Pakistan PM Imran Khan & Pakistan-based charity group expresses solidarity with India over COVID-19 crisis By Latheef Farook

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Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday 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”.

A record single-day rise of 3,46,786 coronavirus cases pushed India’s tally of infection to 1,66,10,481, while active cases crossed the 25-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Saturday.

The death toll rose to 1,89,544 with a record 2,624 more fatalities in a day, according to the data.

In a tweet, Mr. Khan said: “Our prayers for a speedy recovery go to all those suffering from the pandemic in our neighbourhood and the world”.

“I want to express our solidarity with the people of India as they battle a dangerous wave of COVID-19. We must fight this global challenge confronting humanity together,” he said on Twitter.

His tweet came after Pakistan 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.

Mr.Qureshi said the COVID-19 crisis is yet another reminder that humanitarian issues require responses beyond political consideration.

“We express our support to the people of India in the wake of the current wave of COVID19 infections that has hit our region hard. On behalf of the people of Pakistan, I extend our heartfelt sympathies to the affected families in India,” Mr. Qureshi tweeted.

“As a gesture of solidarity with the people of India in the wake of the current wave of COVID19, Pakistan has officially offered relief & support to  India, including ventilators, Bi PAP, digital X ray machines, PPEs & other related items. We believe in a policy of Humanity First,” Mr. Qureshi said in another tweet.

Pakistan continues to work with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries to foster cooperation to tackle the pandemic, he said.

Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also expressed similar sentiments for the people of India.

“In these difficult times our prayers are with people of India may God be kind and may these difficult times get over soon.  Corona virus,” he tweeted.

The tweets from the Pakistani leaders came amidst some signs of rapprochement in the relations between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.

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.

More over Pakistan-based charity group, the Abdul Sattar Edhi Foundation has offered help to India counter the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Faisal Edhi, Managing Trustee of the organization, has extended 50 ambulances and emergency staff to deal with the pandemic that has hit India “exceptionally”.

“Our organisation understands the gravity of the situation, and we wish to lend you our full support, without any inconvenience to you, which is why we will arrange all the necessary supplies that our team needs to assist the people of India. Importantly, we are not requesting any other assistance from you, as we are providing the fuel, food and other necessary amenities that our team will require. Our team consists of emergency medical technicians, office staff, drivers, and supporting staff,” said Mr. Edhi in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The ambulance service of the Edhi Foundation was started by the late Abdul Sattar Edhi, considered the ‘Mother Teresa of Pakistan’. Edhi was born in Gujarat but left for Karachi during Partition. Over more than six decades, he has provided Pakistan with an exceptional private charity initiative in the form of his team which works across the country, including in areas facing conflict such as the Northwest and Baluchistan.

Mr. Faisal Edhi proposed that his team would work with local police and administrative authorities of India and expressed his willingness to “deploy” his team wherever the authorities designate.

The Edhi group had helped India earlier in repatriating the orphaned girl Geeta, who was lost in Pakistan, in 2015. Geeta had wandered across the border and was given shelter in the Edhi Foundation’s headquarters in Karachi.

“We look forward to assisting you in managing the current humanitarian crisis, and hope only to provide our help in whatever way that we can, for the benefit of the people of India,” said Mr. Edhi in his letter to Mr. Modi.

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Disclaimer: Pakistan PM Imran Khan & Pakistan-based charity group expresses solidarity with India over COVID-19 crisis By Latheef Farook - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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