Pakistan Should not be Left Out of the Leader’s Summit on Climate

Pakistan Should not be Left Out of the Leader’s Summit on Climate

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shoaib alamgir started this petition to President Joe Biden and

In this petition I am putting out clear and incontrovertible reasons why U.S. President Joe Biden and Special Presidential Envoy John Kerry must proactively include Pakistan in the upcoming Leader’s Summit on Climate Change.

With Joe Biden and John Kerry back in power, the US is finally back to wrestling with the “defining global challenge of our time” — climate change. Indeed, defining climate change as the “global challenge of our time” are actually the exact words used by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan. Yet, how can climate change be tackled globally (as it must, in order to achieve anything), if Pakistan is not invited to the negotiating table? Indeed, Pakistan was mysteriously not invited to attend the upcoming Leader’s Summit on Climate Change! The Diplomat Magazine states, “Irrespective of all the technical grounds that may have been put in place in order to draw up the invitation list, it is simply mind-boggling that one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change didn’t fulfill the criteria for a summit focused on climate risks.”

American generosity and common sense should overcome the short-term thinking or misplaced punitive mind-set for issues of utmost Global importance such as Climate Change. This is not an area that should be politicized. And while knowing that the US has the best minds at work who are capable of understanding complex World issues, we must not forget that even the best minds can succumb to tunnel vision.

Here are just some of the reasons Pakistan must be included:

1. Pakistan is the fifth most populous country in the world with a population of over 224 M. Pakistan cannot be ignored from the perspective of fixing Climate Change. Even if the US were to reinvent the wheel and deal with climate change as a selective problem, this would not be the best way for the US to take the higher ground and lead by example. 

2. The current Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan is an Environmental Enthusiast. In its entire history, Pakistan has never had a leader who understands the issue of Climate Change. Luckily for both Pakistan and the US, the timing cannot be better to have countries with mutual interests on both sides dealing with this pressing problem. At a different time, even if the US wanted to address Climate Change with Pakistan, issues such as these would fall on deaf ears. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s model has been successful in creating a buzz over Climate Change in Pakistan. His ideas can serve as a more sustainable model for other countries which have dynamics similar to Pakistan. 

3. Snubbing Prime Minister Imran Khan on a personal level by shunning him over issues for which he shows great enthusiasm and expertise may not be the best way to get him excited over other issues which the US may care about in the future. It is not clear exactly what the underlying issue is that caused the US so far to exclude Pakistan out of this vital meeting. One possibility is that the US has its mind on Afghanistan’s power vacuum and may need Pakistan to step up to the occasion in a very specific way. Another possibility could be that the US is trying to please India over the quagmire in Kashmir. Regardless, the US should always pursue long-term and optimal policies where the US always lands on the higher ground.

Our unwillingness to indulge Pakistan in these most fundamental issues will diminish the US role and presence in a region of critical geo-political importance. In pursuing a policy of ostracizing Pakistan, the US will lose its traditional role of working with other countries using diplomacy, inclusivity and compassion. These principles have worked extremely well for the US during most of its history.

The US should never hesitate to show the World its more generous and compassionate side especially over issues concerning the entire human race such as Climate Change. Engaging in altruistic issues will allow the US to leverage its support and partnership with Pakistan and ask for reciprocity in exchange.

Although there is no doubt that the US will remain a force to be reckoned with, the strongest of empires have fallen to complacency. We should always look to the broader spectrum of societal issues and never let our egos get the best of us. My pressing concern is that we may be missing the bigger picture here. The US does have the ability to be a World leader including in areas such as Climate Change. The US can lead by example. The US thus should reach out to those countries of the World whose leadership appears to be equally concerned and enthusiastic about tackling Climate Change. This may be the best time for us to seize the moment and this opportunity.

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