RIYADH: Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday thanked Saudi Arabia for delivering aid to his flood-ravaged country.
“We are very grateful to our brothers in Saudi Arabia, and we are deeply obliged for this very timely support,” Sharif said at the sixth edition of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh.
The prime minister said that heavy rain and floods over the summer have affected 33 million people.
“More than 1,700 people have died, including infants and children. More than 2 million houses have been damaged, and over 3.5 million acres of crops have been lost,” he said.
“We are extremely grateful to our brotherly countries and friendly countries, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and my very respected brother, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who created an air bridge between Saudi Arabia and Islamabad and Karachi, sending food items, tents and other very important items for flood affected people,” Sharif said.
He warned of the impacts of climate change and said that countries like Pakistan are particularly vulnerable.
“The northern globe has to appreciate and understand that countries which have become or are becoming victims of climate induced torrential devastation should be supported and given due help in terms of technology, in terms of design, to have strong, robust infrastructure,” Sharif said.
The prime minister added that using renewable energies such as solar, hydro and wind power is “the future” in tackling climate change.
“I would like to propose to my brothers and sisters sitting here, from Saudi Arabia and other countries and globally, that here is an opportunity where the world wants to have green energy, where we want to avoid pollution and minimize our problems in the air,” he said.
The Pakistan PM praised the FII event, describing it as “wonderful.”
He said: “I am telling you very frankly, this wonderful gathering and wonderful arrangement has pleasantly surprised me. It has been a wonderful occasion to be here. I’ve been to such summits and conferences around the globe. But this is Davos in the desert. It is a remarkable achievement by our Saudi friends, Saudi corporations and Saudi young leadership, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”
The PM used his speech to propose that the FII consider “establishing a satellite center in one of Pakistan’s leading universities to explore the rapidly growing Pakistani market and spur innovation among our young population.
“The satellite could become the center of a network of researchers, innovators, mentors and service providers to harness capacities, which if optimized would take Pakistan to a higher level of social and economic development,” Sharif added.