Pak reiterates its offer to provide relief materials to India to help fight COVID-19

Sajjad Hussain
·3-min read

Islamabad, Apr 29 (PTI) Pakistan on Thursday reiterated its offer to provide relief materials to India to support the neighbouring country's efforts to combat the massive surge in the coronavirus cases and said the two countries can explore possible ways of further cooperation to mitigate the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry said that Pakistan was ready to immediately provide ventilators, Bi PAP, digital X ray machines, PPEs and related items.

'The concerned authorities of Pakistan and India may also explore possible ways of further cooperation to mitigate the challenge posed by the pandemic,' he said. 'We wish the Indian people early relief and recovery.' But at the same time Chaudhry said that the Indian Government must immediately release the imprisoned Kashmiri leaders and all Kashmiri prisoners in view of the pandemic situation.

Last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed solidarity with the people of India battling the deadly wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying 'we must fight this global challenge confronting humanity together'.

Khan’s statement came after Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed support to the people of India in the wake of a massive surge in COVID-19 cases in the country and extended his sympathies to the affected families.

Chaudhry also said that Pakistan never shied away from talks with India and there was a need for a 'meaning dialogue' with India and peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues including the core issue of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

'The onus is on India to create an enabling environment so that a ‘meaning’ and ‘result-oriented’ dialogue can take place,' he said.

India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence. India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.

India's decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 angered Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad. Pakistan also snapped all air and land links with India and suspended trade and railway services.

The militaries of the two countries, in a surprise announcement on February 25, said that they have agreed to strictly observe all agreements on ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir and other sectors.

To a question about Afghanistan, the spokesman said Pakistan’s consistent policy was to support an 'orderly' and 'responsible' withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, leaving no security vacuum that could be exploited by spoilers.

'It is, therefore, important that the withdrawal coincides with the progress in the overall peace process,' he said.

When asked if Pakistan will participate in Istanbul talks in case India is invited as well, Chaudhry said: 'We have played an important role in the ongoing Afghan Peace Process… As for India’s involvement in Afghan Peace Process, Pakistan's position is clear and well known.” PTI SH ZH ZH