US leading supporter of debt relief for Pakistan, says envoy

Writes letter to Shehbaz Sharif briefing on expanding Pak-US cooperation against coronavirus: PML-N chief asks US to take leadership in role in fight against Covid-19

US leading supporter of debt relief for Pakistan, says envoy

The US Ambassador in Pakistan has written a letter to PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif updating him about the $8.4 million assistance to Pakistan, saying the US is also “a leading supporter of debt relief … agreed by G20 nations, which will provide substantial relief to Pakistan.”

Under this “second chapter” of cooperation, Ambassador Paul W Jones said the US will provide three new mobile labs “so Pakistanis living in virus hotspots can be tested, treated and monitored to stop the spread.”

The US will also “fund high-tech emergency operations centres in Islamabad, Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan for disease monitoring and response,” Paul Jones said in the letter released by the US Embassy in Islamabad.

In addition, this assistance programme will be expanded to community healthcare workers’ training that will assist people in their homes to “lessen the burden on hospitals.”

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The letter also apprised Shehbaz Sharif of the US contribution of $2.4 million “for new life-saving activities in the Afghan refugee and host communities in Pakistan, administered by the United Nations Refugee Agency.”

The letter further read that the US is also “a leading supporter of debt relief … agreed by G20 nations, which will provide substantial relief to Pakistan.”

In his reply, Shehbaz Sharif expressed his gratitude on behalf of Pakistan for the US cooperation in the “shared fight against Covid-19”.

“We are deeply grateful for all the assistance and cooperation that the US is providing to Pakistan to effectively fight the virus,” Shehbaz said, and added “I’ve always maintained that the bilateral relations between our two countries are deeper and more interconnected that what is generally considered.”

In his letter, the opposition leader stressed that the global nature of this pandemic is the biggest argument in favour of international cooperation.

Shehbaz also expressed his “sympathies and condolences on the loss of precious lives due to the coronavirus in the US.”