Sunday Sep 18 2022

Russia offered gas, wheat aid amid famine risk in Pakistan: Khawaja Asif

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif addresses a press conference in Islamabad on September, 17, 2022. — PID
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif addresses a press conference in Islamabad on September, 17, 2022. — PID

  • Asif says Pakistan would need assistance from its neighbours and int'l community due to flood losses.
  • Says SCO Summit highlighted that global north damages to ozone layer caused disaster in Pakistan.
  • Lauds UN chief for playing role of Pakistan’s spokesperson for spreading word for assistance.

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif says the country will need assistance from its neighbours and the world community due to the massive floods as large-scale crop losses might cause a famine.

The defence minister said this at a media conference while sharing updates of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's visit along with his delegation to Uzbekistan at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit of the Council of Heads of State in Samarkand.

Khawaja Asif said the prime minister, during his one-on-one interactions, bilateral meetings and speeches at the SCO Summit had highlighted that the global north damages to ozone layer caused the disaster that directly impacted over 33 million people in Pakistan.

The minister also briefed that Russian President Vladimir Putin appreciated Pakistan’s position on the Russia-Ukraine war in the UN and internationally.

“No leader claimed that their governments had proposed Pakistan to buy oil. No one wrote any letter to Pakistan. However, there have been discussions on oil, gas and wheat supplies from Russia. Russia has proposed that its gas pipelines infrastructure has been extended to Central Asian states which can be extended to Pakistan through Afghanistan to provide gas supplies," he said, The News reported.

The Russian authorities had also extended an offer for wheat supplies as food supplies shortage was possible in the country due to flood devastation, he added.

“He [PM Shehbaz Sharif] reiterated that in the coming days Pakistan would need the assistance of its neighbours and world community due to massive damage to its agriculture that would cause food security crisis,” the minister said.

He appreciated that the UN secretary-general was playing the role of Pakistan’s spokesperson for spreading the word for assisting Pakistan in crisis. The winter season is approaching and the flood crisis could cause a famine in Pakistan.

During the visit, Khawaja Asif said it was visible that the world leaders at the SCO Summit sent their greetings to Mian Nawaz Sharif and recalled their meetings with him. He added that President Xi also discussed the railway line project that was in the doldrums, CPEC projects, road network projects in our region and beyond. 

The Chinese president reaffirmed that China was the all-weather strategic friend of Pakistan and wanted Pakistan to overcome crises and achieve stability. The Chinese president also extended all-out support to Pakistan in this regard.

Responding to media queries, Asif said: “Imran Khan is not talking about floods rather continuously demanding power.”

The flood victims are in pathetic condition in south Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but there was no commitment of government of PTI.