President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi, represented Pakistan at the Special Online Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement convened by the Chair, Azerbaijan on the theme of “United against COVID-19”. Addressing the Summit, President gave Pakistan’s perspective on measures taken at national level to mitigate and respond to COVID-19 and socio-economic challenges arising from the pandemic.
Pakistan’s national response includes targeted approach of containment, strengthening health system and financial support to the vulnerable individuals and small businesses. Stressing that the crisis should be converted into opportunity, the President underscored the importance of a holistic response to COVID-19 with broader development dimensions taken along with addressing the health system challenges. The President stated “the crisis triggered by the pandemic is also a stark reminder that no country can overcome such threats alone”.
A global challenge requires a global response, he added. The President also highlighted Pakistan’s generosity in providing health access to Afghans refugees, despite immense pressure on Pakistan’s health infrastructure. He called upon the UN, UNHCR and IOM to come forward in helping and assisting both the documented and undocumented Afghan Refugees. Highlighting unprecedented challenge to developing countries’ economies, the President reiterated the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call to the international community for a “Global Initiative on Debt Relief”.
The President underscored that the efforts must be focused toward the most vulnerable countries in the world for relief and revival of economies and livelihoods. The President underlined the importance of fighting COVID-19 pandemic without politicization and pursuit of narrow agendas. The President also rejected deplorable attempts to discriminate against and demonize Muslims in the context of COVID-19.
The President highlighted the plight of the Kashmiri people who continue to suffer under Indian occupation against all norms of international law and the UN Security Council resolutions. Noting that the sufferings of the Kashmiris were further compounded due to communication restrictions and lack of unfettered access to medical and other essential supplies, the President underscored that incarceration of Kashmiri leaders and youth also made them vulnerable to the pandemic. As an active member of the Movement, Pakistan will remain engaged with NAM initiative of strengthening international response to COVID-19 pandemic.