Lahore: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has appreciated the services and sacrifices of the medical professionals in their fight against COVID-19 at home and abroad.
Talking to the media persons after his visit to the Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS) here on Sunday, he hailed the two British-Pakistani doctors who laid their lives in their fight against coronavirus as part of the National Health Services (NHS) in the United Kingdom.
The foreign minister said the Pakistani medical professionals across the globe had made the nation proud and they served as the ambassadors of the country at the foreign lands.
About coronavirus, the FM said Prime Minister Imran Khan was well conversant with the day-to-day situation on the coronavirus pandemic in the country, adding that the lockdown had its pros and cons and the whole world is divided on its imposition as a tool of containing the deadly virus as it had its economic implications.
“The world is resorting to smart lockdown which practices variations in lockdown and eases lockdown in the areas with less number of cases of coronavirus,” he added. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan believes that a government cannot be inconsiderate to the economic impacts on the people in its decision to impose lockdown.
About protest by coronavirus patients at Expo Centre Coronavirus Field Hospital, the largest quarantine in City with a capacity of 1,250 patients, he said that Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar would look into it and redress the problems, faced by the patients. He said that the Multan administration and all departments including the civil defence deserved appreciation.
To a question, Qureshi said COVID-19 pandemic is a long battle and it may take six months or more to defeat the deadly virus which had overwhelmed large populations of the world.
“The government has to fight a dual battle against coronavirus as well as hunger”, he said, adding that “the traders are wary of the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and want the lockdown to be relaxed for the economy to stay stable”.
He said the government would evolve a national strategy based on the holistic picture of the coronavirus situation, adding that it was also to be seen whether our healthcare system will be able to absorb the pressure as country’s healthcare system has few numbers of ventilators.
On India, the Foreign Minister said Hindustan is a callous state and it had not to mend its ways despite the global pandemic and unleashed a new wave of brutalities against the hapless Kashmiris in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), adding that the Indian forces were invading the homes and killing Kashmiri shamelessly and did not return the corpses to the families.
“I have written to the president of the Security Council while I am in close contact with the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) on the Kashmir issue.
To a question, he said MoFA even accepted India’s call on for a conference of the health experts in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and hosted the meeting of the SAARC health experts.
About the Chinese support, the FM Qureshi thanked the Chinese government and the people for their support, adding that the country was ready to learn from the best practices from all the countries to defeat the virus.
About economic challenges, 3 percent contraction in the world economy is the forecast, adding that the economic slide was sure to affect Pakistan’s and other economies. He said the economic slow-down was would deplete our foreign reserves as well the foreign exchange, adding that Pakistani labour in the Middle East was laid off as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Foreign Minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan raised voice for the Pakistan and 75 other countries when he asked the world economic bodies to give debt relief in the wake of coronavirus pandemic so that the money could be used to strengthen healthcare facilities for the masses.
About accountability of sugar mafia, Qureshi said that Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (PTI) believed in across the board accountability and the forensic audit report on sugar would be made public in three weeks’ time.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi visited the SIMS and handed over Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to the medical professionals on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
The Medical Superintendent (MS) Services Hospital Dr. Mehmood Ayaz briefed the Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the Isolation Ward and an ICU facilities for the coronavirus patients at the SIMS besides setting up a 100-bed coronavirus hospital at the Camp Jail Lahore. Special Secretary Health Punjab Nadir Chattha was also present during the briefing.