BEIJING - A Chinese scholar has urged the international community to lend a helping hand to Pakistan in fight against Covid-19 pandemic. “I strongly believe that at this crucial moment, the international community should lend a helping hand and assist Pakistan in fighting the pandemic and solving the livelihood problems of the poor,” Cheng Xizhong, special commentator of China Economic Net and visiting professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law said in a statement here on Sunday.

He said that the government of Pakistan and the whole society were making hectic efforts to cope with the deadly disease and solve the problems of poor people’s livelihoods.

After lockdown of the cities, the Pakistani government had set up the Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Fund to collect donations from the society for the poor.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said that money was being distributed among some 12 million people for rations through the Ehsaas Cash Programme.

In addition to using its own resources, the government is raising funds because the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis on the poor will “further worsen”. The government had a list of 12 million people, but the number was likely to further increase, he added. “Thus, we can see that while implementing the lockdown measures, the Pakistani government is seriously considering and taking effective measures to solve the livelihood problems of the poor and daily income workers,” the scholar said. Cheng Xizhong said that on the call of the government, Pakistan’s social organisations, business circles and the rich were making active contribution these days, which fully reflected the national unity.

“As Prime Minister Imran Khan said, “No federal or provincial government can win the war against coronavirus alone, only national unity can win the war,” the Chinese scholar added. In the past few days, the pandemic has spread very fast in the country, and the situation is getting worse. Over 5,000 cases have been confirmed and around 77 people have died in Pakistan.

“These days, the confirmed cases are increasing significantly in slums, which is a very dangerous sign and should be the cause of grave concern for the international community,” Cheng Xizhong notes.