An Ignored Soft Threat

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Zile Huma

The most potential and looming soft threat is climate change in the contemporary world which is also being ignored at many level in Pakistan.   If we look at the threats faced by Pakistan in last fifteen years then we find that the biggest challenge in form of hard threat is terrorism killing at least 58721 in total which includes 20583 civilians 6251 military personnel and, 31887 terrorists by Pakistan. The global study by London-based Institute for Economics and Peace in 2014 has ranked Pakistan third on the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) list after Iraq and Afghanistan.There is a gloomier picture on the side of soft threat which is unnoticed among masses. The soft threat in form of climate change is not perceived by the people of Pakistan. The general public especially in rural areas is unable to understand even basic concept of climate change .Pakistan is considered among top 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change. The frequency of climate change calamities is increasing with the passage of time. The most recent examples are floods of 2010, 2013 and 2015.One fifth of the country was flooded in 2010.It was so devastating that 20 million people were hit and 6 million became homeless. It cost loss of 10 billion dollars in material loss. The death toll was 1463 and 2024 injured. Similarly 895,259 homes were destroyed. In 2015 floods, a total of 244 villages in Punjab were affected. Similarly situation in Gilgit Baltistan and Sindh was terrifying. The two other horrifying effects of Climate Change in 2015 for Pakistan was Heat Waves of Karachi killing around 2000 people and Thar Food scarcity issue of 2013-2015 killed at least 150 children. We can well establish this idea from the facts mentioned above that climate change is not an issue to be unnoticed now. The damages and deaths caused by climate change are not less lethal than terrorism. Pakistan is on the top of the list of countries mostly affected by Climate change effects. But the reason behind negligence of this issue is only lack of awareness. The difference between destruction of terrorism and climate change is only direct and indirect threat. Human beings are the main cause behind both disasters but with different mechanisms. This soft threat has been realized by big nations and reached to an agreement during COP-21 Summit which was signed in April 2016. PM Nawaz Sharif in his visit to US also highlighted this issue. The President of US Baraak Obama and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif showed their commitment to clean energy projects as well. Similarly the launch of “Green Pakistan Program” clearly shows that government Pakistan is serious to tackle this issue.  The world Environment Day was celebrated on 5th June 2016 all over the world. The Ministry of Climate Change Pakistan also celebrated world environment Day with all pomp and show in a school of rural Islamabad. The government is taking several steps to tackle this issue seriously. The most important step is approval of 2 billion rupees for Green Pakistan Program under the directions of Prime Minister of Pakistan. The Green Pakistan Program aims to preserve forestry and wildlife in Pakistan. The launch of this program would be a milestone in conservation of forest and mitigate climate Change effects. Recently Ministry of Climate Change has taken initiative to start weekly media briefing to highlight the positive initiatives taken by the Ministry. The Ministry of Climate Change that is not very mature has taken several steps last year to deal this issue as well Problem. There are many big policy initiatives taken prior to COP-22 that includes submission of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, Climate Change Act and ratification of Paris agreement. These initiatives presented strong commitment of Pakistan at COP22.  There is still great need to spread awareness among masses to tackle this issue. This looming danger of Climate Change can only be dealt to take steps at individual, national and International level.