote peace in the region, including with India, the prime minister highlighted the need for resolution of long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute, as per the UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

Derek Chollet expressed heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the government and people of Pakistan at the precious lives, resulting from the riverine floods in Pakistan.

On behalf of the Biden Administration, he affirmed that the U.S. would stand by Pakistan in the wake of this immense challenge, extend vital support, and help affected people rebuild their lives and communities.