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FM urges Canada to reconsider flight ban on Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has urged Canada to reconsider the flight suspension ban on Pakistan.
The foreign minister made this request during the telephonic conversation with his Canadian Counterpart Marc Garneau on Tuesday. Matters pertaining to Covid-19 pandemic, bilateral ties and regional situation were discussed during the call.
Qureshi said that Pakistan and Canada historically enjoy cordial relationship and underlined the need for enhancing the bilateral relations in political, economic, security and cultural fields for mutual benefit of the two countries.
He apprised the Canadian foreign minister of the effective measures taken by Pakistan to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the lives and livelihoods of the people and urged that the Canadian government may reconsider its decision of suspending flights from Pakistan.
The Canadian foreign minister briefed the foreign minister on the decision by the Canadian government to suspend flights to and from Pakistan in the wake of an upsurge in Covid-19 cases in Canada.
Earlier on Thursday last, Canada banned all passenger flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days due to the growing wave of Covid-19 cases in that region, Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said.
“Given the higher number of cases of Covid-19 detected in air passengers arriving in Canada from India and Pakistan … I am suspending all commercial and private passenger flights arriving in Canada from Indian and Pakistan for 30 days,” Alghabra told a news conference on Thursday. The measure went into effect at 11:30pm Eastern Time on Thursday (03:30 GMT on Friday).
It will not apply to cargo flights, Alghabra said, particularly to ensure the continued shipment of vaccines, personal protective equipment and other essential goods. More than 100,000 Canadians have Pakistani ancestry.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday emphasised on a joint cooperation in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as on expanding its ambit to cover poverty alleviation and disaster relief.
While addressing the Six-Country Foreign Ministers’ Video Conference virtually, the foreign minister said that regional collaboration and multilateral cooperation are required for the revival of economies.
“Pakistan welcomes intensified cooperation between China and South Asian countries in these areas,” the foreign minister said. He added that China-South Asia Emergency Supplies Reserve would help all participating countries to better respond to health emergencies and natural disasters in the future.
“China-South Asia Poverty Alleviation Cooperative Development Center would provide the opportunity to learn from China’s remarkable accomplishment in eradicating poverty from the country and also would help build institutional linkages and people-to-people contacts,” he added.
The foreign minister further said that South Asian countries were in dire need of enhanced regional cooperation towards the pandemic, and to lift their people out of poverty through this platform.
“We shifted from geopolitics to geo-economic and want to enhance regional cooperation and integration,” the FM said, talking about Pakistan Pakistan’s economic vision.
In his concluding remarks, FM Qureshi said that Pakistan reaffirmed its resolve to further deepen mutual cooperation through this platform of six regional neighbouring countries, in pursuance of our common developmental goals.
The conference was attended by foreign ministers from China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. – TLTP