ISLAMABAD, May 8 (DNA):Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday stressed the need for a multi-stakeholder global perspective approach to address the COVID-19 pandemic keeping in view its socioeconomic impact across the world.
He was addressing foreign intellectuals through video-link under his ‘FM Connect Digital with Global Thought Leaders’ initiative.
The guests included Dr William Ury (Harvard University), Professor Kishore Mahbubani (National University of Singapore), Dr Kevin P Gallagher (Boston University) and Dr Adil Najam (Boston University).
Foreign Minister Qureshi discussed with international experts the post COVID-19 realities on the global geo-political and socioeconomic landscape.
He apprised the intellectuals that in Pakistan, COVID-19 affected 24,073 persons and claimed 564 lives.
He said Pakistan’s healthcare system needed improvement to cater to the needs of emergency situations.
He said the government had allocated $8 billion to deal the economic impact of coronavirus situation. Under Ehsaas socio-welfare programme, Rs144 billion were being distributed among 12 million needy people, he added.
Qureshi said an amount of Rs75 billion was allocated for labourers and workers who lost jobs due to lockdown.
He mentioned that Pakistan suffered a dip in exports by 41 percent and feared fiscal deficit to increase by 10 percent due to the current situation.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan in the same perspective proposed international community for ‘Global Debt Relief’, adding that announcement by G-20 Forum to provide financial assistance to weaker economies was welcoming.
The foreign minister said Pakistan was ready to host next SAARC Conference, however India changed the situation with its unilateral action of revoking the status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.
He said despite India’s irresponsible attitude, Pakistan recently hosted the SAARC meeting of health ministers through video-link amid coronavirus pandemic.
The intellectuals expressed their views on the COVID-19 scenario and the ways to tackle the situation.
Dr William Ury, co-founder of Harvard University’s Programme on Negotiation and one of the world’s leading experts on negotiation. He is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Project and a bestselling, award winning author.