MULTAN                   -            Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday asked the world to feel the agony that the residents of Kashmir were facing due to an eight-month long lockdown, saying we were in trouble after a just 15-day lockdown.

“The international community should put pressure on India to end this forcible curfew forthwith and provide healthcare facilities to the residents of Kashmir so that they can fight Coronavirus disease,” he added while addressing a news conference here outside the largest quarantine centre of Pakistan.

He said he had talked to the foreign ministers of France, Italy, England, Spain and China and discussed how to defeat Corona pandemic as well as eight-month long curfew in Kashmir. He demanded the international community especially G-20 countries to reschedule the debt payments of those third world countries whose healthcare systems were weak.

“It will help them spend the money paid as interest of the loans on the improvement of healthcare systems and provision of healthcare facilities to their people,” he added. He disclosed that the Secretary General of the UNO also endorsed the request made by him and he hoped that it would be considered seriously.

He said that 199 countries of the world were faced with coronavirus challenge and the world had not faced any challenge like this before. He said that Pakistan was a developing country and its government could not carry the burden of this challenge alone. He said that he had talked to the foreign ministers of different countries on the direction of the Prime Minister and Pakistan would benefit from the experiences of these countries.

The FM disclosed that Chinese leadership had assured Pakistan of full cooperation on which Pakistan government was grateful to them. He added that China extended cooperation to Pakistan on priority basis and so far five Chinese planes had landed in Pakistan with aid goods while a team of Chinese doctors had also reached Pakistan. He declared that more Chinese planes were coming while a team of Pakistani experts had also been sent to China who would get training from Chinese healthcare experts.

He told media that he had a detailed discussion with the parliamentarian and administration of Multan on strategies to cope with the virus outbreak. He added that he took friends from Multan into confidence on Prime Minister’s Rs1200 billion Social Economic Relief Package and discussed the mechanism to supply ration to 2.5 million families in Punjab. He said that the initiatives taken by the government to control the outbreak would become successful.

Meanwhile, chairing a meeting of parliamentarians and district administration at Circuit House, Shah Mahmood said that the government carefully analysed the trend of coronavirus disease outbreak on international level and a special cell was constituted at Prime Minister Office for this purpose. He added that the Prime Minister had set up two sub committees and the committee led by him was making efforts to get foreign loans rescheduled besides making contacts on international level.

“If we go into lockdown we will need preparations,” he added. Citing example of China, he said that 60 million people were put under lockdown in Chinese province Wuhan and 45000 workers were mobilized for online food supply. He said that we would have to supply food and ration to the homes if complete lockdown was imposed.

He said that the first meeting for Prime Minister’s Tiger Force was also being held in Multan and a coordinated effort would guarantee the success. Giving details of the structure of the force, he disclosed that each union council was consisted of six wards and two members would be taken from each ward to constitute a 13-member Corona Relief Tiger Force in each union council. He added that the volunteers of the force would collect the data of daily wagers, labourers and deserving persons from every area and register them. “The lists will be handed over to the district administration,” he added.


Earlier, the FM visited country’s largest quarantine centre in Multan and addressed the inmates. Speaking on this occasion, he declared that the blood tests of all the Iran visitors would be repeated on April 3 and all those who would test negative would be sent to their homes.