Prime Minister Imran Khan has emerged as a global leader to foreground the issue of climate change and deserves accolades for implementing far-reaching measures to rein in global warming and protecting nature, Australian High Commissioner Geoffrey Shaw told The Express Tribune in an exclusive interview.
Cheering the premier for raising the alarms about climate crisis globally, Shaw said, “The prime minister should be felicitated for taking the lead in rallying the issue of biodiversity crisis on international platforms” and undertaking projects such as Ten Billion Tree Tsunami (TBTT) – the largest-ever tree plantation drive in the history of the country.
Satellite images taken before and after the plantation of the land covered under the TBTT recently showed a drastic change as barren spaces turned into green areas and tree cover increased to a considerable level in stark contrast.
Recently, Pakistan—ranked among the 10 most vulnerable countries with regard to global warming—was also recognized as a global leader for protecting the environment and battling climate change.
“Pakistan is among the 10 most vulnerable countries with regard to global warming,” the premier said while addressing a gathering related to Green Financing Innovations earlier this month.
Pakistan was also this year’s host of the United Nations’ annual World Environment Day which was observed earlier this month.
The high commissioner, while appreciating the cordial relations between the two countries, recalled that his country had been working in collaboration with Pakistan to tackle the ecological crisis since the 1980s.
“My government is glad to have donated 1200 trees for a park in Islamabad.”
The United Nations has also recognised Pakistan’s role to curb global warming, Ambassador Shaw said.
Underscoring the need for collective action, he identified that the climate crisis could not be grappled by one country alone.
“It needs to be targeted in a collaborated effort with several countries coalescing into one force on multilateral, regional, or bilateral platforms,” he added.
Speaking of the trade between Pakistan and Australia, Ambassador Shaw noted that the trade between both the countries amounted to only a “modest bilateral trade of less than $2 billion per annum” and suggested that Pakistan must work on ensuring market predictability, elimination of red tape and relaxing business conditions to increase the scale of the trade.
He said Australian industrialists had met with PM Imran Khan and expressed interest in working with Pakistan on its green energy projects. Pakistan should also exploit the digital market in times of the Covid-19 pandemic, he added.
Shaw said around 15,000 students from Pakistan were presently studying in Australia.
“In a win-win situation, foreign students are provided with quality education in a friendly environment.
This equips them to deal with a myriad of challenges ahead.”
To the question of whether the Australian cricket team will visit Pakistan, Shaw revealed it was on the cards but the schedule of the series is yet to be finalised.
He said Australian players currently partaking in HBL PSL-6 were “very happy with the arrangements and hospitality.”
They will prove to be great ambassadors for promoting cricket with Pakistan back home, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 20h, 2021.
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