Saturday, March 27, 2021
The United States has invited global leaders, including the leaders of China and Russia, to participate in a summit on climate change in April, US President Joe Biden said on Friday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are among the 40 world leaders invited to the summit, to be held on April 22-23, according to a White House statement.
Biden’s Earth Day global summit on climate is part of his effort to elevate climate change as a top priority. It will be held virtually given pandemic restrictions and live-streamed for public viewing.
However, the omission of Pakistan from the list of invitees to the conference has raised concerns as the country is among those most vulnerable to climate change.
As per the Global Climate Risk Index 2021, issued by German Watch, Pakistan is the fifth-most vulnerable country to climate change.
The American president's decision is also surprising as climate change has been a key area of focus for Prime Minister Imran Khan. The country under his leadership has taken several important steps to battle climate change, including an ambitious plan to plant a billion trees.
The decision caused a major hue and cry on Twitter as well. Here's what people are saying:
Twitter user Moments & Memories noted that Pakistan's efforts have been acknowledged by the World Economic Forum, which makes its exclusion puzzling.
Journalist Kamran Yousaf noted that the decision was not surprising if the recent statement of a former American diplomat is to be considered.
Journalist Ajmal Jami was "shocked" to see Imran Khan's omission from the list.
Twitter user Zeeshan Shah speculated that the omission of Pakistan indicates that the US "has no interest in any type of long term relationship with Pakistan" while noting that there has been no American ambassador in Islamabad for the last three years.
Journalist Baqir Sajjad said the snub indicates that Islamabad has "lost its salience for US leaders".
Analyst Madiha Afzal noted that Pakistan is among the world’s 10 most populous countries and the only one not invited.
Aijaz Ali wondered whether the snub was a "great failure" of Pakistan's foreign policy.
US-based South Asia expert Michael Kugelman attempted to rationalise the criteria for being invited, noting that Pakistan meets at least one of the four criteria he could understand.
Nasir Saleem chalked up the omission to geopolitics, saying the climate change conference seems to have nothing to do with climate change.
Another user, Hushaam Rana, agreed with the opinion.