Qureshi supports China’s idea of ‘health silk road’ at Covid-19 conference
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.–File photo
China led the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and showed the world how to defeat it, said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi while speaking during a video conference on “BRI-Combating Covid-19 with Solidarity” hosted by China.
Wang Yi, State Councillor and Foreign Minister of China, chaired the conference in which foreign ministers of a large number of ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ countries participated.
Qureshi on this occasion said that besides causing deaths, the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world and led to economic slowdown, bankruptcies, financial fissures, job losses and disruption in global supply chains.
Highlighting the dangers the pandemic posed to social and political stability, the foreign minister said it was time for the world to “demonstrate unity, solidarity, and multilateral cooperation to fight this pandemic”.
Qureshi said that Pakistan was resolutely confronting the outbreak of COVID-19 and taking all possible measures to strengthen the existing health system. The primary focus remained on both saving lives and saving livelihoods. In order to alleviate the sufferings, Prime Minister Imran Khan introduced major initiatives including $8 billion relief package for the most vulnerable people and Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme to help the needy, he said.
The foreign minister said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of BRI, could play an important role in boosting regional growth and recovery in the post-COVID-19 period. In this regard, he added, Pakistan and China were taking requisite measures to complete CPEC projects on time.
Supporting the idea of “Health Silk Road” mooted in the conference by China, Foreign Minister Qureshi proposed that COVID-19 vaccine, as and when it is developed, must be declared a “global public good” and made available on an equitable basis.
The foreign minister, drawing attention of the participants to the plight of the people of Indian-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, called for lifting the double lockdown, allowing access of international health experts to Kashmir, and immediately extending requisite medical help to besieged Kashmiris.