FM discusses Covid-19 with foreign intellectuals

Qureshi says ‘multi-stakeholder global approach’ needed against pandemic

​ Our Correspondent May 08, 2020
 ISLAMABAD  : Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday stressed the need for a multi-stakeholder global perspective approach to address the Covid-19 pandemic, keeping in view its socioeconomic impact across the world.

“Pakistan's healthcare system needs improvement to cater to the needs of emergency situations as Covid-19 has affected nearly 25,000 persons and claimed 590 lives,” the foreign minister apprised the foreign intellectuals through video link under his 'FM Connect Digital with Global Thought Leaders' initiative.

The guests included Dr William Ury of the Harvard University, Professor Kishore Mahbubani of the National University of Singapore as well as Dr Kevin P Gallagher and Dr Adil Najam of the Boston University.

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Qureshi said the government of Pakistan had allocated $8 billion to deal with the economic impact of the coronavirus situation. “Under the Ehsaas socio-welfare programme, Rs144 billion was being distributed among 12 million needy people,” the minister added.

He said an amount of Rs75 billion was allocated for labourers and workers who lost their jobs due to the virus-induced lockdown in the country, adding that Pakistan suffered a 41% dip in exports and feared fiscal deficit to increase by 10% due to the current situation.

He said, “Prime Minister Imran Khan, in the same perspective, proposed a 'Global Debt Relief' to the international community and the announcement by the G-20 Forum to provide financial assistance to weaker economies is welcoming.”

Qureshi said Pakistan was ready to host the next Saarc conference, however, India changed the situation with its unilateral action of revoking the status of occupied Jammu and Kashmir on August 5. “Despite India's irresponsible attitude, Pakistan recently hosted the Saarc meeting of health ministers through video link amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

The participants discussed the post Covid-19 realities on the global geo-political and socioeconomic landscape.

The intellectuals expressed their views on the Covid-19 scenario and ways to tackle the situation.

The FM Connect Thought Leader platform will see the foreign minister hosting a diversity of round table digital discussions with intellectuals, writers, academics, thinkers and researchers across the globe.

With input from APP

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