ISLAMABAD, Dec 2 (APP): With humanitarian crisis exacerbated in Afghanistan due to advent of winter, Pakistan besides an assistance of Rs. 5 billion and offering to host extraordinary session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, was taking urgent measures to cater to healthcare needs of Afghans.
In addition to medical visa facilitation for patients at crossing points and the provision of emergency life-saving medicines to Afghanistan, Pakistan has announced provision of medicines to the tune of Rs. 500 million at the earliest.
According to officials having the knowledge of latest developments on Afghan humanitarian assistance, private pharmaceutical industry donors have also announced additional assistance of medicines worth Rs. 40 million for Afghanistan.
A Pakistani medical team will be visiting Afghanistan for the provision of medical equipment, its installation and maintenance for the three Pakistan-funded hospitals at Jalalabad, Logar and Kabul.
Besides, joint polio eradication coordination under the Polio Immunization Program assistance, Pakistan has also agreed to give training for capacity enhancement and institutional building of Afghan healthcare system, the officials said.
A delegation from pharmaceutical industry will also visit Afghanistan for investment and to assist indigenous medicine production in Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan recently ordered immediate shipment of in-kind humanitarian assistance worth Rs. 5 billion for Afghanistan including 50,000 MT of wheat, emergency medical supplies, winter shelters and other supplies.
He instructed all the ministries to facilitate Afghans to the maximum and also gave an in-principle approval for tariff and sales tax reduction on key Afghan exports to Pakistan.
The Prime Minister issued these order during his recent visit to the newly established Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC) here where he chaired the first Apex Committee meeting of AICC.
Pakistan recently handed over seven truckloads of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan at the Torkham crossing as part of its efforts to provide relief as harsh winters set in.
The trucks carrying food items were handed over to the Afghan authorities by National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf. Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq was also present on the occasion, while from the Afghanistan side; Qari Inayat ullah – Deputy minister of management, Qari Sabit – Coordinator Pakistan Afghanistan Border and Qari Nazir – Deputy Kamisar Torkham received the humanitarian assistance.
Dr Moeed Yusuf, the National Security Advisor in a series of tweets following his visit to Torkham said the Prime Minister chaired the apex committee meeting of the Afghan coordination cell, earlier this week and directed the Cell to visit the border and ensure progress in removing every bottleneck for smooth trade and connectivity.
Pakistan has offered to host the extraordinary session of the Council of Foreign Minister of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) convened by Saudi Arabia, the OIC Summit chair, to discuss the latest situation in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan fully endorses this initiative. We also offered to host this meeting in Islamabad on the 17th of December 2021. We are confident that the OIC member states will endorse this offer,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a video message the other day.
He said Afghanistan was the founding member of the OIC and as part of the Islamic Ummah, “We are bound by fraternal bonds of amity and brotherhood with the people of Afghanistan. Today, our Afghan brothers and sisters need us more than ever before,” he commented.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood on Wednesday emphasized that as the collective voice of the Islamic Ummah, OIC must play its part in helping address the urgent humanitarian and economic needs of Afghan brethren.
He said this during a briefing for the Islamabad-based OIC Heads of Mission on the proposed Extraordinary Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (OIC-CFM) of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) on the situation in Afghanistan.
In addition, he underlined, that OIC’s leadership could help galvanize other international actors to come forward and extend a helping hand to the Afghan people currently in dire need of international support and solidarity.
The Foreign Secretary informed that on 29 November, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – in its capacity as the Chair of the Summit of the OIC – took the initiative to propose the convening of an Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, relating to the situation in Afghanistan. Pakistan welcomed this initiative and offered to host the CFM in Islamabad on 17 December 2021.