Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, represented Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in China-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Nepal Quadrilateral Foreign Ministers’ Video Conference on Joint Response to COVID-19. Hosted by China,State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi chaired the Video Conference.
The Minister underlined that COVID-19 had inflicted a punitive human and economic cost globally and had disrupted the social and political architecture of the world. Pakistan was ready to both enhance cooperation in combating COVID-19 and in post-pandemic economic recovery with the participating countries, the Minister added.
Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar underscored that Pakistan was resolutely and successfully confronting the outbreak of COVID-19 and taking all possible measures to strengthen the existing health system. The primary focus remained on both saving lives and securing livelihoods. In order to alleviate the sufferings of the masses, Prime Minister Imran Khan had introduced major initiatives including Pakistan Preparedness and Response Plan (PPRP) of worth $ 595 million, US $ 8 billion relief package for the most vulnerable people and Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program and launched ‘Global Initiative on Debt Relief’ for developing countries to overcome economic losses due to COVID-19. The Minister emphasized that Pakistan’s “smart lockdown” policy has delivered demonstrable results with new infection rate and fatality rate substantially going down.
Minister Khusro Bakhtyar emphasized on building strong and effective quadrilateral mechanism for joint prevention and control of COVID-19 and urged to take pragmatic and practical steps for economic recovery of pandemic-stricken countries. He also urged that the vaccine against COVID-19 may be declared a ‘global public good’ as and when it becomes available.
It was underscored by the Minister Bakhtyar that CPEC, a flagship project of BRI, could play an important role in boosting regional growth and recovery in the post-COVID-19 period.
Drawing attention to the increased plight of the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) in the wake of COVID-19, Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar called for lifting of the military siege,allowing access of international health experts to IOJ&K, and immediately extending requisite medical help to the besieged Kashmiris.
In his video-message for the Conference, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi lauded the initiative for the Quadrilateral platform for joint response to the pandemic and stressed that the global community needed unity, solidarity and multilateral cooperation to fight COVID-19 that knew no boundaries, no religion and no ethnicity.
27 July 2020