Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said that climate change had emerged as one of the most potent challenges facing the world. The flood catastrophe that Pakistan was experiencing was climate-induced, he said, adding the massive economic damage on top of the economic crisis had undermined the country’s capacity to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He asked the international community to step forward and help Pakistan deal with the calamity of epic proportions. The prime minister was talking to President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Duarte Pacheco, who called on him here at the PM House. Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Minister for Economic Affairs Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, and PM’s special assistants Tariq Fatemi and Ms Romina Khursheed Alam were also present on the occasion. The prime minister asked the Inter-Parliamentary Union to play its role in raising awareness about the horrors of climate change and help mobilize global support for the developing countries facing the climate crisis due to global warming. He said the world should pursue climate justice as an ideal to deal with the threat, which was real and redefining their lives. The prime minister said despite its shortcomings, democracy was still the best system in the world that was a vehicle to realize the people’s aspirations. He termed fake news as one of the major challenges facing democracy. He mentioned the worst human rights abuses in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), particularly after August 5, 2019, and said the violation of fundamental human rights had exposed the so-called democratic face of India. IPU President Duarte Pacheco expressed condolence on the loss of precious human lives during the recent floods and expressed his grief over the massive havoc caused to the infrastructure across the country. He supported Pakistan’s case with respect to climate change and stressed upon the developed countries to make a strategy to control the carbon emissions. Duarte Pacheco appreciated the National Assembly of Pakistan for organizing the 3rd IPU Regional Seminar of Asia Pacific Region on Achieving Sustainable Development Goals. He said that the event would help synergize regional efforts to achieve the SDGs. Later, the prime minister, in a tweet, said in his meeting with Duarte Pacheco, President of Inter-Parliamentary Union, a representative body of 178 parliaments, he underscored how fake news posed a threat to democracy. “Together with fabrication, it can rob people of their democratic rights & violate human rights,” he added. Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Monday underscored that the scale and magnitude of losses in the recent floods were too big to be borne by Pakistan alone and said that the international community’s support was of vital importance. The prime minister expressed these views during a meeting with Ambassador of the French Republic to Pakistan Nicolas Galey who called on him. The prime minister highlighted the extensive devastation caused by the recent floods across Pakistan and the government’s response to address the dire situation. The prime minister said that Pakistan despite having a negligible contribution to climate change, was among the most vulnerable to its devastation as manifested in the recent floods. In this regard, he expressed gratitude to the French president for solidarity and support for the flood-stricken people and for sending a relief flight carrying tents, water pumps and a team of doctors and nurses for the flood affectees. He underlined that besides, the immediate relief assistance, France could contribute to the government’s efforts in the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase. The prime minister reaffirmed the importance Pakistan attached to its longstanding cooperative relations with France, both bilaterally and in the context of the European Union. In the bilateral context, he further said that Pakistan was committed to further deepen its relations with France across all areas of mutual interest. He hoped that the ambassador would contribute towards strengthening the bilateral relationship as well as explore new areas for cooperation, such as IT, start-ups, agriculture, water management and energy. The prime minister said that Pakistan looked forward to continued engagement with France to further deepen mutually beneficial relations.