ISLAMABAD                     -                Pakistan on Tuesday discussed matters relating to the repatriation of its citizens with the United Kingdom as airspaces remain closed due to the pandemic

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dominic Raab held telephonic talks, following up on their earlier conversation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it.

The Foreign Minister felicitated the Secretary of State on the discharge of Prime Minister Boris Johnson from the hospital and wished him a speedy recovery.  He commended the able stewardship of the Secretary of State in the absence of the Prime Minister.

Underscoring Pakistan’s solidarity and long-standing affiliation with United Kingdom and its people, the Foreign Minister offered heart-felt condolences over the loss of precious lives. Qureshi also lauded the role being played by the NHS and health care professionals the world over in risking their lives in looking after the patients.

The Foreign Minister informed his British counterpart that so far PIA has operated 23 flights repatriating more than 7,700 British nationals. The British Foreign Secretary appreciated and thanked Pakistan for its support and further informed that the UK wanted to operate chartered flights to repatriate remaining British nationals from Pakistan. The Foreign Minister conveyed that Pakistan was open to the idea and would facilitate the UK in this regard.

The Foreign Minister apprised the Secretary of State about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call for launching a “Global Initiative for Debt Relief.”

Alluding to reports by World Bank and IMF concerning an imminent economic recession of a graver nature than the Great Depression, the Foreign Minister underscored that without immediate, coordinated and comprehensive actions to create fiscal space, the developing world may have to contend with dire social, political and economic consequences.

He expressed the hope that the UK will support and advance this cause in earnest, particularly through the platform of G20. The British Foreign Secretary assured of UK’s understanding and support for the initiative.