ISLAMABAD - Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi

held a telephonic conversation with the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Retno L. P. Marsudi, yesterday to discuss matters related to the

Covid-19 pandemic.

The Foreign Minister offered deep condolences

to the Indonesian government and people over

the loss of precious lives in the outbreak. Apprising her of the situation in Pakistan, he commended Indonesia for the steps being taken by

the Indonesian authorities to contain the virus.

The Foreign Minister indicated that like Indonesia, Pakistan was attempting to strike a

balance between the need to arrest transmission of the disease through social distancing

and other measures, and keeping the wheels

of the economy moving.

Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted the call

by Prime Minister Imran Khan for debt relief

and restructuring for the developing countries

to create the fiscal space needed to save human lives and shore up economies. In this context, he noted that the initiative had resonated

globally, and the World Bank, IMF, the EU, and

the G-20 were working along these lines.

The Foreign Minister apprised his Indonesian counterpart of the developments in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, where,

despite reporting of cases of Covid-19 in the

disputed territory, as well as deaths, restrictions on movement and communication remained in place.

He stressed the need to call on India to lift

communication restrictions to enable dissemination of information and to ensure unfettered

supply of medicines and other essentials.

The Foreign Minister further pointed to the

heightened risk of contracting the virus in

crowded Indian prisons and called for release

of Kashmiri leadership, youth and civil society

members incarcerated by India.

The Foreign Minister briefed the Indonesian

Foreign Minister on the latest actions by India

aimed at illegally changing the demographic structure of the Indian occupied Jammu

and Kashmir including the recent changes in

domicile laws. The Foreign Minister stressed

that these steps were in violation of international law and must be stopped.

The two sides also discussed prospects of

collaborating on combating Covid-19 on the

platforms of OIC and the UN. They agreed to

remain closely engaged.