Pakistan desires to convene SAARC health ministers’ video conference: Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi exchanged views on situation arising out of the outbreak of COVID-19 with his Iranian and Nepalese counterparts.
Talking to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif via telephone, Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed deep sorrow and grief over the loss of precious lives in Iran due to coronavirus. He apprised the Iranian leader about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s efforts urging the world community to lift sanction on Iran to deal with the pandemic.
In his conversation with Nepalese Foreign Minister Radeep Gyawali, Shah Mehmood Qureshi emphasized on activating SAARC platform to deal with the coronavirus.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Sri Lankan counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena also discussed preventing the spread of the coronavirus and tackling this global challenge in a telephonic conversation.
Qureshi said in view of coronavirus outbreak, Pakistan is desirous to convene SAARC Health Ministers’ video conference to take joint action steps and promote regional cooperation in this regard.
He apprised the Sri Lankan leader about the situation in Iran in the wake of coronavirus and Pakistan’s stance of lifting the sanctions on Iran so it can combat the pandemic effectively.
The Sri Lankan foreign minister thanked Pakistan’s efforts to mobilize the SAARC forum to tackle the epidemic.
Both leaders agreed to continue consultation to address this global challenge and other regional issues.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday issued a statement regarding the rapidly changing situation of the country due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
The foreign minister said that each individual must act responsibly in the face of the deadly and fast-spreading virus.
FM Qureshi added that all instructions being disseminated to the nation are for their own individual and collective wellbeing and should be followed religiously.
“A lot of European countries are suffering due to the doubts and non-seriousness shown towards the virus,” said FM Qureshi.
“Italy, France, America, Britain, Germany among others have suffered and their examples are for the world to learn from.”
“I got to talk to the German ambassador in Pakistan over the phone yesterday, I was told that 20,000 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in the country.”
Talking about the Sukkur quarantine centre fiasco, FM Qureshi said that the people broke out of quarantine centres and could’ve possibly endangered the lives of many healthy suspects who were yet to contract the virus.
The foreign minister also admonished the role of the educated people of Pakistan amid the global crisis and termed it unfortunate.
“We need to form a united front and devise a mutual strategy to deal with the coronavirus on the blueprint adopted by China,” Qureshi entailed. – NNI

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