ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi participated in the Video Conference on “Belt and Road International Cooperation: Combating COVID-19 with Solidarity” hosted by China.
The State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi chaired the Conference in which the foreign ministers of a large number of ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ Countries participated.
Speaking at the Conference, Qureshi underscored that besides causing deaths, the COVID-19 pandemic had shaken the world and led to the economic slowdown, bankruptcies, financial fissures, job-losses, and disruption in global supply chains.
Highlighting the dangers the pandemic had posed to social and political stability, the foreign minister said that it was time for the World Community to “demonstrate unity, solidarity, and multilateral cooperation to fight this pandemic.”
The foreign minister underlined that Pakistan was resolutely confronting the outbreak of COVID-19 and taking all possible measures to strengthen the existing health system.
Qureshi said that 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$ 8 billion relief package for the most vulnerable people and Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program to help the needy, he said.
It was underscored by the foreign minister that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of BRI, 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 the timely completion of CPEC projects.
While supporting the idea of ‘Health Silk Road’ mooted in the Conference by China, Shah Mahmood Qureshi proposed that the COVID-19 vaccine, as and when it was 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 will play an instrumental role in successfully fighting COVID-19.
Drawing the attention of the participants to the plight of the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K), Qureshi called for the lifting of the double lockdown, allowing access of international health experts to IOJ&K, and immediately extending requisite medical help to besieged Kashmiris.