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Pakistan’s endeavors to avert humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Pakistan's efforts to mitigate the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan include the announcement of humanitarian assistance package of five billion rupees for Afghan people that contains 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat, medicines/medical treatment, and shelters.

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Since the US-led coalition forces withdrew from Afghanistan in Aug 2021, the country has endured a deepening and increasingly deadly humanitarian crisis. Afghan masses have once again been left destitute and are facing worsening humanitarian, economic, health and governance crises. According to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy report 24.4 million Afghans are in humanitarian need which constitutes more than half of the country’s population. Globally, Afghanistan has the highest number of people in emergency food insecurity and 92% of the population faces insufficient food consumption including around 9.6 million children who are unable to get food daily.

Moreover, the recent destruction from the earthquake has further worsened the humanitarian situation that would likely take the country towards economic collapse. The Taliban administration does not have sufficient money in the banks, Joblessness is rampant, and food and medicine supplies are urgently needed. In such circumstances, the Taliban government alone cannot bring out the country from a humanitarian crisis.

Read more: Afghanistan crisis: Let’s invest in humanity!

How Pakistan has remained steadfast in helping Afghanistan?

However, Pakistan being an immediate neighbor has remained at the forefront to sensitize the world about the worsening humanitarian situation in Afghanistan for seeking their help, in addition to initiating measures at the government, semi-government and philanthropic platforms to address the issue on its own. Pakistan is hosting about three million Afghan refugees for the last four decades despite its economic glitches and is not in a position to accept a new influx of refugees and economic migrants.

Pakistan’s efforts to mitigate the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan include the announcement of humanitarian assistance package of five billion rupees for Afghan people that contains 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat, medicines/medical treatment, and shelters. Assistance is ongoing under Pak-Afghan Cooperation Forum (PACF) and till 21 Jun 2022, about 15000 tons of humanitarian assistance via 694 trucks and 4 C-130 flights have been provided. Establishing a Free Eye Camp in Kabul from 30 May to 5 Jun 2022 with joint endeavor and support of Al-Khidmat Foundation and PACF. The Camp treated more than four thousand patients and operated on more than a thousand. A similar camp was established in Khost.

Besides this, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was between the University of Lahore and Muhammad Ali Jinnah Hospital in Kabul on 14 Jun 2022, for upgrading the health facilities at the hospital and to bring them to the global standards. The hospital has currently been transformed into a teaching hospital. Pakistan in recent years had also funded two more hospitals namely Najib Aminullah Khan Logari Hospital in Logar and Nishtar Kidney Centre Hospital in Jalalabad.  Moreover, Pakistan dispatched relief goods for earthquake affectees of Afghanistan on 23rd June 2022.

Read more: Earthquake kills more than 900 people in Afghanistan

The consignment arranged by the National Disaster Management Authority consists of family tents, tarpaulins, blankets, and emergency medicines. Taliban have also requested international assistance as the country deals with the aftermath of a devastating 6.1 magnitude earthquake. Over 1,000 people have been killed, and at least 1,500 have been injured. Unknown numbers of people are buried beneath the rubble of ruined, often mud-brick homes.

In addition to the above, Pakistan also allowed India to send wheat to Afghanistan through the Pakistani border and proffered air and land routes to international donors for transporting humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. Pakistan has hosted the 17thextraordinary session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of OIC in Islamabad to draw the world’s community’s attention to the looming situation and attract humanitarian assistance. The effort was achieved by setting up of humanitarian trust fund by Islamic Development Bank. Afghanistan exports to Pakistan have surged and plans are in the offing to establish two new ports with Afghanistan for trade. The very recent approval of a new transit visa policy on arrival for Afghan immigrant citizens by the Government of Pakistan.

Read more: Is Russia recognizing Taliban setup in Afghanistan?

In brief, Pakistan has provided the world with a global public good supporting the Afghan brothers to address the looming humanitarian crises, and it is time for the international community to assume its responsibilities as well while keeping aside the difference with the Taliban regime. The international humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan must beyond recognizing the Taliban government based on humanity and peace of the world because to be left alone Afghanistan would lead it into chaos and disorder.

 

 

The author is an Islamabad-based analyst and holds MPhil in Peace and Conflict Studies and can be reached at sarahamidkhan21@gamil.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space (GVS News).