UNITED NATIONS    -   Prime Minister Imran Khan terming money laundering one of the major hindrances in the way of achieving Sustainable Development Goals by the developing nations, Friday urged the United Nations to take the lead in curbing the menace through strict international laws.

”Every year billions of dollars are siphoned away by the corrupt leaders from developing countries to the developed countries, which causes poverty and also widens gap between the rich and poor nations,” he said while addressing the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The prime minister said the money laundered abroad was looted and plundered by the corrupt leaders from developing nations. When he took charge of the government in Pakistan last year, his country’s debt had gone up four times during the previous 10 years, he added.

Regretting the plunder of wealth by the ruling elite in developing counties, including Pakistan, he said it was the reason that half of his country’s annual revenues was spent on debt servicing.

The prime minister said when his government located the properties of the corrupt leaders in the West they found it difficult to retrieve the same as the laws there were protecting those criminals.

The rich countries, he said, should exhibit political will [to curb money laundering] so that developing nations could spend more on human development. They must take action so that the corrupt money was not laundered from developing countries and stashed abroad in secret accounts.

The prime minister expressed the hope that the United Nations would take lead in it and also involve the international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for stopping the plunder of wealth.

PM URGES LEADERS TO REALISE URGENCY OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday urged the world leaders to show seriousness and realise urgency of climate change and effects of green house gases, expressing the hope that the United Nations would take leadership role in that regard.

The prime minister, in his address to the 74th session of the United National General Assembly, said so many leaders had talked about the climate change but he felt there was lack of seriousness as they did not realise the urgency of situation.

“We have lot of ideas but someone says as ideas without funds are mere hallucination,” he added.

Imran Khan said Pakistan was among the top ten nations in the world, which were most affected by the climate change. “We depend on our rivers, we are mainly an agricultural country and 80 percent of the water in our rivers comes from glaciers. And even in India, 80 percent water also comes from glaciers like Karakorum, Himalayas, Hindukush,” he added.

He said all the glaciers were melting at quite a rapid pace, and if it kept going and nothing was done, then he feared that the humans would face a huge catastrophe.

“When our party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) came into power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, we planted a billion trees in five years and now we have set a target of ten billion trees in Pakistan,” he said, adding the idea was to counter the effects of global warming.

The prime minister told the world leadership that one country could not do anything and it had to be a combined effort of the entire world.

He said his optimism come from the fact that Allah Almighty had endowed the humans with great power, who could do anything. “So why does our survival instinct is stared up and this is really what I felt the UN would take the lead in that. There must be more emphasis,” he added.

He said the richer countries must be pushed, and those countries, which were mainly responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, must be pushed. “Our country has contributed minuscule amount to green house gases.”