PM Khan calls for universal access to COVID-19 vaccine


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for universal and affordable access to anti-Covid-19 vaccine to defeat the pandemic and revive global trade, investment and growth.
Virtually addressing the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development on Tuesday, the prime minister said the world must ramp up vaccine production, including in the developing countries, and ensure its rapid distribution.
The prime minister said adequate finance must be mobilised to enable the developing countries to meet the triple challenge of Covid recovery, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) implementation and realisation of environmental goals.
He urged developed countries to provide at least $150 billion to help poor nations to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. “I hope at least $150 billion will be allocated to fund developing countries through IMF, World Bank and other financial institutions and banks,” he added.
PM Imran said the restructuring of high-cost debts is another essential instrument to provide fiscal space and development funds for the affected developing countries. “Any common framework for debt restructuring should not involve protracted negotiations that would defeat the purpose of debt relief.” He said that commitments made to provide concessional and grant finance to developing countries must be fulfilled.
He said the high-income countries have been able to inject $17 trillion to stimulate their economies, while the developing countries are in dire need of at least $4.3 trillion to recover from the crises and implement the SDGs. He said they have so far, unfortunately, secured access to less than 5 percent of this amount.
Imran Khan said the high-income countries voluntarily should re-allocate a part of their unutilised International Monetary Fund quotas, and this should be approved urgently.
He said so far Pakistan has been more fortunate than other countries through a policy of smart lockdown to “somehow” cope with the coronavirus. “We managed to save precious lives and livelihood at the same time.”
The premier said the global economy will not be able to recover fully unless all countries including rich and poor are able to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs) and climate targets.
Similarly, he said it is vital to fulfil the commitment made by developed countries to provide $100 billion per year in climate finance. He said Pakistan’s landmark projects such as its “Recharge” initiative and the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project can benefit greatly from such support.
The prime minister urged the United Nations to initiate a multi-stakeholder dialogue to mobilise $1 trillion investment required annually in sustainable infrastructure.
He said the international trade regime must provide all developing countries with equitable and preferential access to global markets and the protectionist measures erected by some major economies in violation of World Trade organisation (WTO) agreements must be rescinded.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Pakistan stands with the Kashmiris in their just struggle and will not compromise till they get their right to self-determination guaranteed by resolutions of the UN Security Council.
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, the prime minister said, “We stand with Kashmiris on the Kashmir Martyrs’ Day and pay tribute to 22 Shuhada of 13 July 1931, martyred when the Dogra Maharaja’s soldiers fired on peaceful protesters.”
The prime minister said the struggle of Kashmiris against tyranny and illegal Indian occupation is “steeped in a history of resistance and sacrifice”. “This indomitable spirit of resistance remains alive as Kashmiri men and women continue to fight illegal Indian Occupation,” he said.
Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control and the world over observed the Kashmir Martyrs’ Day on Tuesday to pay homage to the martyrs of July 13, 1931. The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has appealed to the Kashmiri people to mark the day with a complete shutdown in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
On July 13, 1931, the troops of Dogra Maharaja had killed 22 Kashmiris, one after the other, outside the Central Jail in Srinagar during court proceedings against Abdul Qadeer, who had asked the Kashmiri people to defy the Dogra Rule. Thus, 22 youth sacrificed their lives till the completion of Azaan.
In a statement in Srinagar, an APHC spokesperson said that the objective of the shutdown and march is to convey to the world that the Kashmiris will never accept Indian subjugation. TLTP
Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has announced that the federal cabinet has decided to continue the ban on Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).
Briefing the media persons about decisions taken by the federal cabinet, which met on Tuesday with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair, Chaudhry said the cabinet approved the Interior Ministry’s report recommending the ban on TLP to continue.
He said the ban on TLP had been imposed on merit and in light of solid facts as the organisation was involved in arson and torture of police personnel. He said the Law Ministry is working to get the election symbol of TLP cancelled as per law.
Prime Minister Khan and the federal cabinet, back in April, had approved a summary from the Interior Ministry, seeking a ban on the TLP under the anti-terrorism law.
Fawad said the cabinet also gave approval to 25 percent special allowance to the armed forces to bring their salaries at par with other departments. He said the prime minister also instructed to extend this facility to Rangers and Frontier Corps (FC) as they were not included initially.
He said it was also approved to fix retail prices of 49 medicines. He said the cabinet was informed that Saudi Arabia would release 85 Pakistani prisoners on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha. He said a special plane would be dispatched to bring them back from Saudi Arabia. He said the government is also making strenuous efforts to bring Pakistani citizens detained in different countries on minor charges.
He said a detailed briefing was given on the electronic voting machine (EVM), internet-voting and biometric to the federal cabinet. He said that EVM is vital to ensure transparency in the next general election. To this effect, the cabinet was informed that unanimity of views has emerged on several issues and efforts are being made to sort out the remaining points.
Regarding Covid-19 situation in the country, Fawad said that 20 million people have so far been vaccinated. He said over half million people were vaccinated on Monday last alone, which is the highest number since the start of the vaccination drive.
Urging the people to observe standard operating procedures (SOPs) to prevent spread of the pandemic and to get them vaccinated, the minister said that cases in Karachi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa increased in the last few days, while the situation in Punjab is under control.
The information minister said that an asset management company is being established to manage the properties of the federal government. He said the prime minister expressed concerns on the depleting green areas in Islamabad due to unplanned expansion of residential societies. He said the prime minister also directed different institutions, including Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Air Force, to remove fences from their properties to protect green areas.
Fawad said that Imran Khan also instructed the chairman of Capital Development Authority (CDA) to make the federal capital an encroachment free area. He said the prime minister also directed to take necessary measures to allow common people in VVIP clubs.
The minister said that the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions presented a report on Afghan refugees in Pakistan. He said the international community should extend maximum cooperation to bring peace in Afghanistan and resolve the issue of Afghan refugees. – TLTP

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