NEW YORK - Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan will today sign the Paris Agreement on climate change , adopted by more than 190 countries in December last at a high-level ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York.

Nisar , who was speaking to US-based Pakistani media on Wednesday evening, said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has asked him to stay back in New York, where he was leading Pakistan’s delegation to the UN General Assembly’s Special Session on the world drug problem, to sign the agreement.

More than 150 countries are expected sign the "historic" Paris agreement at the ceremony convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Nisar Ali Khan said Pakistan had played a key role in the deliberation leading to the agreement, which sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2 degree Celsius. The agreement is due to come into force in 2020.

UN officials state that the signing ceremony Friday will set a record for international diplomacy: Never before have so many countries inked an agreement on the first day of the signing period. That could help pave the way for the pact to become effective long before the original 2020 deadline - possibly this year- though countries must first formally approve it through their domestic procedures.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP-21 was held in December 2015 in Paris, where 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal.

Pakistan joined the consensus in Paris in line with its firm commitment to the purposes and objective of the Climate Convention. Although Pakistan's contribution to global warming is very little, it is extremely vulnerable to its adverse impacts, as overall temperature has increased.

Nisar said progress has been made towards formation of a commission to investigate Panama Papers leaks, while asserting the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's govt wants a transparent probe.

Speaking to Pakistani journalists at the residence of Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, he indicated that an announcement about the setting up of the commission might be made in the next 48 hours.

He acknowledged the delay in establishing the commission, stating that the atmosphere had become so charged by some inflammatory statements that two of the retired judges of the Supreme Court declined the offer to head the investigative body.

Moreover, he said,that there was no consensus among politicians about the shape and form of the Commission, with demands varying from a Judicial Commission to a Parliamentary inquiry.

But now the work has picked up pace and there would be a positive outcome, he said.

He pointed out that the Prime Minister was the first to react to the revelations of Panama Papers and he himself proposed a Judicial Commission in his broadcast to the nation on April 10.

Replying to a question about Army Chief General Raheel Sharif's speech about across-the-board elimination of corruption, he said he had no comments since he did not know in what context those remarks were made.

About security situation in Pakistan, Chaudhry Nisar said it had considerably improved during the last 2-1/2 years. Although some anti-State elements were still attempting to create trouble, their activities had been much reduced, he said.

As regards the activities of RAW, the Indian spy agency, and the arrest of Indian naval officer Kul Bhoshan Yadav, Chaudhry Nisar said that envoys of the permanent members of the UN Security Council-- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- had been briefed on the case as also the Iranian government. He called it a serious matter,stating that the government would pursue to get to the bottom of the case. About the the emergence of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the potential nominees for President, he said that Pakistan has relations and deals with the United States, not political parties.

About the General Assembly on the world drug problem, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told Pakistani journalists that Pakistan's robust measures to counter illicit drugs had met with significant successes. "We are now poppy-free," he said.

Pakistan, he said, was proud of the fact that it saved the world from over 1.86 billion narcotics doses in the last three years. Pakistan also seized 342 tons of illicit drugs”, he said, adding, that being the top contributors in international seizures beyond its territorial borders, it contributed to almost 25 tons of illicit drugs seizures around the world.

Chaudhry Nisar told the international community of Pakistan's concern over the emerging trends in some parts of the world to legalise the use of illicit drugs, stating that this would give a fillip to drug demand thus igniting the supply chain, which will have a direct fallout on our region.