ISLAMABAD : Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz on Friday said it had been the endeavour of the government to care for both lives and livelihood following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the country.
He said this during a meeting with Japanese ambassador to Pakistan Kuninori Matsuda who called on him here. Matters relating to Pak-Japan bilateral relations, current Covid-19 situation and media cooperation were discussed.
The minister apprised the Japanese diplomat about the latest announcement by Prime Minister Imran Khan to relax the coronavirus lockdown in a phased manner.
He said during the lockdown, special attention had been paid to the welfare of the needy and poor segments of society.
The ambassador said the prime minister of Pakistan had led the national response on Covid-19 pandemic from the very beginning that was highly commendable.
He said: “The government’s due care for lives and livelihood during the campaign against corona pandemic is a great example to follow and it has really helped the cause of the poor and needy.”
He recalled Pakistan’s support to Japan during the Tsunami and various incidents of earthquake. He said Japan in the same spirit had provided $2.16 million assistance to Pakistan to fight the coronavirus. Tokyo would keep up its support to Pakistan in this hour of need, he said.
Kuninori Matsuda expressed Japan’s keenness for support and cooperation in developing clean drinking water facilities, ecology protection and for measures
regarding flood control.
He said Japan also intended to cooperate with Pakistan in the agricultural sector with particular emphasis on efforts for locust control.
He said once the situation got back to normal, a technical experts’ team would be invited to visit Pakistan to have meaningful exchange of views in the relevant sectors.
He also briefed the minister about the ongoing economic cooperation between the two countries, including different projects.
Both sides also discussed matters pertaining to modernisation and technical upgrade of the Pakistan Television and the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation. The minister said Pakistan would be eager to benefit from Japan’s expertise in this sphere.
Faraz welcomed the Japan government’s $2.16 million assistance in the ongoing war against corona pandemic.
The information minister also expressed his gratitude for provision of medical equipment and supplies by the Fair Medical Company, Japan and emergency
support by Japanese NGO KnK for deserving families in Mansehra and Haripur areas.
The envoy congratulated the senator for assuming his office as the Minister for Information and Broadcasting and said the decision was hailed by the media community.
He wished him the best in his future endeavours for media development and well-being of journalist community in the country.
Meanwhile, the information minister said people’s cooperation was vital for the success of lifting the restrictions of lockdown.
In a tweet, he said: “The standard operating procedures (SOPs) for various businesses will have to be implemented strictly.” He added that the lockdown would have to be imposed again if precautionary measures were not strictly observed.
“Coronavirus pandemic is a common issue, which can only be defeated with unity,” he said.
The minister said gradual easing of lockdown shows the government’s approach of compassion for weaker segments of society. He said such a step would also help support small businesses.
A long-term lockdown could ruin employment of people involved in small businesses, he said, adding that the economic activities and steps for protection of people’s health should go side by side.