Stress the need to empower the SAARC Secretariat
Pakistan PM’s aide on health Dr Zafar Mirza underscored on Sunday the need to empower and mandate the SAARC Secretariat to act as a platform for regional efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Mirza was addressing a video conference of the SAARC member states that discussed responses to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Foreign Office said in a statement.
Highlighting Pakistan’s approach, he said the country had been engaged in containment efforts from the very outset. These efforts were recognized and commended by the World Health Organisation, he added.
Among other measures, the PM’s aide proposed instituting exit screening by member states for travelers in the region and mechanisms to learn from effective efforts of China — a SAARC observer state.
He reiterated Pakistan’s earlier proposal of hosting the SAARC health ministers’ conference at the earliest opportunity.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had requested Pakistan to participate in the conference. Islamabad agreed to participate on the state minister-level.
Dr Mirza demanded New Delhi provide medical facilities to the people of India-occupied Kashmir. The exchange of information is necessary for the prevention of virus, he said, demanding India end communication blackout in the occupied valley.
Speaking to Samaa TV, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said everyone witnessed what happened with Muslims in India. He said Pakistan was raising its voice for Kashmiris at every platform.
“India’s behavior with SAARC is in front of everyone,” Qureshi said. He demanded PM Modi agree to summit-level SAARC meetings in Pakistan.
“We are ready to discharge whatever responsibility we have,” the foreign minister said.