AS India’s Covid-19 infection rate reached record levels with hospitals running out of beds, oxygen and antiviral drugs, Pakistan while forgetting nature of tense bilateral relationship has officially reached out to neighbouring country and offered relief and support to tackle worsening Covid situation.
It is not only country’s leadership but NGOs such as Edhi Foundation have also expressed their solidarity and willingness to help India in this hour of trial.
As this is no time harbouring animosity but instead lending support to each other to deal with this global phenomenon, otherwise consequences could be far serious and disastrous for the entire planet.
With same in mind, Pakistan could not remain oblivious to gloomy situation in the neighbourhood and demonstrated a goodwill gesture that needs to be reciprocated in a positive and constructive manner.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that in case of positive response from New Delhi, Pakistan would send ventilators, masks, X-Ray machines, PPE equipment and any other item required by Indian side.
This offer has been made regardless of the fact that Pakistan itself is currently faced with a serious situation and its health infrastructure is under great stress.
Shunning the course of intransigence at least for now, the Indian government must accept the offer of help with a positive frame of mind. Humanitarian issues require response beyond political consideration.
A positive response from India indeed can open doors between the two countries to learn from each other’s experiences and expertise to better tackle the Virus.
Other countries in the region should also come forward and extend full support to India to overcome this situation.
We will suggest that a SAARC Summit should be held at the earliest in order to carve out a strong joint strategy against the pandemic.
Pooling together resources and technologies will go a long way in meeting expectations of the people of this region. It is also for major capitals to come forward in a big manner to save the humanity.
Given large and highly interconnected global population, increasing collective capacity to identify, monitor and tackle such global threats is crucial.
Economically strong countries must understand that they cannot secure their populations until and unless protection of people in developing and third world is also not ensured.
Despite countries claiming to be ‘waging a war’ against the Virus, no worthwhile effort has been initiated to respond globally to this pandemic.
There are several possible reasons but without question rising nationalist tide has turned many towards protective and protectionist measures. The same mindset has been witnessed in availability of the Vaccine.
While in European countries, massive vaccination has been done yet countries such as Pakistan are struggling to find the Vaccine in sufficient quantity to get their people vaccinated.
Apart from ensuring that anti-Covid vaccines are available everywhere and to everyone, developing countries should also be financially assisted so that they could do the needful for protection of vulnerable segments of the population.
As also demanded by Prime Minister Imran Khan on number of occasions, debt relief should be given to poor countries so that they could use available resources to build a strong health infrastructure capable enough to deal with such an unprecedented global health emergency.