ISLAMABAD, Jun 19 (APP):Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday, highlighting the dangers the COVID-19 pandemic had posed to social and political stability, said it was time for the world community to “demonstrate unity, solidarity, and multilateral cooperation to fight this pandemic.”
The Foreign Minister was speaking in the Video Conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation: Combating COVID-19 with Solidarity, hosted by China. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China, chaired the Conference in which Foreign Ministers of a large number of ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ countries participated.
The Foreign Minister underscored that besides causing deaths the “COVID-19 pandemic had shaken the world and led to economic slowdown, bankruptcies, financial fissures, job-losses and disruption in global supply-chains.”
Qureshi underlined that Pakistan was resolutely confronting the spread of COVID-19 and taking all possible measures to strengthen the existing health system. The primary focus remained on both saving lives and saving livelihoods. In order to alleviate the sufferings, Prime Minister Imran Khan had introduced major initiatives including US $ eight billion relief package for the most vulnerable people and Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program to help needy.
It was underscored by the Foreign Minister that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative, could play an important role in boosting regional growth and recovery in the post-COVID-19 period.
In that regard, he added, Pakistan and China were taking requisite measures which would help in timely completion of CPEC projects.
While supporting the idea of ‘Health Silk Road’ mooted in the Conference by China, Foreign Minister Qureshi proposed that the COVID-19 vaccine, as and when it would be developed, must be declared a “global public good” and made available on an equitable basis. The Foreign Minister appreciated China’s role in organizing the Conference and hoped that it would play an instrumental role in successfully fighting COVID-19.
The Foreign Minister, drawing attention of the participants towards the plight of the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K), called for lifting of the double lockdown, allowing access of international health experts to IOJ&K, and immediately extending requisite medical help to besieged Kashmiris.