ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday sought Canada and Netherlands’ help on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s debt relief plan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi held talks with Minister of International Development of Canada Karina Gould and Dutch Foreign Minister Staphanus Abraham Blok over video link.

In his conversation with the Canadian counterpart, Qureshi discussed the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “They also exchanged views on bilateral relations. The Ministers agreed to further strengthen the historic cordial ties between the two countries and acknowledged the role of Pakistani diaspora in the bilateral relationship,” said a statement released after the virtual meeting.

The Foreign Minister, while appreciating the efforts of the Government of Canada to handle the pandemic and acknowledging its assistance to Pakistan, emphasized the importance of continued mutual collaboration between the two countries.

The two discussed efforts regarding debt relief, particularly for the developing countries. In this context, Foreign Minister Qureshi briefed about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call for a “Global Initiative on Debt Relief.”

He also apprised Minister Gould of the grave human rights violations and intensified military crack-down in held Kashmir as well as Indian moves to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory. He said that Indian Government’s attitude and demonizing policies towards Muslims would undermine peace and stability in the region.

“The two Ministers agreed to remain engaged and further strengthen bilateral ties,” said the statement,

Later, Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with the Dutch Foreign Minister, Staphanus Abraham Blok.

“Matters of mutual interest, including the Covid-19 Pandemic, cooperation at multilateral fora and other issues came under discussion,” said an official statement,The two Ministers exchanged views about the socio-economic ramifications of the pandemic. The Foreign Minister apprised his Dutch counterpart of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “Global Initiative on Debt Relief” for developing countries. He underscored that coordinated and comprehensive actions are essential to create fiscal space needed by the developing world to deal with the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19.

Qureshi shared deep concern over continuing double lockdown in held Kashmiras well as the intensification of military crackdown, fake encounters and extra-judicial killings by Indian occupation forces.

The FM noted the endeavours of European Parliamentarians in stressing upon India to end the human rights violations in held Kashmir and grant the Kashmiri people their right of self-determination. He underlined that European partners must play their role in addressing the grave situation.