Statement on Climate Crisis in Pakistan
International League for Peoples Struggle – South Asia (ILPS-SA)
Capitalist mode of production, its imperialist impositions for centuries is responsible for the Climate Climate Emergency and the “Monster Monsoon” in Pakistan is a terribly tragic manifestation. With extreme weather patterns happenings at a much higher frequency across the world millions face acute misery and suffering. According to Global Climate Risk Index (CRI) Pakistan has been among the top 10 countries most affected by climate crisis since 1999, even though its emissions remain less than 1.0% of global emissions but the suffering of its people know no bounds: in 2017 there were record extremes in temperature of 54.0°C in Turbat, Pakistan. Since the Super floods of 2010, Pakistan continues to face very high temperatures, lashing rain, floods as well as drought in various parts of the country, and 2021 was considered the seventh warmest year on record (1961) across Pakistan. The monsoon season stretching from July to August has in certain areas received generally three times more rainfall than average. To make matters worse, there has been continuous melting of Pakistan’s 7000 glaciers, with several glacial out-burst floods. The country holds the most glacial ice found outside the polar regions.
The socio-economic cost of the current debacle is still to be fully understood; up till now more than 1,500 casualties as well as large number of injuries have been reported, with more than 33 million affected, mud houses having been swept away, standing crops and orchards over 2 millions acres of land have been entirely and heavy loss of livestock as well as infrastructure. There is extreme lack of food, safe drinking water, sanitary facilities, clothing as well cooking facilities, shelter for livestock; reports of many forms of diseases and for women and children there is added misery as there are issues of safety, maternal and child care.
The working class of Pakistan, especially the small and landless farmers, are paying a very heavy cost for the carbon emissions from the fossil-fuel dependent capitalist production of rich industrial nations, while the vulnerability of rural communities has increased many fold as they also have had to face the grotesque whiplash of neoliberal policies for decades.
The stark truth is that this calamity is not a ‘natural disaster,’ it is the result of consistent imperialist policies spearheaded by the US and G7 states, as well as other rich industrial nations that have not allowed any change in their fossil-fuel production; the goal of course has been amassing super-profits for their corporations. It needs no reminding that the US is the highest polluter, and even though it would like to point fingers at China and India, one must not forget that while the US population is only 4.25%, China and India combined population is 36 % of the global population, and hence US remains not only now but historically the worst polluter. The Paris Agreement in itself, and the following years have first, clearly shown the absolute disregard by rich industrial nations of the dire consequences of global warming, and the need for drastic cuts in carbon emissions, and second, the refusal to take historical responsibility of their critical role in global warming, consistently failing to honored their pledges on climate finance to the affected countries.
Imperialist countries, especially the US in the aftermath of such diabolical conditions are quick to take advantage: in the name of humanitarian aid there are methods devised to subjugate the people and the state to further forms of neo-colonization. The US Central Command (CENTCOM) has sent an assessment team to Islamabad to determine what potential support Department of Defense (DoD) can provide to USAID as part of the United States’ assistance to the flooding crisis in Pakistan: nothing could be more ominous for the people of Pakistan. The long history of the US economic, political and military interference in Pakistan and Afghanistan has had a very heavy economic, political and social toll on both the countries and its people. Since 2003, the US has been carrying out direct drone attacks in the country; in 2008, millions of dollars of US military aid was provided to the Pakistan military for carrying out supposedly operations against the Taliban which led to vast displacement of the Pakistani people a large majority of whom still are living in extreme deprivation; during this period US economic aid including food aid was used to for extensive policy reforms to pave the way for corporate capture of the country’s resources and markets.
After massive destruction, the US left the country accusing the Pakistan military of aiding and abetting the Taliban; this pattern was followed in Afghanistan last year. Of course one must remember, the much more devastating role of the US in Afghanistan where currently millions of Afghans, especially Afghan women and children facing acute hunger with famine staring in their faces.
As part of the larger geopolitical game, on one hand the US has done its best to isolate Pakistan for developing a closer alliance with China, and on the other hand, strengthening its ties with India and bolstering its military strength. One can see the immensely harmful foreign policy approach taken by the US which will result in vicious pitting of nations against each other, and further deteriorating stability in the region.
US imperialist policies are responsible for the acute economic disaster facing not only Pakistan, but many neo-colonial countries, they use the IMF and the World Bank to keep a suffocating grip on poor economies pushing us deeper into the suicidal debt trap while maintaining their colonial relations with the local elite, who of course cannot be absolved of the responsibility of maintaining these neo-colonial ties.
People’s demands for Climate Justice are:
- People-led decision-making and implementation process;
- Implement sustainable production and consumption policies;
- End imperialist corporate control over resources, production and markets;
- Genuine agrarian land reforms;
- Rich advanced countries to cut carbon emissions to bring back global temperature to levels fits for a stable ecological systems;
- Rich industrial states to pay for climate-related loss and damages in neo-colonial countries.
- End Climate Imperialism! Climate Justice Now!
International League for Peoples Struggle – South Asia (ILPS-SA)