LAHORE: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday paid tribute to the doctors and healthcare workers who lost their lives in the fight against the coronavirus.
Speaking to the media outside Services Hospital in Lahore, Qureshi said: “I received news that two more doctors lost their lives today fighting the pandemic.”
“Pakistani doctors especially those in the UK have raised the country’s stature everywhere. They are Pakistan’s ambassadors and I salute them for their service,” he said.
Responding to a question regarding Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement that “elite-imposed lockdown”, the foreign minister said: “There is a certain, mostly upper-class, segment which wanted to have a complete lockdown in the country.”
“Their intentions were good and they wanted to protect human life. But in the prime minister’s eyes, there was another factor. There are pros and cons to this and a balance is needed to maintain this. This is not just in Pakistan but everywhere around the world,” Qureshi noted.
He added that there was a global debate on the lockdown and its extension. “There are several levels of lockdown and each country is taking decisions according to the situation,” he said.
“We need to tailor our strategy according to our needs. We don’t know how long this pandemic will last. It could last from six months to a year,” Qureshi remarked.
He added that the country was fighting on two fronts. “On one hand we are fighting the coronavirus pandemic and on the other, we are fighting hunger. I met with some Multan traders the other day who told me they were suffering due to the pandemic. We need to think about people such as those,” the foreign minister said.
In response to another question, Qureshi said the national action plan is made keeping in mind the current situation. “PM Imran will move forward while taking into account the ground realities,” he said.
When asked if Islamabad was in contact with Beijing regarding vaccine trials, the foreign minister said Pakistan was in contact with all the countries in this regard.
“China has helped us in these difficult times and we are thankful to them,” Qureshi said.
In response to a question about the global economy and debt relief, Qureshi said, there was an economic downturn which was being felt by all the countries.
“The economists say the world is moving towards recession which means there will be losses in trillions of dollars and Pakistan is no exception,” he said. “This is why the prime minister launched a global campaign for debt relief for all the developing countries.”