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Business Recorder

Published Date: Nov 25, 2019

Cities cannot absorb mass population migrating due to climate change: Zartaj Gul

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul Monday said Pakistan was facing the worst impacts of climate change with large number of people migrating to cities from disaster stricken areas.

She made these remarks at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) seminar on climate change and migration in South Asia here.

Gul said, “Pakistan is the only country in the world accommodating 25 million refugees from Afghanistan and is providing all possible facilities enjoyed by any Pakistani to Afghan refugees.

The other countries have also started opening borders for Palestinian and Syrian refugees but there are also close fisted attitude of certain developed countries abandoning the war-hit masses to enter their land which is regrettable.”

The minister of state said that migration was a new subject in the context of climate change which had not been given due consideration.

The former federally administered tribal areas (FATA) had rendered great sacrifices due to military operations against terrorists in North Waziristan and other agencies.

“They have bore internal displacement to the adjoining districts, however, the successful policies of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa made the youngsters to remain the temporary settlements owing to the best facilities available,” she added.

“South Punjab is facing the adverse drought phenomenon which will eventually lead to a great migration of people to the less vulnerable and developed cities particularly rural to urban area migration, hence a major challenge to emerge for the government.We need a comprehensive and all inclusive migration policy to cope with the issue in an amicable manner,” she added.

Executive Director, SDPI Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said there was no single reason to migration of masses at internal or external level.

However, the unplanned migration like the one after the Swat military operation left the families including women, elderly and children more vulnerable as the adult and dominant males of the family left for employment to other provinces and even abroad.

It had left to further crisis whereas migration had many benefits if carried out in a systematic way, he added.

Rushati Das from Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) India also deliberated on regional perspective of climate change induced migrations through online webinar.

Country Director, International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) Raana Rahim emphasized the need for a migration policy while keeping in view Pakistan’s increasing vulnerability due to climate change and disaster prone nature.

SDPI Environmentalist Maryam Shabbir moderated the session whereas Research Fellow at SDPI Kashif Salik highlighted the migration challenges and reasons in the context of global research and developing scenarios.