Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto has said that clean air, safe drinking water and a stable environment are not luxuries but fundamental human rights, just as essential as the freedom of speech, the right to quality education and guarantee of a fair trial.

Speaking at a seminar on ‘The Urgency of Action: Climate Change and its Implications on Human Rights in Pakistan,’ hosted by the PPP Human Rights Cell via video link on Wednesday, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that in the wake of catastrophic nationwide floods in 2022 and recent floods in Punjab, the issue of climate change was more pertinent than ever.The PPP leader proposed a nation where the well-being of both its land and people is given equal importance, providing them with the opportunity to live their lives to the fullest extent. He urged everyone to come together to shape the future of Pakistan and, by extension, the world.Bilawal stressed that the PPP’s commitment to human rights and climate action is not just rhetoric but backed by tangible projects. He highlighted the ‘Apni Zameen Apna Makaan’ programme in Sindh, which is dedicated to reconstructing the 2.1 million homes destroyed by climate-related disasters.Bilawal acknowledged that the challenges posed by climate change transcend political party boundaries. He said that these challenges affect every person who calls Pakistan home and, in many ways, every inhabitant of our planet. He underscored the interconnectedness of climate and societal issues, which together shape the current challenges we face.Pakistan, he lamented, is at the epicentre of the climate crisis, with its vast landscape and a rich history under threat.Bilawal urged a broader perspective on human rights, saying that clean air, safe drinking water and a stable environment are fundamental human rights, as crucial as freedom of speech, quality education and the right to a fair trial. He committed the PPP to harmonising climate policies with human rights, ensuring that every environmental measure prioritises the well-being and rights of the people.The PPP chairman called for fostering international partnerships, recognising that the battle against climate change is a collective endeavour that transcends national boundaries. He said that the PPP’s initiatives also include women’s empowerment, as they not only provide homes but also grant ownership of land to women in affected households.In a keynote address, PPP Vice-President and Senator Sherry Rehman highlighted the international efforts led by Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in presenting Pakistan’s case to the world, resulting in historic achievements such as the establishment of Loss and Damage Fund at COP 27.Senator Rehman stressed the need to address pollution, which is not just a global issue but also starts in our homes and factories. She lamented that Lahore, considered the most polluted city in the world, is a point of shame. She stressed that the impacts of climate change affect the poor first and the rich last, and she highlighted the National Adaptation Plan introduced to mitigate the effects of climate change.The conference was attended by PPP Human Rights Cell President Farhatullah Babar, secretary-general of the Human Rights Cell Syeda Malaika Raza, Syed Hassan Murtaza, Sibtul Hassan Bukhari and Advocate Shakeel Abbasi, who also spoke.

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